Posts Tagged ‘Hawks’

Another special Bradley’s Buzz: All-free agency edition!

The NBA: Hawks on the clock!

In his breakdown of the top 30 free agents (link requires registration), Chad Ford of ESPN.com lists Mike Bibby as No. 7 among unrestricted free agents — Zaza Pachulia and Flip Murray are included among “other notables” — and two more Hawk properties among the top restricted free agents. And now you’re asking: Two?

Yep. Marvin Williams is No. 3, and Josh Childress, who hasn’t played for the Hawks since May 2008, is No. 5. Here’s what Mr. Ford has to say about those two, and also about Bibby:

Williams: “Has as as much raw talent as anyone else in the class of 2005, but he’s been frustratingly inconsistent in his first four years with the Hawks. While he’ll probably stay in Atlanta, he’s not playing well enough to earn anything close to the $60-64 million over five years that [Danny] Granger got last fall, to contrast Williams with one small forward from his draft class.”

Childress: “Shocked many in the NBA by deciding to bolt for Greece last summer. …

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The Hawks’ free agents: Hope for three, settle for two

Mike Woodson is a coach, and every coach wants more and better players. On Monday, as the Hawks welcomed Jamal Crawford to Atlanta, Woodson spoke of the Hawks’ four key free agents and said this was how many he wanted to see back here.

“All of ‘em,” he said.

This is how ambitious Woodson is: He wants to keep the four free agents — Mike Bibby, Flip Murray, Zaza Pachulia and Marvin Williams — plus add “another veteran big, and there are some out there.” But that’s a coach talking, not a general manager. And Rick Sund might have a more pragmatic take.

Me, I can’t see any way the Hawks keep all four. Nor should they. With Crawford and Jeff Teague in a mix that already included Joe Johnson, there wouldn’t be enough minutes for both Bibby and Flip. And if Bibby returns to start, then Crawford becomes Flip and Flip becomes Acie Law, who barely played, and Teague becomes Thomas Gardner, of whom some of you haven’t even heard.

A reasonable scenario is for the Hawks to keep three of the …

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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 …

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A modest proposal: Flip free agency and the NBA draft

Rick Sund makes a good living, OK? (And he’s doing a nice job, OK?) But Rick Sund is an NBA general manager, and NBA general managers have it tough, logistically speaking. They have to draft players to fit a team that might not be their team at all.

The Hawks have the 19th and 49th picks in Thursday’s draft. In a perfect world, the GM would target positions of need. But the Hawks also have four key players who will become free agents July 1. One’s a backup center. One’s a starting small forward. One’s a starting point guard. One’s a backup combo guard. How can you fill so many potential holes with two picks? How can you know which potential holes will become actual holes?

Even with Jamal Crawford apparently on board, if Mike Bibby (starting PG) oe Flip Murray (backup combo) decide to sign elsewhere, the Hawks will need another guard. But, as Sund said Monday, “Let’s say Zaza [Pachulia] doesn’t re-sign with us and Al Horford gets hurt next year. In hindsight, I’ll be wishing I …

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The Hot Button: Why the Hawks still must pluck a PG

It became clear the moment Mike Bibby arrived from Sacramento: This is how it’s done. You find a point guard and put the ball in his hands and live happily ever after. And that’s why, in a draft deep in nothing except point guards, the Hawks should take one with the 19th pick tonight.

Let’s assume the Jamal Crawford trade is consummated, and let’s even assume the Hawks re-sign Bibby: Even then, there’d always be a need for a distributor, and no team knows it better than the one that passed on Chris Paul and Deron Williams in 2004. It took the Hawks until February 2008 to find a real point guard, and once they did they were never the same.

With Bibby on the floor, they were transformed. They were creative. They were properly positioned. They were, for lack of a better word, good. They took the Celtics to Game 7 that spring, and they were even better in 2008-2009, winning 47 games and a Round 1 series. They know now what they should have known all along: Unless you have a …

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A great move by Sund, another step upward for the Hawks

Are we believing this? The Atlanta Hawks, acting boldly? Acting smartly?

We should be believing. Because this long-tormented franchise just took another step up in class.

They won 47 games and a playoff series last season. They should break 50 next time. Trading for Jamal Crawford — assuming the deal goes through, and there seems no reason it shouldn’t — gives them more flexibility than the Hawks have had … well, since Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan were hoisting hook shots back in St. Louis.

Crawford doesn’t mean Mike Bibby is necessarily a gone goose — obviously the Hawks can’t keep both him and Flip Murray now — but it means the Hawks enter the 2009 draft and the even-more-important summer free agency bazaar knowing they have cover. Crawford isn’t a true point, but he can play the point. And he can score.

He has averaged 15.7 points over the nine seasons since he left Michigan, and he averaged 19.7 for Golden State last season. Think of him as an upgrade on Flip, and think of …

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A big idea: Hawks should take Augusta’s Siler in Round 2

I stand before you a weary man. I’m tired of hearing that Al Horford isn’t a center (because he is) and that the Hawks won’t amount to anything until they find a center. But being my dogged self, I wasn’t willing to sit idly by as the conversation raged on the ol’ blog. I actually went out — at the prodding of reader JSS, who put a bug in my tin ear — and found the Hawks a center.

Actually, Rick Sund and his crew beat me to it. They had Garret Siler of Augusta (Ga.) State in for a workout last week. But I’m not just giving him a look. I’m saying: Take him in Round 2! Make him the draft’s 49th pick! And then hire Tree Rollins, who helped groom Shaquille O’Neal in Orlando, as a special assistant and let him spend two years tutoring the big man.

Garret Siler is, as we say in the trade, a great story. He attended a fine arts school — he was a singer and played in the band — until moving to Richmond Academy as a senior. That’s where Dip Metress, the coach of Augusta State, saw him, …

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Hawks fans, don’t expect the moon and stars at No. 19

The 19th player taken in the 2008 NBA draft was J.J. Hickson. If you’ve heard of him, it’s doubtless because he played at Wheeler High in Marietta and spent a season at North Carolina State. It isn’t because he did much of anything as a professional rookie.

Hickson was the 11th man on the Cleveland Cavaliers, who won more regular-season games than any other. Come the playoffs, Hickson got to sit and cheer as LeBron James and the other nine guys did their work. This isn’t to derogate Hickson, who’s 20 and who could yet develop into a fine pro. This is to offer a sobering glimpse of NBA reality.

The Hawks hold the 19th pick in Round 1, and if they find someone capable of offering immediate assistance that late they’ll consider themselves outrageously fortunate. The 19th player drafted in 2007 was Javaris Crittenton of Georgia Tech, who’s already on his third NBA team and who has started a total of 10 games. The 19th player taken in 2006 was the legendary Quincy Douby, who hasn’t …

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Face Off: Say goodbye to Marvin, hello to Caron Butler

Read Jeff Schultz’s view: Hawks need to get the point — and it’s Rafer Alston

Marvin Williams is the least essential Hawks starter. He scores points and takes rebounds but seems to leave no imprint on games, and one of the reasons Joe Johnson gets the ball with three seconds on the shot clock — or, worse, Josh Smith gets it 25 feet from the hoop — is that Marvin, four years a pro, still won’t assert himself.

I want to see Marvin not assert himself elsewhere next season. I want the Hawks to re-sign him — he’s a restricted free agent — and ship him and Acie Law to Washington for Caron Butler and Javaris Crittenton. The Wizards are looking to cut salary, so that part would work for them, and they’re also looking to get younger. Williams turns 23 on Friday; Butler is 29. (See ajc.com photo gallery.)

Butler is a small forward with deep range and — key point — a ton of self-assurance. He wants the ball when the clock’s ticking low. He averaged 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.3 …

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If the Hawks trade Josh, they lose me. (Unless it’s for Kobe.)

The annual Josh Smith trade rumors are swirling (ESPN.com link requires registration), and they make less sense than ever. The Hawks are getting close to something good, but they must negotiate a summer in which four of their top eight players are free agents of some stripe. Josh Smith is under contract through 2013. He’s not the immediate problem.

On the contrary, he’s a massive part of the solution. He’s a very good player bordering on greatness. He’s 23. He has already had his free-agent summer. He’ll be the best player on this roster in two years, and that’s even if Joe Johnson sticks around. Josh isn’t the guy you move. He’s the one you keep.

Last month Rick Sund, the Hawks’ general manager, said: “I like our club. The only reason I say that is that there’s still growth from within.” Of Smith in particular, Sund said: “I think Josh is going to continue to get better — every year he’s gotten better.”

And he has. And he should continue to do so for at least three more …

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