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.