A lineup change for the Hawks? Let’s start by sitting Marvin

This came on a night Marvin didn't start. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

This, perhaps not coincidentally, came on a night Marvin didn't start. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Doubtless you’ve read the post by esteemed colleague Michael Cunningham in which Larry Drew says he’s contemplating a lineup change for his Atlanta Hawks. Which sounds fine. But who should sit?

Drew has already made one lineup tweak, choosing to start Jason Collins at center and moving Al Horford to power forward. (Drew does this only on occasion, usually when Marvin Williams is out, which he often is.) This has helped bump up Horford’s scoring average by two points a game, but when you’ve got Collins as your center, somebody else had better shoot.

To say that minor alteration has galvanized the Hawks would be incorrect. They’re about the same, give or take, as they’ve been since Mike Bibby arrived in February 2008. Speaking of whom:

Some folks regard  Bibby as the Hawks’ weakest starter and clamor for Jeff Teague. I would note that Teague’s workload has risen only two minutes a game from last season, and we don’t have Mike Woodson to kick around anymore. Apparently Drew is seeing the same things — or, perhaps more precisely, not seeing the same things — in Teague as did his predecessor. Which suggests that Teague might not be as good as Rick Sund had hoped.

Were I bent on changing the lineup, I wouldn’t dislodge Bibby, and I really don’t see the use of having Collins on the floor unless it’s to bang into Dwight Howard. (And last I checked, the Hawks don’t play Orlando every night.) And I like Jamal Crawford too much as a sixth man to make him a starter. But there is one starter who has long seemed, at least to me, better suited to be a sub, and that’s Marvin Williams.

Put Marvin on the court with Horford and Joe Johnson and Josh Smith and Bibby and he gets lost. He’s the fifth of five options. Put him on the court with the second unit and he becomes by default the No. 2 option behind Crawford. And it’s not that Marvin isn’t capable of making an imprint on games; it’s just that, for 5 1/2 puzzling seasons, he has been content to do the minimum.

When Drew first inserted Collins into the starting five — it was back in December against, wouldn’t you know, Orlando — Marvin was quoted afterward as saying he didn’t appreciate the demotion. It’s time for the Hawks to stop running him out there as a matter of course and expecting more and better. It’s time for this organization to change the dynamics of a career that hasn’t been dynamic.

Sit Marvin. Let Mo Evans serve as a place-holder in the starting lineup. Let Williams do as Crawford does: Enter the game midway through the first quarter. If Marvin doesn’t like the assignment, too bad. He has had long enough — far too long, truth to tell — to render himself indispensable to this first five, and he hasn’t done it.

One big season as North Carolina’s sixth man prompted Billy Knight to take Marvin No. 2 overall in 2005. The Hawks have lived with that lemon of a draft pick for more than half a decade, and they need to see if redeployment might yield lemonade. We’ve seen the extent of the status quo: The Hawks can win one playoff series and get swept in Round 2. And that, at this late date, is not enough.

By Mark Bradley

164 comments Add your comment

Fish Bisch

February 10th, 2011
11:40 am

dawg4u

February 10th, 2011
11:45 am

Second by a nose!!

Phalcon Phil

February 10th, 2011
11:45 am

Couldnt agree more MB. This time anyway.

that banker guy

February 10th, 2011
11:46 am

Chico

February 10th, 2011
11:48 am

Se hombre un mucho el nueve se ocho mi casa cinco si Cam Newton.

Mark Bradley

February 10th, 2011
11:48 am

Chris

February 10th, 2011
11:49 am

start Damien Wilkins instead of Marvin/Mo….it’ll give the starters a shutdown defender and Joe won’t have to gaurd other team’s best offensive players all the time.

Pesci

February 10th, 2011
11:50 am

The hawks are a mediocre team that will be bounced in the 1st or second round of the playoffs. Its as assured as death and taxes. No amount of lineup changing will affect this.

D A DoubleU G

February 10th, 2011
11:50 am

Atlanta has a NBA team?

Why?

What did we do wrong?

How do we get rid of it?

Harpie

February 10th, 2011
11:50 am

Don’t worry about the Hawks getting swept in the second round of the playoffs – they’ll probably lose in the FIRST round!

virgil leonard

February 10th, 2011
11:51 am

I’ve been saying we need to trade MW. he is a liability in the front court and he’s inconsistent. trade him maybe we can get a true C if we can package a deal together

Matt "Spaghetti" Ryan

February 10th, 2011
11:56 am

A lineup change for the AJC?

Let’s start by sitting Schultz.

lucaslimo

February 10th, 2011
11:59 am

Totally agree! Sixth or 7th man better suites his game. Jamal and Marvin should lead the second unit and provide much needed strength of bench for the playoff run.

PaulieOldSchool

February 10th, 2011
12:01 pm

Right on the money, Mark. Thank you.

KBP

February 10th, 2011
12:02 pm

Mo instead of Marvin. Really? What does Mo do better than Marvin? Certainly not a better a scorer nor rebounder. Marvin is a little better defender. Marvin has played well when he has touched the ball often but he’s not going to consistenly get touches on this team. It will be better for him to be traded than play behind Mo. I would rather see them start Wilkins instead of Mo. Wilkins is clearly a better defender and rebounder than Mo.

Barb

February 10th, 2011
12:02 pm

Ooops! Shoulda got CP3!

Phoenix Falcon

February 10th, 2011
12:02 pm

the suns are looking to make a move, how about MW, Bibby, JT, and Josh for Nash, Marcin Gortat ( big man ) , and J. Chill????????

El Bravo

February 10th, 2011
12:05 pm

If Carmelo is traded for Bynum, would that make Nene available? I would think so since I doubt Denver will want two centers and one of them (Nene) can become FA after next year. If so, the Hawks should be looking at entering this trade scenario and target Nene. It will probably cost us Smoove but that would open the door for Al to play his “natural position”…

nicemlt

February 10th, 2011
12:06 pm

I don’t get why Teague hasn’t been given a chance. People say “his #s” but honestly if your options were: ZaZa/Collins, Josh Powell, Mo Evans, and Jamal Crawford would you have an easy time (a) penetrating the defense (b) dishing out assists? Put any good PG with those guys and his #s would suffer whereas it’s a lot easier to “feed” Joe, Josh, Al.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley and Front Office Blogs, Laverne . Laverne said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: A change to the Atlanta #Hawks lineup? Let's start by sitting Marvin Williams. http://bit.ly/h8jw4u [...]

Phoenix Falcon

February 10th, 2011
12:10 pm

The Denver Nuggets can’t possibly be so dumb as to assume they will turn out any better than the Raptors or Cavs if they do not trade Carmelo Anthony before the trade deadline. Anyone with a pair of eyes can watch them play and see a NBA title is not in their future. Whether it be to a team he signs with long-term, or as a hired gun, Melo needs to be moved for the Nuggets to start the long process of breaking down a contender and moving back towards respectability. So here’s 2 potential trades-

Phoenix Falcon

February 10th, 2011
12:11 pm

Nuggets get: Monta Ellis, Devin Ebanks, Derrick Caracter, Marvin Williams
Lakers get: Carmelo Anthony, Mo Evans, Louis Amundson
Hawks get: Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest, Al Harrington, Brandon Wright
Warriors get: Josh Smith, Shannon Brown, Zaza Pachulia
Why the Nuggets do it: Ellis and Lawson would be the fastest backcourt in the league, they’d pick up 2 nice prospects, plus Williams is a flippable asset.
Why the Lakers do it: Because Bynum’s body isn’t built to play basketball 82 games a year. Because Ron Artest sucks. Because Kobe can no longer be the man every night.
Why the Hawks do it: To move Al Horford to his natural 4 position.
Why the Warriors do it: Because all they want to do is run teams off the court, and the lineup of Curry-Brown-Wright-Smith-Biedrins can do that.

Ted M

February 10th, 2011
12:11 pm

Even when Jason Collins starts he only gets token minutes. I’d try Wilkins for awhile if it doesn’t work go w/Mo. But unfortunately no matter how you slice it they are not getting past the 2nd round perhaps not even the 1st.

cp

February 10th, 2011
12:12 pm

Any suggestion to sit anyone other than Mike Bibby I cant take serious. Bibby has been absolutely brutal defensively, add in the fact that he cant knock down shots which makes him more useless. I’m not a fan of Marvin but Mo is terrible. Damien doesn’t really score so whats the point of sitting Marvin? Mike Bibby is not helping this team in any way. Sit Bibby ASAP

ag

February 10th, 2011
12:13 pm

Mark you are so wrong. I am not against sitting Marvin, but Collins gives us 0 offense and slows us down. Trade for athletic center who is a project Thabeet. If no trade, you have to sit Bibby. Look at the last 5 games. Mark, look at what Teague does if he plays 20 minutes!!! Okay, I don’t see Teague in practice, but I saw him at Boston, I watched him put up 24 pts 15 ast against Cleveland without LeBron (basically the same team they have this year. Bibby has sucked the last five games (scored 21 points, only made one basket that is not a threy) – Teague over the same time has scored 20 points in 12 min and TWO DNP’S.
PLAY JEFF TEAGUE NOW!!!!!!!!!

Phoenix Falcon

February 10th, 2011
12:13 pm

Trade #1
Knicks get: Carmelo Anthony, Al Harrington, Chris Anderson, Aaron Afflalo, Wayne Ellington, Sheldon Williams
Nuggets get: Corey Brewer, Wilson Chandler, Kelenna Azubuike, Roger Mason, Andy Rautins, Anthony Tolliver, a future 1st round pick from Minnesota
T-Wolves get: Eddy Currys corpse, Bill Walker, Timofey Mozgov, Anthony Randolph
Why the Knicks do it: To block a potential Lakers move for Melo.
Why the Nuggets do it: While it’s not a perfect trade, they get a legit starting 3 in Chandler, young guys, a draft pick, and cap room.
Why the T-Wolves do it: For a non-lottery pick and Corey Brewer, they get to take a chance on some really talented young guys.

Phoenix Falcon

February 10th, 2011
12:14 pm

Hawks get: Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest, Al Harrington, Brandon Wright

Phoenix Falcon

February 10th, 2011
12:14 pm

Nuggets get: Monta Ellis, Devin Ebanks, Derrick Caracter, Marvin Williams
Lakers get: Carmelo Anthony, Mo Evans, Louis Amundson

Phoenix Falcon

February 10th, 2011
12:14 pm

Warriors get: Josh Smith, Shannon Brown, Zaza Pachulia
Why the Nuggets do it: Ellis and Lawson would be the fastest backcourt in the league, they’d pick up 2 nice prospects, plus Williams is a flippable asset.
Why the Lakers do it: Because Bynum’s body isn’t built to play basketball 82 games a year. Because Ron Artest sucks. Because Kobe can no longer be the man every night.
Why the Hawks do it: To move Al Horford to his natural 4 position.
Why the Warriors do it: Because all they want to do is run teams

El Bravo

February 10th, 2011
12:16 pm

And I agree with most everyone here. Bibby is getting a pass because he is a vet but he is absolutely killing us defensively and, now, even more so offensively. He is not good at setting up other players and he can’t hit his shots consistently anymore. We are at the point were you have to play Teague and yell at him until he gets it or go out and find a different solution…

South ga boy in the Atl

February 10th, 2011
12:19 pm

Mark-your touched in the head on this remedy. Sit Marvin, yes !!! But u want to replace a 6′9″ SF with a 6′5″ SF to an already undersized front court ? Really ? I guess you didn’t want to bring Spud Webb out of retirement to play forward huh ?

BirdDirty

February 10th, 2011
12:20 pm

This team has a history of drafting young guards that were pretty good in college and letting them rot on the bench without seeing what the truly have. Teague now joins the likes of Acie Law, Salim Stoudemire, Ed Gray, and Rodney Monroe from N.C. State. Remember him? The guy was a great player in the ACC. The Hawks drafted him, and he was never heard from again. Put Jeff Teague in the starting lineup with Joe, Josh, Al, and Collins and watch this team take off. My second unit would consist of Jamal, Damien, Marvin/Mo, Powell, and Zaza.

mountain_jim

February 10th, 2011
12:20 pm

Another vote to start Damien Wilkins instead of Marvin. Mo has not earned it and I would like to see what Damien’s effort and energy can do to fire up the starters. Maybe a demotion would light a fire under Marvin, but I doubt it. He already got his big new deal. Thanks Sund.

Sund is sucking right about now – needs to find a way to improve the club and get a PG to replace Bibby.

ag

February 10th, 2011
12:22 pm

I wish guys stop wasting your time about trades that will not happen. I like out “core” Josh, Al, (and after a strong January, I will conceed and say Joe). Teague’s best games this year have been when JC was hurt. He appears like he is the man. When he plays with JC, he gives him the ball and watches ISO JC. Teague can go to the hole at ease, so instead of driving and dishing to OvenMitt ZaZa, a nice dime to Al or Josh. Both players become better instantly. Even keeping Marvin on the floor, he may benefit from Teague being more aggressive and not settling for jumpbers. During that same 5 game span, Teague shot 2-3 in treys, compared to Bibby 6-22 3pt, and overall 7-30.

ag

February 10th, 2011
12:23 pm

Apologize for the typo’s.
START JEFF TEAGUE NOW!!!!!!!!1

ag

February 10th, 2011
12:27 pm

If you start Mo, he will be a 2, and start Joe at 3. The problem with Mo is when he is off, he is off. I think he is a great offensive rebounder and has a good jumper. Marvin and Jamal off the bench with Bibby is a really good second unit. Hopefully Powell will get some burn also. Wilkins will be the odd man out.

Dawglasville

February 10th, 2011
12:29 pm

Trade Josh and Marvin for a starting center and point guard. Make Bibby the back up to Joe.

FBBoy

February 10th, 2011
12:31 pm

I agree, Mark. thanks. What are we to make of management that sticks with its players for too long (Williams, Bibby) and wastes its best player (Horford) beause it doesn’t fix its biggest weakness (center? Actually, now that I think of it, I could have asked this last year. Or the year before. And maybe i did. So here’s my latest question: If the Hawks’ management doesn’t think enough of its fans (much less the team) to make it seriously competitive by seriously addressing these problems, why should we bother to invest our time and money in it? And don’t you get a little weary of making that point over and over?????

mountain_jim

February 10th, 2011
12:31 pm

You know some of us wanted to take Monta Ellis in the 2nd round. Who did we take that year – Salim? Can’t recall.

BirdDirty

February 10th, 2011
12:32 pm

Also, Drew should have been playing Jordan Crawford early on to get him experience. Bradley, you always use that same excuse about Teague not showing the coaches enough. Well, what is the reasoning behind Jordan Crawford not getting any playing time? I guess he hasn’t shown the coaches enough either. I think the staff needs to throw these two guys out there now. Heck, it should have been done back in November at the beginning of the season. If they had, we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now. We would have had two young guards ready for a playoff run. Instead we have two question marks!!!!

Hankie Aron

February 10th, 2011
12:34 pm

Mark- To me it’s simple. Hawks need a capable ball handling PG and a better than Collins center. Find a way to get NeNe and maybe Mo Williams or see if you can swing a trade for Steve Nash. The team would be demonstrably better than this collection of left feet with no right to balance the dance.

Submariner683

February 10th, 2011
12:35 pm

That would be the ultimate coup if the Hawks could pull that off, Pheonix Falcon. The way the Hawks make vastly lop-sided trades (with the Hawks being on the extreme low end), they’d give up Horford, Josh Smith, and JJ for Bynum alone. Plus probably throw in two first rounders. That’s an exageration of course, but does anybody remember the particulars for the Shariff Abdur Rahim trade. The lost Pau Gasol, Lorezen Wright (who the gave up a 1st round pick to get), and another former UNC guard (name escapes me) that was a 1st rounder.

I completely agree with the lemon pick that Marvin Williams was. I said it at the time. He didn’t fill any need the Hawks had, which was a big man and a PG. The only big man was taken 1st, after that, there were two ridiculously good PGs available (Williams and Paul), and one really good one (felton). They already had guys who played Williams’ position at the 2 or 3 in the two Smiths and JJ. Plus, like Mr Bradley said, he was a 6th man freshman on albeit great UNC team, but still a 6th man. He probably would have been an elite freshman starter at most every place else, but he wasn’t most any place else, so he got the experience of playing part time and not having to be a top scorer or having that kind of pressure that most freshman phenoms have.

The product on the floor is a product of management, which has been awful at drafting and nearly as awful at player acquisition. Between the mid 80s and today, name a great draft pick besides Horford, Jsmith (althought great might be stretching it), and possibly Jason Terry? I can rattle off names like Dallas Comegys, Ed Gray, Rumeal Robinson, Priest Lauderdale, Adam Keefe, Douglass Edwards, Roy Marble, the list goes on and on. So I guess if you compare Williams to those guys, he’s A OK. But then again, none of those guys were picked anywhere near #2 overall in the draft.

Hankie Aron

February 10th, 2011
12:36 pm

I just cringe with Chris Paul was available and we didn’t take him when we had the chance because Billy “long athletic players” Knight didn’t believe in having a true point guard and Magic Johnson isn’t available.

Hankie Aron

February 10th, 2011
12:37 pm

I like Dawglasville’s thinking

Hankie Aron

February 10th, 2011
12:39 pm

You can lay blame on Billy Knight for not drafting CP3 Chris Paul. Knight always favored “long athletic players”. CP3 didn’t fit his mold

Art Vandelay

February 10th, 2011
12:39 pm

Phoenix Falcon, on what planet would the Hawks be able to get Bynum, Artest, Harrington and Wright while giving up only Marvin and Mo? This isn’t Playstation.

Hankie Aron

February 10th, 2011
12:39 pm

Why are my comments being deleted? or what’s up?

Hankie Aron

February 10th, 2011
12:40 pm

Oh sorry nevermind

billthere

February 10th, 2011
12:42 pm

Marvin is beyond a bust he. 5 years and he still cant have an impact on a game and then he cries about going to the bench…..Trade him for Broks Conrad.

dap01

February 10th, 2011
12:44 pm

Good article and subject Mark. But none our the fowards on the Hawks are the weak positons for the Hawks.

Bibby is the worst starting PG in the league.
Marvin is an average starting SF in the league.
Collins (the starting center) is probably the weakest starting center or primary backup center in the league.

These statements above can not even be argued. So which one would you work on first?