After further review … the Hawks are in really big trouble

Sometimes you get caught up in a moment, and sometimes it’s a bad moment. The Hawks were so awful Monday night as to beggar belief, but in the interest of fairness I’ve spent some of the subsequent hours reflecting on what I saw/wrote. (Other hours were invested in sleeping.) And in my reflection, I have asked myself: “Marky boy, do you think you made too much of one game in November?”

My now-considered answer: No.

My rationale: When you fire the head coach and promote his assistant, you’re not committing to a new five-year plan. You’re betting on continuity with a few tweaks. There’s not going to be a long shakedown cruise. The change is either going to take immediately or not at all.

That the Hawks started 6-0 offered some indication that the players had bought into the Larry Drew Method, but those six games have been revealed for what they were: The softest early schedule the NBA could possibly provide. When better opponents began arriving, the Hawks, as we say in horse racing, spit the bit.

The twin pillars, such as they were, of Drew’s curious case to become head coach were that the Hawks needed to share the ball on offense and stop switching on defense. The result of the former has been a bit more balanced scoring, which is good in theory, but against the Celtics on Monday the Hawks’ idea of sharing seemed to be allowing Al Horford to shoot more 18-footers. When you have Joe Johnson, in whom $120 million has just been re-invested, is that really what you want?

As for the defense: The Hawks didn’t just not switch Monday — they didn’t guard at all. They were so disinterested against the team that always before has piqued their interest that Drew wondered afterward what the Hawks were doing on their nights off. (What is this? High school?)

Drew also said he didn’t like where his team is headed. He said this three days before Thanksgiving. And that’s the chilling part. If the Hawks have already stopped caring, what does that say for this franchise? Does Rick Sund start making trades to try to assemble a roster more to Drew’s liking? What evidence is there that Drew would know what to do even then? If the guys he was supposed to know best won’t play for him, who will?

But enough. I’m depressing myself all over again. After further review, Monday’s non-effort wasn’t as bad as I thought. It was worse.

214 comments Add your comment

Brad

November 23rd, 2010
10:49 am

Kudos for first?

I love that you’re laying into these guys, Mark. SOMEONE needs to hold them accountable…

Herschel Talker

November 23rd, 2010
10:54 am

MB:

When do pitchers and catchers report?

HT

tulsabravo

November 23rd, 2010
10:55 am

Looks like the Thrashers are the team to watch at Phillips. At least they try.

Mark Bradley

November 23rd, 2010
10:55 am

Kudos, Brad.

DCBrave33

November 23rd, 2010
10:56 am

Well…at least the Falcons are good! Maybe the Thrashers can keep me interested til baseball season as well.

FedUp

November 23rd, 2010
10:57 am

Who cares? Another article stated that the NBA union would be giving out 8,000 turkeys for Thanksgiving. Well 12 of those, well let’s say 11 (keep Hofford) are on the Hawks.
Pathetic excuse for a basketball team.

No NBA fan... Not any more

November 23rd, 2010
10:59 am

$120 million for Joe Johnson is the biggest joke in the history of sports. This clown should be digging ditches or picking up trash on the side of the road.

jon

November 23rd, 2010
10:59 am

Mark i”m really struggling to spend the money tonight in NJ to watch them … especially after last nite.

Dr. Warren

November 23rd, 2010
11:00 am

Glad to get a break from UGA, Tech, and Auburn, Mark. Most of us Atlantans didn’t go to those schools, and these past two blogs on the Hawks have been sorely needed. We’ve also got an 8-2 NFL team about whom we could use more of your esteemed insights.

RememberTheHawks

November 23rd, 2010
11:01 am

I haven’t cared about this team since they traded Wilkens. Now back then, at least we had an entertaining team. They didn’t get to the Conference finals, but I would take Wilkens, Whitman, Rivers, Willis and yeah even Konkak over this bunch. Add Tree Rollins to the mix too.

Glenn

November 23rd, 2010
11:01 am

When will the 2011 preseason college football rankings be out? :-)

Fish Bisch

November 23rd, 2010
11:01 am

The Thrashers will win more games than the Hawks this year.

jon

November 23rd, 2010
11:02 am

I really don’t want to spend the money tonight to watch them at the Prudential Center in NJ. Very disappointing start. Woody is already lookin better!

Dawg_One

November 23rd, 2010
11:03 am

jon

November 23rd, 2010
11:03 am

Enter your comments here

jon

November 23rd, 2010
11:04 am

I hate to spend the money tonight to watch them in NJ

Peachtree John

November 23rd, 2010
11:05 am

Same old response on my part. The Hawks need a great center, another small forward, and a true point guard that is at least 6′5″ tall. And, if “Smooth” shoots from more than 8 feet from the basket more than 2 times during a game, he needs to know that he will be traded.

crackbaby

November 23rd, 2010
11:05 am

Ownership is adrift. Sad for the city. Atlanta deserves better and so do these players. Still no true center and we haven’t seen any improvement at point guard.

Too bad you can’t fire the owners. Maybe just stop buying tickets.

Mark Bradley

November 23rd, 2010
11:06 am

Watching these Hawks in Jersey … I’m sure there’s a joke there someplace.

Ted M

November 23rd, 2010
11:09 am

I was going to watch yesterdays game then I just said to myself ‘nah’. When I checked the score in the 3rd quarter I was glad I didn’t watch. Now I kinda wish I did, just witness their demise. Is it hopeless?

Who quit the most?

i_am_soulstar

November 23rd, 2010
11:09 am

Man, I hope the Hawks get it together. The city of Atlanta is slowly losing faith.

SimpleDawg

November 23rd, 2010
11:11 am

No big man, no true point guard…..just a bunch of random pieces, most of which are playing out of place. A new coach…..

A real mess.

Ted M

November 23rd, 2010
11:13 am

At the beginning of the season Josh Smith looked so good. I was encouraged. Now I suspect he quit the most yesterday.

db

November 23rd, 2010
11:14 am

We did nothing in the out season to improve the team….we all should not be surprised!

RomeDawg

November 23rd, 2010
11:17 am

I don’t think that you can build around a players like Josh Smith and Joe Johnson. Smith is a enigma that has moments of greatness but mostly just days of ordinary. Joe Johnson would make a much better Pippen than a Jordan. We are now stuck with Joe and Al is a nice compliment but overall this team lacks an identity, unless you consider quiting an identity. The good teams have a great leader and a complimentary piece of two. The great teams have a great leader and a complimentary piece or two with a good bench. Sadly, this Hawks team mostly just has nice complimentary players we pay like great leaders.

GAIL ADAMS

November 23rd, 2010
11:19 am

The Hawks will get better, I do believe

dap01

November 23rd, 2010
11:23 am

Random pieces is the best way to describe this team. We went through a painful rebuilding process with no real direction and no great insight. We have a team of power forwards, we have no PG or center despite being in the lottery year after year. Our current GM speaks of a core. There is no core. We have a horribly constructed team. Why doesn’t the GM ever have to be questioned?
We trade for an exemption, yet we don’t use it.

We offer JJ $20 million more than anyone else could offer? Why? Was he not going to stay for $10 million more? If you think this team is cash strapped, wait till year 3 when JJ’s salary takes up 1/3 of our cap.

The Hawks are a mess!

Spud Webb

November 23rd, 2010
11:23 am

Everyone knew that when we didn’t even try and bring in a low post player we had no shot. We could NEVER beat Orlando in a 5 or 7 game series with this team. NEVER. On top of that, our miserly management hired Larry Drew instead of Avery Johnson, when he was clearly available. What a joke. This is the plan, huh? It’s completely embarrassing and the players are going to give up. Just watch.

Atlanta Spirit Group: PLEASE SELL THE TEAM TO SOMEONE WHO CARES ABOUT WINNING. The fans of Atlanta are apathetic because this team has already realized their ceiling. They are no better than a #3 seed any way you slice it. Quit selling us a fake bill of goods.

The Spirit Group should just bring me back. I can still light it up.

Tmac

November 23rd, 2010
11:26 am

The reason the Hawks blow is because of the players. Outside of Al Horford and maybe one or two, they have no heart.
To replace the Woody with LD perpetuated a “status quo” mentality to the players. There is no responsibility from ownership, through management and to the players and back to the top.

When you got:
your owners in court fighting each other…
your GM signing under performing players to long-term big money contracts…
coaches not developing players…
players running the asylum and not being held accountable…

All these sink the ship.
The Hawks ship is toast and they ALL have no one to blame but themselves.

mark

November 23rd, 2010
11:28 am

Starts at the top, ASG is the worst situation for ownership in any league, you have a bunch of guys who share power, strapped for cash and no visble operating plan. Everyone wants to point to Aruthur Blank as the ideal owner but even he took his lumps with MV and Rich Mckay, then he realized things have to change brought in TD and Coach Smith and now there is a visble plan moving forward. Even the Braves have a plan that is stayed in place with the change of ownership, budget is not limitless like a fan would like but there are only two teams in all of baseball that have an ulimited budget and even they are not perfect. Bottom line this team is going no where with out a change in ownership.

Astro Joe

November 23rd, 2010
11:30 am

Bradley, that’s the thing, when given a chance to truly introduce change, the ASG opted to introduce a tweak. Hiring an outsider to gut the culture and start a new one was clearly the better way to go (Woody needed to leave and everyone associated withthe BK/Woody era needed to go). What we’re seeing shouldn’t be viewed as early pains associated with a new head coach… it is a new chapter of the same book. All blame rests at the feet of Gearon and the ASG, they stepped up to the plate and attempted a bunt single.

jon

November 23rd, 2010
11:30 am

Mark no joke, I live in Livingston Nj and Born and raised in the ATL

Pay attention

November 23rd, 2010
11:31 am

RememberTheHawks – Wilkens? Sorry, but they didn’t trade Wilkens.

Wilkens – Lenny Wilkens was a coach of the Hawks.

Wilkins – Dominique Wilkins was a player for the Hawks.

If you “remember the hawks”, then you should at least remember their names. It’s Wilkins, not Wilkens.

diss yay

November 23rd, 2010
11:33 am

at least they are tied with miami?

some sense

November 23rd, 2010
11:35 am

Belkin was right.

Acquiring Joe Johnson and then committing mega-money to him this year have painted the Hawks into a corner they won’t escape for years.

Larry

November 23rd, 2010
11:37 am

Thanksgiving is two days away. You can choose to focus on your family and friends or you can choose to patronize a league of thugs, diamond earrings, tattoos, braids, locks, illegitimate children, and utter, unabashed degeneracy of taller dudes who are better than most at putting a round ball in a larger round hole.

Me…I’ll be enjoying some turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, vegetables, sweet tea and some NFL football where at least you have a Michael Turner or a Matt Ryan who don’t need earrings and tattoos to feel like an attractive male that classy and dignified women prefer.

Stop supporting this degenerate league and be a real man!

jg

November 23rd, 2010
11:40 am

thankfully i missed the first quarter–but i guarantee you if the hawks were leading 64-42 at the half the celtics would have made it a game. not once did we cut into that lead-not one time! this group is really starting to make me sick! play or go home–put in the work or go home-and finally RUN A FREAKING PLAY FOR GODS SAKE!!!! all this new offense stuff looks the same to me–high pick and roll and settle for a jump shot. and just not to pick on the offense–will someone please not worry about the ball when the shot goes up and just find their man–put their butt on that man and box him out. if 3 guys do that–the rebound should be ours.

what a joke!!!!!

all i’m asking of the team is just to compete–it’s the nba–everyone makes a run–except the hawks.

Russ, the temporary mascot

November 23rd, 2010
11:40 am

Easy on the Hawks, Mark. We all know they are the best 8 and 6 team in the NBA playing in Atlanta right now.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, Gilley. Gilley said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: After further review (and a bit of sleep) … the #Hawks are in real trouble. Yep, already. http://bit.ly/g9OXPL [...]

Decatur Native

November 23rd, 2010
11:43 am

why everytime we lose we go in the history books as the worst lost ever, this blows big time and YES we fans deserve better than this, Untill this team is sold to someone who give a rat’s fanny it will be hard to gain any intrest from fans.

T.I.

November 23rd, 2010
11:46 am

Eyes may be sick and tired of prison, but having to watch this year’s Hawks team is even worse.

Shannon

November 23rd, 2010
11:47 am

If the Hawks want to turn it around that need to look right across the parkway at their neighbors the Falcons… Blank has turned that Franchise into a winning one after many years of being a losing one.. Broght in a Gm from a winning franchise and a head coach who doesnt take crap. But until ASG sells this team that will not happen.

The Wad

November 23rd, 2010
11:49 am

Hawks are in freefall. Still talking about effort with this bunch of immature millionaires? Ridiculous! It`s not the coach, although he would be wise to get the ball in his scorers hands EVERY trip down instead of forcing the sharing of the rock! Share the thrill of victory once your star players have done what they do and won another game they were supposed to win! I get the idea of not being predictable in the offensive rotation of the ball. But you have to let individual skills take precedence over a forced ball rotation. This team did a good job of finding the open man last year. They just fell in to predictability at the end of close games with ISO JOE. That can be undone without redoing the offensive identity of the whole team. Let the big dogs do what they do! That`s why you are paying them star salaries. The coach makes what the coach is worth in the overall scheme of things as compared to his relative worth. He needs to sit down and be the best spectator in the building. They lack heart on defense right now because they have been neutered on offense. He took away the things they do best(offense) and brought it down below the level of the things they did worst(defense). Drew is working on getting himself fired at News Years of his first head coaching gig.

Coach D

November 23rd, 2010
11:54 am

The other night Josh S. seemed so excited about making 18 footers he didn’t care about anything else. The Hawks defensive effort is nauseating. The teams they play look like they all shoot 60%! Guard somebody da– it!

Halsey

November 23rd, 2010
12:02 pm

I’ve said it before and many people just bindly ignore the fact that the Hawks don’t have the combination of length and talent on the front line to compete with teams like Boston, Orlando and the Lakers. A team starting two 6′8 power forwards on it’s front line is limited.

wxwax

November 23rd, 2010
12:06 pm

I struggle to believe that these guys have no pride.

They read what you write. They hear what people say.

Then they play without any heart. Without effort.

Have these men no pride or self-respect?

rock

November 23rd, 2010
12:11 pm

Defense!

Playing defense is a skill like everything else. It requires skill, understanding of the game, and dedication. The Hawks are missing all three. They need players will play a tough defense.

Jim

November 23rd, 2010
12:12 pm

Hire “the General” Bobby Knight today.

Panther08

November 23rd, 2010
12:12 pm

In my opinion, Coach Drew should not be the blame. The blame should be placed on the Spirit Group for not adding the pieces to the team that would make the Hawks better. The Celtics, Heat, and Bulls all got better. As of now, I would say the Hawks may be a 5 or 6 seed in the playoffs. The teams that are ahead of them are Celtics, Heat, Magic, and Bulls.

juice sourcer

November 23rd, 2010
12:15 pm

Again I went to the Milwakee game and here is what happened. Got there at the end of the 1st quarter because of horrible traffic….with 4 people while meeting another 4 at the game..when we got to the seats Hawks were up by about 10…watched the 2nd quarter and the Hawks got run out. Went to that bar/restaurant at half time to get drinks and food…beer was good…food was slop…watched the Hawks on the TV get run out in the 3rd quarter as they quit….worse sports experince ever to pay about $1000 to see this pathetic excuse for a team and a franchise. I really don’t understand why anyone would spend a nickle to watch a team and franchise that just doesn’t not care. 120 Million to Joe Johnson has to be the biggest joke in the history of sports and fans will not pay money to see this crap.