Another home blowout tells us the Hawks have quit on Drew

Kirk Hinrich: Not exactly the missing piece, was he? (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

Kirk Hinrich arrives and the Hawks start stinking it up at home. Cause and effect? (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

This is why you don’t promote the nice-guy assistant. Because the players who’ve known him only as the nice-guy assistant will quit on him. And if you think the Hawks are still playing hard for Larry Drew, how are we to explain the misdoings of the past three weeks?

The Hawks have lost six home games in 18 days. (By way of comparison, they lost seven home games all last season.) Only one of these six losses has been by fewer than 13 points. Average margin of the six losses — 17.2 points.

On Friday they trailed Miami by 29 points after three quarters. On Saturday Al Horford convened a players-only meeting, which apparently enabled the Hawks to subdue the awful Detroit Pistons by eight points the next day. But the shelf life on players-only meetings, at least for these Hawks, is only 48 hours. On Tuesday they trailed Chicago by 29 points after two quarters. (They would trail by 47 before it ended.)

Even if we stipulate that all six home losses have come against good opposition, that excuses nothing. The Hawks are, or at least were, supposed to be pretty good themselves. They won 53 games last season, and they’ve won 40 this time. But they’re not nearly the team they were a year ago, and the reason is clear:

The Hawks might not have loved Mike Woodson, but they played hard for him most nights. When they stopped playing hard against Orlando in Round 2 of the 2010 playoffs, it was time for Woodson to go. But it took the Hawks six seasons to tune out their previous coach; they stopped listening to his successor after 60-some games.

They’ve won 40 games because they still have talent; they’ve lost 15 home games because they don’t care enough to apply that talent when application requires effort. Stop shooting their beloved jump shots? Start guarding somebody? Why bother?

Say it again: Fifteen home losses for a team that boasts two All-Stars, a third player of All-Star caliber and the league’s reigning sixth man of the year. Fifteen home losses, nine of them by double figures. The NBA’s worst team shouldn’t be getting hammered like this at home on such a regular basis, let alone one that has been to the playoffs three years running and will get there again this spring. (The irony of Tuesday’s loss was that the Hawks could have clinched a postseason berth; instead they looked like a team in the running to be first in line for the draft lottery.)

Apart from the subtraction of Mike Bibby and the addition of Kirk Hinrich — that trade hasn’t exactly had a catalytic effect, has it?– these Hawks are essentially the same as they’ve been. What’s different is the coach. Like him or not, Mike Woodson was difficult to overlook. His former team has found Woody’s nice-guy assistant all too easy to ignore.

By Mark Bradley

347 comments Add your comment

Dawg Lover

March 22nd, 2011
11:50 pm

Najeh Davenpoop

March 22nd, 2011
11:50 pm

Just because Larry Drew is abysmal doesn’t mean Mike Woodson was good.

It’s been 43 years since the Hawks moved to Atlanta. Where is our Derrick Rose? Where is our Tom Thibodeau?

Aaron

March 22nd, 2011
11:51 pm

Gonna get bounced in the first round.

ITS BRAVES SEASON!

Blow them up

March 22nd, 2011
11:51 pm

Pathetic performance all round tonight.It is an embarrassment to the city. First

Mark Bradley

March 22nd, 2011
11:53 pm

Kudos, Dawg Lover.

Mark Bradley

March 22nd, 2011
11:54 pm

Our Derrick Rose plays in New Orleans. Or New Jersey.

JeJe

March 22nd, 2011
11:54 pm

M.Bradley was dead on when he said we should’ve hired Dwane Casey and not the nice guy Larry Drew

JeJe

March 22nd, 2011
11:55 pm

LD IS A SOFT COACH. HE IS TIMID. HE DOESN’T TALK

NO ACCOUNTABILITY

Arff

March 22nd, 2011
11:55 pm

I think Drew is gone after this season. Marvin Williams, Jamal Crawford and Josh Smith should also go. Unfortunately the biggest problem with the Hawks is Joe Johnson. When your highest paid and best player acts and plays as though he would rather be somewhere else you got problems. After giving him max money the Hawks are stuck with that albatross for the forseable future.

Joe

March 22nd, 2011
11:57 pm

Enter your comments here

Mark Bradley

March 22nd, 2011
11:58 pm

Actually, Dwane Casey is a nice guy himself, but he wouldn’t have been the same nice guy the Hawks had come to know. He’d have been a different voice, as opposed to a quieter one.

Dawg Lover

March 22nd, 2011
11:58 pm

Great day. The Lady Dawgs beat FSU to advance to the Sweet 16. At least one team is still playing basketball in this state.

Nunna!!

March 23rd, 2011
12:00 am

Amen!!!!!!!!

Ben

March 23rd, 2011
12:01 am

This team is a joke. I was sitting in the first row again tonight and Drew is just awful. Teague and Armstrong should be getting regular minutes but he doesn’t even play them. He plays Cheeseburger Collins in the 1st half who does NOTHING but give 2 fouls and let the Bulls backup center score at will on him. I’m about done with this team. Drew has NO IDEA what he is doing.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
12:01 am

Here’s the problem: Can’t trade Joe because he makes too much; can’t trade Horford because he’s the heart of the team; can’t trade Jamal because he’s going to be a free agent; can’t trade Marvin because who’d want him?

By process of elimination, the only real candidate for a trade is Josh Smith, and he’s one of the most talented players in the league.

mikey

March 23rd, 2011
12:03 am

Agree with Bradley. Maybe for the first time.

DunkinDon

March 23rd, 2011
12:05 am

Cannot explain how the Hawks can look like last year’s LA Clippers right here at the end. Go figure

Joe

March 23rd, 2011
12:06 am

Josh Smith is with out a doubt killing this team. He continues to take his dumb a$$ jump shot HOPING it all go in. If you were on the floor and this saw this clown clang shot after shot would u play hard. What a loser. AH has to loath playing with him.

Joe

March 23rd, 2011
12:06 am

Josh Smith is with out a doubt killing this team. He continues to take his dumb a$$ jump shot HOPING it all go in. If you were on the floor and this saw this clown clang shot after shot would u play hard. What a loser. AH has to loath playing with him.

Ramrod

March 23rd, 2011
12:06 am

You get what you deserve, paying Joe Johnson all that money. You can loose without him.

William Satterwhite

March 23rd, 2011
12:10 am

I wouldn’t say no one else would want Marvin Williams, he’s still young enough and good enough for a lot of teams to have interest.

I’m not sure it’s a case of the players quiting on the coach as much as it them quiting on ownership and/or Rick Sund- whoever it was responsible for not making the kind of truly big move this team needed to make to keep pace with the East’s elite.

Fan of the Game

March 23rd, 2011
12:10 am

Quit – The word is in the Drew Family’s vocabulary. No sympathy from me for him or his son. Quitters!

Nunna!!

March 23rd, 2011
12:11 am

Look what i found on SI:

The Hawks’ frustrations showed when backup center Zaza Pachulia and Drew exchanged sharp words on the bench late in the game. The 7-foot Pachulia left after missing a long jumper.

“I told him I didn’t want him taking that shot,” Drew said. “He shoots an 18-foot shot. That’s not his shot. … I told him ‘You don’t take that shot.’ That was the end of that.”

Nunna!!

March 23rd, 2011
12:17 am

I totally agree with you on this article Mr.Bradley,they have given up on this guy and to tell u the truth,i kinda feel bad for the guy.
He’s been an assistant coach for 18yrs. and when he gets his shot with a team that he knows well,then,it goes down hill from there.

He’ll get another shot it he is released after this year.

But one question Mr.Bradley,i heard “the czar”say tonight that not only are the hawks for sale but its a chance that they may move out of Atlanta as well..

Is this true.Could there be prospective buyers for this club who are looking to move them out of Atlanta??

IlliniDawg

March 23rd, 2011
12:17 am

Only 17 more days till Braves Opening Day game against the Phillies. That’s 17 days till the Hawks go from underwhelming to irrelevant in the ATL sports scene. God I hate this team!!!

Terry

March 23rd, 2011
12:17 am

Might as well run ISO Joe because the Hawks won’t run an offense. Josh Smith should have went to college and learned the fundamentals of the game. He is 3 playing four because he can’t shoot worth a darn. Our 4 is playing 5. Run all those big guys on the bench at 5 and let them hard foul anyone who drives to the basket–put Horford at 4 and go with Joe, Teague and Heinrich with Crawford, Josh and Marvin off the bench. If any of them gripe sit ‘em. We’re losing at home by 30+ anyway.

Steve

March 23rd, 2011
12:18 am

Problem is, if you hire coaches that aren’t player friendly they rebel against them as well, in the media if not on the court. Remember some guy named Mike Fratello .. by far the best coach in the history of the franchise in Atlanta .. he got ran out of town for winning 50 games a year and winning first round series in the playoffs every year with less overall talent than Woodson or Drew.

It’s not the coach, it’s the players. Only four guys on this team play with any heart that I have seen (Horford, Smith, ZaZa and maybe Hinrich). Smith lets his emotions control him though, which isn’t always good. ZaZa doesn’t get enough court time because he is lacking in true skill. That basically leaves Horford to man the ship. The rest of the Hawks have less heart than guys I play pick up games with. It’s ridiculous.

Don’t blame the coach when the GM is the problem. We should have NEVER resigned Joe. That was the biggest mistake the Hawks have made since Jon Kontract .. which is saying something when you consider the Sharif trade and the Sheldon and Marvin Williams picks. We could have given Marvin his chance so we would know if we needed to move him or not (instead, with limited minutes he hasn’t shown any ability that another team would trade to have).

For the Hawks to really get good, they have to stop being in the middle tier of teams. They also have to get lucky in the lottery, hope there is a stud available, and not blow it. Thing of the teams winning lately and how most of them were worse off than the Hawks for a decade or so but at some point in the last 20 years they hit rock bottom and built back up. The Hawks were there, but instead of toughing it out and drafting good picks, they traded away high picks in the Sharif and JJ deals and neither of those guys were true ‘take you to the finals’ kind of players.

Should have blown this thing up this last offseason. Sign and trade of Joe would have garnered two #1 picks most likely. Sign and trade of Josh might get us two more. Try to trade these guys to perennial losers so you know the picks will be good .. trading them to stud teamsbasically means you net nothing, because you have a much lower chance of success with lower first rounders (the days of Kobe type guys going that late are over, because the league is now wise to drafting younger players). But now … NOW … we are stuck for the next half decade with an inferior team in the ever improving East.

For my part, I don’t even want to see Joe or Marvin on the floor the rest of the year, I don’t care if we lose every game. Give guys that play with intensity and that truly care a shot. Start the four guys mentioned above and let Jamal play the 2. If Joe wants to prove he still cares, then he can do it as a sixth man. Maybe that will wake him up. Best player or not, his attitude permeates the team and needs an adjustment.

Ron Jirsa

March 23rd, 2011
12:19 am

Maybe he should shave off his eyebrows like Mr Potato Head did

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
12:20 am

Nunna!!, I don’t think the league would let the Hawks leave.

Nunna!!

March 23rd, 2011
12:20 am

I heard “the czar”say that not only is this team for sale but they could be moved out of Atlanta as well…

Is this true?
There are no stipulations on keeping this team in ATL???

FACTS

March 23rd, 2011
12:25 am

Is this a B-ball season or we watching teeth being pulled?

Nunna!!

March 23rd, 2011
12:29 am

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
12:20 am
Nunna!!, I don’t think the league would let the Hawks leave.
————————————————————————————————

I hope not.I’ve been rooting for this team since the days of John Drew,and Super Lou Hudson #’s 22 and 23 in the central division going up against the likes of the cavs and others and i would hate to lose that history.

I just think we need a change at the top,and drew is part of the problem.

Sund’s contract is up at the end of the year,from what u may know from inside the hawks organization,what are the chances that he will not be asked to return next year?

And a few more questions if u have the time to answer them:
Do the players believe in Teague? They are not treating him like the floor general that he is supposed to be.

Would any of the potential buyers be a famiiar name to us here on the blog?

How serious are the hawks in re-signing Jamaal Crawford?

And can the ASG afford all the demands of ownership of this team for another year?
Because the way it sounds,is that,they are broke!!

FACTS

March 23rd, 2011
12:34 am

Ha Ha Nunna!! With the possible NFL season in jeapordy I think no city could stand losing any pro franchise.

IlliniDawg

March 23rd, 2011
12:35 am

@Steve: one of the better/best commentaries on the Hawks that I’ve read in some time. We have three main problems, and NONE of them have to do with the coach: too many lazy heartless players, an overrated overpaid “superstar” who we can’t be moved, and missed chances to improve through lottery picks. And that’s why I hate this team and just can’t stand to watch them.

How I long for the days of players like Nique, Tree, Spud, Steve Smith.. hell even Laettner put more effort into the game then most of these guys.

JSS

March 23rd, 2011
12:39 am

Nobody wants Marvin at almost any price. They tried to move him before the deadline (Zaza too)… They haven’t quit on Drew, they been found out and they’ve had no answers since Game 7 of the Milwaukee…

@ Najeh…
Your “Tom Thibodeau” is sitting in the analyst seat for TNT… The players revolted on Hubie Brown in 1981. Hubie went to the Knicks, and the Hawks went on to try to win with crazy people like Eddie Johnson, John Drew, and the only stable one Roundtree… This team just can’t get out of its own way…

a1andonly

March 23rd, 2011
12:40 am

Are there any clauses in Joe’s contract that state he has to play to the best of his ability? If so can we release him for breach of contract?

JSS

March 23rd, 2011
12:41 am

oops “Roundfield”

papason

March 23rd, 2011
12:43 am

We traded a #1 for kirk lmao….He was worth bibby only…but we traded bibby,jo crawford and a 1 for kirk lol…Sund and spirit please leave..Drew needs to go please…Now i see why the sold away teams jerseys ….

JSS

March 23rd, 2011
12:46 am

IlliniDawg
March 23rd, 2011
12:17 am
“God I hate this team!”

Well Tenured Professor, you can solve that pretty quick. Stop watching and commenting on them… Grade some papers and use the time for Hawks games to add extra office hours! See ya!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

March 23rd, 2011
12:46 am

“By process of elimination, the only real candidate for a trade is Josh Smith, and he’s one of the most talented players in the league.”

No he’s not. Athleticism and talent are not the same thing.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 23rd, 2011
12:47 am

And I say that as a Smoove fan. Smoove is not a potentially elite player just because he can jump out of the gym. That’s not the way it works. Ball skills > athleticism.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 23rd, 2011
12:49 am

“Here’s the problem: Can’t trade Joe because he makes too much; can’t trade Horford because he’s the heart of the team; can’t trade Jamal because he’s going to be a free agent; can’t trade Marvin because who’d want him?”

If Gilbert Arenas and Rashard Lewis can get traded for each other, and if Baron Davis can get traded, then Joe can get traded.

I’d be willing to bet the Nets would trade for Joe if given the opportunity. And I think the rebuilding of this team has to start with him.

I’d let Jamal walk and trade everyone except for Teague, Smoove, and Al for whatever I could get. Then in the summer of 2012 I’d give Dwight Howard his choice of either Al or Smoove as his running mate at power forward. Whoever he picks stays; whoever he doesn’t pick gets traded for a 2-guard.

Anthony

March 23rd, 2011
12:51 am

Folks, the only way to salvage this season is to fire Drew now. The players are not gonna play hard for him and they need somebody proven who will come in here and demand that they start earning their money. These players are lazy, over paid kids who let anyone that wants to push them around on their own court. That’s embarrasing. And they wonder why people cheer for the other team when they come here. No passion and no pride. All the while the broke, penny pincher owners are happy just to have a team and be able to rub elbows with the rich while sitting in their courtside seats. What they don’t realize is everyone is laughing at them. We, the fans are the ones having to put up with this nonsense. What ya think? Anyone else agree?

FACTS

March 23rd, 2011
12:52 am

No matter what, it is the coach’s responsibility to have his team prepared for the game. I agree with some of the posts, Sund has done nothing to help this team’s standing in the East, but Drew knew coming in what we had to put out on the floor. Some of these performances have been completely embarrassing, ASG has nobody to blame but themselves, stupid contract to JJ & no improvements to the core.

IlliniDawg

March 23rd, 2011
12:54 am

@JSS: that’s exactly what I’m doing now – grading papers.

BTW – do you have some kind of deepseated hatred for professors?

geoholman

March 23rd, 2011
12:58 am

What a bunch of losers! Getting blown out at home like this shows no self-respect or pride, and why would anyone pay to watch this? I had hopes for this team with three bona fide stars, but no coaching, no team leadership, and no gumption leads to this gutless performance. They have quit; no question about it, and all we, as fans, have to anticipate is another first round and out post season. The only way to build this team is to blow it up and start over. Keep Hortford and send the rest packing..

Bring on the Braves!

JSS

March 23rd, 2011
1:00 am

IlliniDawg
March 23rd, 2011
12:54 am
“BTW – do you have some kind of deepseated hatred for professors?”

Nope, my last college professor (who I TA’d for) is one of my best friends in the world. It is just you…

IlliniDawg

March 23rd, 2011
1:01 am

@JSS – sorry about that dude, but I certainly have nothing against you. Peace.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 23rd, 2011
1:09 am

“@ Najeh…
Your “Tom Thibodeau” is sitting in the analyst seat for TNT… The players revolted on Hubie Brown in 1981. Hubie went to the Knicks, and the Hawks went on to try to win with crazy people like Eddie Johnson, John Drew, and the only stable one Roundtree… This team just can’t get out of its own way…”

It’s funny that you bring up something that happened 30 years ago. It is totally like this organization to not be able to make up for something they did before I was born.

Sh-t, this team is still trying to live down trading Dominique, and they will probably be trying to trade for a point guard when my grandchildren go to college.

Legend of Len Barker

March 23rd, 2011
1:13 am

Forget Derick Rose. I’d like to have Charlie Criss.

The Hawks didn’t bother to address a single one of their problems from last year. Another first round pick that barely plays. Josh Smith and his me first attitude. An aging Joe Johnson who has had poor playoffs and no help. Jamal Crawford. Maurice Evans. Zaza Pachulia being anywhere near a starting lineup is horrendous. Josh Powell being your big pickup in the off-season is worse. While losing Bibby is nice, Hinrich isn’t the solution.

Goodness, I almost forgot about Marvin Williams. That’s how far up to our necks we are in terms of mediocre to bad players.

It’s sad when Ted Turner’s attempt to torch the team was one of the best clubs Atlanta has ever had.