And it’s a flying start to this pivotal Hawks’ offseason

I’d have preferred Eric Maynor, but I’m not going to gripe. The Hawks took the guy they liked at the position of greatest short- and long-term need, and at this point I’m disposed to give Rick Sund and his chief aide Dave Pendergraft the benefit of every doubt.

The Hawks greeted the week not knowing if they’d have anyone to handle the ball next season. They’re covered now. If Mike Bibby and/or Flip Murray signs somewhere else, they’ll be OK. If Bibby stays, they’ll be better than OK. Heck, if they handle Marvin Williams properly, they just might catch and pass Boston as the third-best team in the NBA East.

Jamal Crawford was an inspired acquisition, one of those there-has-to-be-a-catch coups: A guy who scored almost 20 points a game last season for two guys who barely played. And Jeff Teague was only the slightest of reaches with the draft’s 19th pick.

Maynor, who went one spot later, is older and more refined and a truer point guard, but Teague is the greater talent. He spent two years under Dino Gaudio at Wake Forest, meaning he was only lightly coached. Teague has, as they say in the trade, an upside.

There was no big man in the draft apt to offer immediate help at No. 19. B.J. Mullens of Ohio State is at least two years away. He averaged 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in a so-so Big Ten. To borrow a description once made of Mean Joe Greene vis-a-vis a lesser defensive tackle: Al Horford would knock B.J. Mullens down and stand on him.

The Hawks loaded up at the place they could conceivably have been understaffed, and now the emphasis shifts: Marvin Williams becomes a greater priority than Bibby (or Flip), and that’s another bit of good fortune/great planning. Because Marvin is a restricted free agent. The Hawks can keep him by matching any offer. Bibby and Flip — and Zaza Pachulia — are unrestricted. They can just up and leave.

The Hawks' offseason to date has been:

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But they should — “should,” I say — get something for Marvin. (Let’s not forget they should have gotten something for Josh Childress last July and didn’t, but I’m thinking that was a one-off.) The worst that should happen is a sign-and-trade. The more likely outcome is that Williams signs a one-year qualifying offer to remain a Hawk and then becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer, and that wouldn’t be bad, either.

Retaining Marvin would mean five of the top seven players off a 47-win squad will stay together, and then factor in Crawford and Teague. And let’s assume the Hawks find the means to keep either Bibby or Flip. That’s not just stability. That’s a clear upgrade. And there was, given the looming personnel issue, no guarantee headed into the summer that the 2009-2010 Hawks would be nearly as good as their immediate predecessor.

And we’re seeing now that the best move the Hawks have made over the past 13 months had nothing to do with a player. Hiring Sund as general manager was generally viewed as a safe choice — not bad, but not brilliant. He started badly by letting Childress flit off to Greece, but every move since has been expertly handled. (Even the Hawks’ Round 2 pick — Sergiy Gladyr, a 19-year-old shooting guard from the Ukraine — could hit big in a couple of years.)

I’ve lived in Atlanta a quarter of a century, and much of that time I’ve devoted to tweaking the Hawks. But I’m not carping now, not even about the choice of Teague over Maynor. I’ve been given reason to believe this franchise is in capable hands. I’ve been given reason to believe in the Atlanta Hawks.

Yes, it feels a bit weird. But it also feels … nice.

201 comments Add your comment

Neil

June 26th, 2009
4:37 am

Agreed, wanted lawson to fall for us. thought it was a sure thing once philly took their PG of the future with MINN already having took not one but TWO PG’s in the first 6! picks but alas the NBA..Hope Teague continues his scoring dominance, we need to take as much pressure off of Joe and this draft pick with the addition of Crawford will have us averaging AT LEAST 4-5pt’s more per game, as long as Horford and Smith continue to dominate on the defensive end 50 wins doesn’t seem that far-fetched as all..huh..are we really talking about the HAWKS?! great time to be a fan of this up and coming franchise

Mark Bradley

June 26th, 2009
4:42 am

Like I said, Neil … it feels weird. But it’s a good weird.

The Dust

June 26th, 2009
4:49 am

It won’t matter until we get a super star and guys like JJ and JS are gone. That’s the real issue! They’ve gotta go!

jibby

June 26th, 2009
4:52 am

Mark – I was hoping the Hawks were going to follow your advice and grab Garrett Siler with the 49th pick. It doesn’t look like he got drafted though. Any chance the Hawks take a chance at signing this undrafted big guy and see if he can be developed? I saw him play at Augusta State this year and he was dominating.

BrittishAnger

June 26th, 2009
5:07 am

Watch them let Solo go and grab Siler during free agency…I think that was the big gamble they were making not drafting big at all…Picking Teague almost screams “Keeping Bibby” to me, Crawford already makes up for the losing him since he can pick up when either Mike or Joe aren’t performing up to snuff. I look forward to seeing who we retain and who we pick up, and with the weird reserve back-court free agents available (Drew Gooden, Jason Collins, Anderson Varejao), we could make some big steals…let’s just see if the Spirit Group allow these reasonable actions to continue…

BrittishAnger

June 26th, 2009
5:13 am

Watch them let Solo go and grab Siler during free agency…I think that was the big gamble they were making by not drafting big at all…Picking Teague almost screams “Keeping Bibby” to me, getting Crawford already makes up for the potential of losing Flip since he can pick up the slack when either Mike or Joe aren’t performing up to snuff in a similar fashion. I could go either way with Marvin, I would ask him what he wants to do and develop a game plan from there; if he’s been making progress like he did last summer, keep him until he’s a free agent, if he wants to move along, work a sign/trade and make it happen; I don’t know who I’d want there in our scheme besides him, though Caron Butler doesn’t float my boat. I look forward to seeing who we retain and who we pick up with the weird reserve back-court free agents available (Drew Gooden, Jason Collins, Anderson Varejao, heck, even Mikki Moore could bring something to the table), we could make some big steals with some of the undrafted gems who will need the proper shoe shine; until then I’ll just keep quiet for the week and wait for the first free agency stories to wash over us next Wednesday…..

JSS

June 26th, 2009
5:13 am

Mr. Bradley, go get some sleep… Lot’s of questions for Sund regarding the direction from here… And eat something!!!

Mark Bradley

June 26th, 2009
5:35 am

I think there’s a chance they’d invite Siler to rookie camp. But he might have other options.

I slept a little, JSS, and I ate a lot yesterday: Hickory burger and fries at Houston’s for lunch, Insalata Johnny Rocco — salad with shrimp and scallops — at Carrabba’s for dinner. But thanks for caring.

oldman

June 26th, 2009
6:08 am

Well, Rick Sund has made us all think. “Let’s go Hawks”. I’m curious about what comes next. The Hawks still have rights to Josh Childress and David Andersen (a big man playing in Europe). If Josh returns, we add another long lengthy defender with good energy. Looking at servicable undrafted big men…was Alade Aminu that bad? Here is a 6′10″ local guy that I think is athletic enough to play center and run with the team the Hawks are putting together. Sign Marvin, we keep forgetting, he’s just 23 years old. As the team has improved, so has his game.

Ryan

June 26th, 2009
6:13 am

Dust. . go away. If you think JOe JOhnson is the problem with the Hawks, then you should quit sports forever.

Bailer

June 26th, 2009
7:13 am

I wish I knew more aboutthis game so I could sound like I knew something, but after watching on TV I hope the hawks keep Flip

Ernest

June 26th, 2009
7:16 am

You mean you did not get the Hawaiian steak or Prime Rib for lunch at Houston’s Mark? I think you are slipping…..

It will be interesting to see what happens come July 1 when free agency begins. Sund has indicated in several interviews that this will be how the Hawks improve themselves, with a combination of resigning their own free agents and picking up others. One key thing that will need to be done is to expand the rotation from 8 to 9, with that person being another big man. This should help spread out the minutes enabling the team to be fresher heading into the playoffs. It also helps in case of injuries that another player has been getting ’sweat’ throughout the season.

Mark, you may want to do a blog on the free agents you think the Hawks should target. It will definitely get a LOT of posts.

El Bravo

June 26th, 2009
7:17 am

Mark, if Marvin is the top priority, what makes you think we would only tender him and let him walk a year later? Wouldn’t it make more sense to sign him long term? In this economy we stand to get a decent bargain on him. I imagine we can sign him for less years (say four) and a lot less money than Josh while offering him an opt out clasue after the second or third year. Wouldn’t that be the more logical move? The guy is only 23!

smartguy

June 26th, 2009
7:32 am

TRADE JOE JOHNSON

FIRE MIKE WOODSON

rainman

June 26th, 2009
7:40 am

I also believe that Marvin should be signed to a new contract. The Hawks are thin at 3 and MW seems to be finally coming around.

The Sting

June 26th, 2009
7:45 am

SIGN AND TRADE MARVIN FOR A BIG MAN. Were are okay at gaurd now. The solution is to get rid of Woodson. He lost control of the players on the team. JS does what he wants.

MightyQuinn

June 26th, 2009
8:01 am

At least they didn’t draft a 6′7″ wingman because he was the “best available athlete”!

MightyQuinn

June 26th, 2009
8:03 am

BTW, I see you posted this at 4:25 am. Is that when you finished writing this? If so, do you get shift differential pay?

lawton

June 26th, 2009
8:19 am

at first, i was excidted about the crawford pickup. check this out though, if the hawks lose bibby and have crawford tutor teague, how are the hawks BETTER ? in other words, bibby could score, the hawks problem is their half court offense, or lack thereof. woodson for whatever reason, cannot or will not develop a halfcourt post game for smith or horford. are the hawks just spinning their wheels by replacing one perimeter point guard with another because of woodson’s style of play in the halfcourt game?

Marcus

June 26th, 2009
8:20 am

I am leery about that 2nd round pick – what is the logic in the pick?
Is he young insurance for JJ being a FA next year?
Also, what is the scoop on him?

Manny

June 26th, 2009
8:27 am

Since we still didn’t acquire an athletic big man, “Yawn…”

We still have a big hole in the middle.

WPinAZ

June 26th, 2009
8:55 am

Teague is a great talent. But, here’s the rub. Mike Woodson is NOT a YOUNG point guard coach. He’s a VETERAN point guard coach. Check the record. Since he’s been the coach in Atlanta, he has had now 3 “pg’s of the future” (Salim Stoudamire, A C Law, Jeff Teague). Stoudamire and Law “didn’t pan out”, they say. Well….how can you if you get no run? Woodson does not develop point guards. His record indicates he has neither the patience, nor the inclination to do so. He is not interested in “teaching” the game to a young point. He preferes someone who can hit the ground running. Admittedly so, it does require a certain amount of patience to groom a young NBA pg. You have to be able (and WILLING??) to live with the mistakes and bad decisions on the court, which will surely come. But, that’s part of the process. You don’t become Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas, or John Stockton overnight. They had to learn the game also. But, they got to play thru all their rookie mistakes and LEARN from them. Case in point – Rajon Rondo. Does anyone believe if Rondo was with the Hawks, he would have blossomed as he has under Doc Rivers? Coming out of college, Rondo and Law were a toss up. Difference is, Rondo got a coach who honestly believed in him and stuck with him thru all the mistakes, all the turnovers, errors in judgment, etc….Law got Woodson, who proudly endorsed him publicly when drafted, then buried him on the bench. Law was allowed few to no mistakes, allowed to NEVER turn the ball over. He didn’t forget how to play coming out of Texas A&M. Niether did Stoudamire after leaving Arizona. Both were dominate college players from major conferences, as was Rondo. The diifference is Woodson. He will not tolerate the indescretions of youth at point guard. The Doc Rivers, the Byron Scotts, the Jerry Sloan’s of the world, they can. They DO. And now look where their young PG’s are now. And look what’s happened to the two we’ve had, and what I feel will happen to Teague as well. If Teague doesn’t develop in Atlanta, point the finger squarely at Mike Woodson. In the words of Bill Parcell’s: “you are what your record says you are”. Check Mike Woodson’s record with young point guards. Facts do not lie. Good luck to Jeff Teague. With Mike Woodson as his coach, he’s certainly going to need it.

Bravedawg

June 26th, 2009
8:58 am

Mark – here’s “the catch” on Crawford. He has a reputation as a “me-first” guy, plays zero defense, and his offensive numbers have been inflated by being either the ONLY talented guy on a team (i.e. Chicago a few years back) or playing on the most up-tempo offense in the NBA (Golden State). Oh, and also the fact that we gave up on Acie Law.

Which leads me to my next point – what would lead us to think that Jeff Teague will see the light of day? Past performance is the best indicator of the future, and Mike Woodson has already buried one 1st round pick PG on the bench in Acie Law, giving up on him in 2 years. And he was a lottery pick!! So what makes us think Woodson knows what the heck to do with Teague? Woodson does not “coach” this team. We win games on our athleticism alone. No one has improved substantially under Woodson. Horford was this good coming out of college. JJ was this good when he got here. Marvin has not turned out to be half the player anyone thought he’d be, and Josh Smith should be playing in the stratosphere with all of that athletic ability – instead, he’s a 2nd/3rd-tier NBA player.

So please, Mark, tell me why I should believe that Jeff Teague will do ANYTHING?

Greg

June 26th, 2009
9:04 am

Mark, I must admit they have made some good moves. My challenge with hawks is we lack aggression in our front office. These moves are safe, but safe don’t win championships. Orlando has 3 all star caliber player with VC in the fold, the Celtics has 3, Clevland with Shaq has 3, Washington with Arenas back has 3 and the added MMiller. The hawks have 1 all star player JJohnson. We are now probably the 6th best team in the east.

ant banks

June 26th, 2009
9:05 am

MARK BRADLEY,

what is the deal with Cenkyl? are the hawks ever goin’ to bring him over?

i still think that we are in a 4 way tie with the 4th seed: hawks, miami, chicago, philly. we have done absolutely nothin’ to compete with the big 3- clev, orlando, boston

Fixing the Hawks IS NOT THAT HARD!!

June 26th, 2009
9:05 am

Mark Bradley please offer your critique but fixing the Hawks is not that Hard, ALL Sund has to do is not offer Mike Bibby ANYTHING, please let him walk, he cant check or stay n front of ANYBODY, he cant create his own shot and he cant penetrate to break down a defense. Then just give Flip and Zaza whatever they want! I hate when teams let PROVEN players who fit the system leave, just so they can gamble on unproven players to come in and take their place, all for a few million dollars. (Example, new management of the Falcons, Michael Jenkins & Babineaux, great job of signing proven players that fit the system)

Lastly, please trade Josh Smith to save salary cap to be able to put an offer for Gortat! Look I love Josh Smith BUT he is not the right fit for the team. Al Hortford will be a very consisten and smart all star Power Forward for years to come. We are killing his offensive development by having him play out of position at the center spot. There is no way he will ever blossom playing against 7 footers. And Josh Smith cant play the 3 position because he CANT dribble!! I mean seriously, he cant dribble NOR can he shoot, try winning n the NBA with a small forward who cant do both.

Hedo Fan

June 26th, 2009
9:11 am

Like Neil, I was crushed when Lawson got picked by Minnesota one spot ahead of the Hawks. Lawson would have been perfect for this up-tempo, transition team. Not sure about Teague, but “explosive first step” seems to be the consistent review of his game. The trade of Vince Carter to the Magic means that Hedo Turkoglu is NOT going to re-sign with the Magic (not enough cash for Orlando). Rick Sund needs to let Bibby and Marvin go and use the $10-15M that those two would have required to sign Hedo. A starting lineup of Crawford/Teague, Joe, Hedo, Josh and Al will be good for 3rd place in the East (ahead of aging Boston). Hedo, Hedo, Hedo.

Paulie OldSchool

June 26th, 2009
9:11 am

Ditto to WPinAZ and props. Made every point I was thinking of while reading your column, MB. If Woody doesn’t play/coach/let Teague make mistakes (i.e., develop naturally), then they might as well have drafted me. I wish the young man good luck in Woody’s shed, I have a feeling he’s gonna be spending a lot of time there.

Volman

June 26th, 2009
9:12 am

Wonderful blog, Mr. Bradley! Keep up the Hawks blogs! Us dedicated fans REALLY appreciate it…and you know what you’re talking about! (for the most part–haha!)

I love the decision to get Teague. Hopefully Sund can resign Bibby as well as Zaza and give the QO to Marvin. Sign another veteran big, and boom! Contender!

mountain_jim

June 26th, 2009
9:13 am

I sent an email to customer service, but I will mention it here also. I have been trying to read Jeff Schultz blogs on these Hawks changes for last 24 hours the web pages don’t render properly with just the ad, title, and a closing javascript tag error with trailing : [endif]–>

I use IE 7 browser, and I know I am not only one with error as some folks mentioned it in other sports blogs.

Rufio

June 26th, 2009
9:20 am

mountain_jim im having the same problems with the Shultz blog’s

although yesterday when i got home from work where i have Mozilla Firefox i was able to view it. but IE at work is not getting it done.

jj

June 26th, 2009
9:20 am

I hope the Hawks do something with Childress.I would hope if they can’t sign him that they would seek Childress out and discuss which teams he would like to play for and trade him and get something for him before he becomes a free agent.I believe Sund has a plan and can’t wait to see it play out.We need a man in the middle along with my fav ZP.

Mark Bradley

June 26th, 2009
9:26 am

The time shown above is indeed the time I finished writing. But I don’t know about shift-differential pay. Sounds scary to me.

And I would point out that Al Horford and Marvin Williams and Josh Smith came here as rookies under Mike Woodson. Didn’t they get to play? (It seemed, at least to me, more a case of this coach not liking Acie Law’s game than an overall abhorrence of young guys.)

ant banks

June 26th, 2009
9:27 am

WPINAZ,

in your comments about rondo and law, you have to look at their coaches. doc rivers was a point guard, so he knew to be patient with rondo. Woody was a 4/5, so he knew to be patient with horford, jsmoove, chills got major burn as rookies.

Dawg A

June 26th, 2009
9:28 am

One thing is for sure with the selection of Teague and that is he will continue to be “lightly coached”. And as far as being in “capable hands” I assume you mean Sund?

Hedo Fan

June 26th, 2009
9:32 am

Mark: Have you heard any mention of Hawks signing Hedo?? This is a no-brainer.

ant banks

June 26th, 2009
9:34 am

we have not done anything to close the gap between clev, orlando, or boston.

and we have done nothin’ to seperate ourselves from miami, chicago, philly, or indy. indy is goin’ to be hella betta this yr

Mark Bradley

June 26th, 2009
9:35 am

Woody wasn’t a 4/5. He was a wing. And a good one.

And the only mention I’ve heard about Turkoglu is on these boards. I think the Hawks will look to keep two of their free agents before looking outside.

Jamaaliver

June 26th, 2009
9:42 am

HEDO FAN,

Picking up Turkoglu would have been a good idea in S&T or free agency, but with Crawford on board it would be overkill to pursue a third offensive wing player. Especially since Marvin averaged the same amount of points in the Regular Season for a fraction of the cost.

Hedo, JJ and Crawford is a dream lineup on NBA Live. But on the court they would be abused defensively and have trouble sharing the ball.

WPinAZ

June 26th, 2009
9:42 am

Agreed MB! But Horford-Williams-Smith are not POINT GUARDS.

ant banks

June 26th, 2009
9:44 am

sorry, mark.

the point that i was tryin’ to make was that with doc rivers bein’ a point, he knew what rondo was goin’ thru and how much leeway to give him. with woody never playin’ point, he did not know how much leeway to give.

ant banks

June 26th, 2009
9:48 am

i know that this is not the forum, but i wanted to offer condolensces to Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson’s families.

I LOVE FARRAH BACK IN THE DAY. oh my god!!!

And i loved mj. i had the jerry curl, wore black penny loafers, with white socks, and did the thriller dance with my classmates!!

rip mj and farrah

NC Braves Fan

June 26th, 2009
9:51 am

Thanks for the update Mark. It will be interesting to see how the FA season unfolds for the Hawks and what the organization may have in store.

At a minumum, it seems like they’ve given themselves some options and flexibility, which is a lot better than where they stood heading into last July.

O'Brien

June 26th, 2009
9:54 am

Whether or not Teague gets some PT depends on who is ahead of him. One reason why Acie didnt play much (and I’m a big Acie fan) is because you had Bibby and Flip ahead of him on the depth chart (although Woody could have found time for him).

Also, there were a couple times when Acie could have got some PT, but unfortunately, he wasnt healthy. (I hope he plays well in GS).

I dont think the Hawks will sign both Flip and Bibby, so that increases the chances that Teague gets a few minutes, but it depends on the depth in front of him.

Mark,

Would you prefer Bibby or Jarret Jack or Ramon Sessions (Jack and Sessions are restricted FA).

RealSquawk

June 26th, 2009
9:56 am

Mike Woodson doesn’t have a problem playing young players. He has a problem playing young guards, but watching the highlights of Teague he could serve as a more athletic Mike Bibby.

Mark,
Your disdain for Marvin is unbelievable. I think Marvin is just as important as Al Horford and Josh Smith. If we can keep these three young guys on long deals then we would have a ridiculous nucleus of young talent. And we could swap and switch and draft to fill the other positions. And is Jeff Teague pans out then it would be a four team nucleus. Now that is staple that can keep your team in the playoffs for a very long time.

Barack Yo Mama

June 26th, 2009
10:04 am

Jeff Teague was a good choice. Oh, also like the Crawford trade, too. And that Sergey Gladyr kid, don’t know much about him but he can knock down the 3 ball.

Jamaaliver

June 26th, 2009
10:08 am

Might Crawford and JJ combine at SG and SF the way Sprewell and A. Houston once did for the Knicks? A thunder and lightning combo who, with Smoove, are unstoppable in transition.

We move Marvin to the bench and have a pretty potent 2nd unit with Teague, Marvin, Mo and Zaza.

sidslid

June 26th, 2009
10:10 am

Teague was the dominant player in the first half of the season in the ACC and then the whole team fell flat. He is a slasher more than shooter, which should help our bigs get open.

Mark Bradley

June 26th, 2009
10:15 am

I’d prefer Sessions to Jack, but I like both.

Pardon me if I’m hallucinating, but didn’t the Hawks just beat the Heat in a Game 7 in which Marvin Williams didn’t play? He isn’t as important as Josh Smith and Al Horford. I’m sorry, but he just isn’t.

Mark Bradley

June 26th, 2009
10:16 am

Truth to tell, I’ve warmed to Jamaaliver’s notion over time: Marvin would be optimized as a sixth man, where he’d get more shots with the second unit.