Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hawks @ Blazers - 2/21/09

Coming off of my trade deadline rant & my profession that Al Horford's production on the season has been even worse than Josh Smith's (and Smoove certainly hasn't shown improvement this year unless you consider the fact that he's stopped taking 3pt shots improvement), we have the Hawks vs. Blazers. A game we lost early in the 3rd quarter...

Blazers 108, Hawks 98


It's almost criminal to have me watch Brandon Roy play the game of basketball and think - it could be a Roy/Johnson backcourt. Kinda how I feel when I see Deron or Chris...it's sickening! There are several revelations that I need to share today...

1. I don't believe there is one Hawk outside of Mike Bibby and Marvin Williams that are playing at or near what I expect of them right now.
2. The Mike D'Antoni-Terry Porter-Alvin Gentry coaching fiasco in Phoenix has proved that having a coach AND a philosophy matters. The Suns have given every Woodson apologist a reason to re-think their 'But they're winning more than before arguments'. Having a coach and a style that works for that personnel matters. I am thoroughly convinced that our current style will allow us to defeat every poor basketball team in the league (yes, there are many), but will prevent us from consistently defeating any above average team. So, Atlanta Spirit - here's a precedent for firing a winning coach who isn't getting the best out of the team's personnel. Take heed.
3. What is the style we NEED to play to make a difference - run, run, run (which means playing Acie to spell Bibby, which would play to his strength in attacking the basket)...use our athleticism, play from inside out, so that Joe, Mike, Flip, Marvin and Mo can catch and shoot off screens vs. trying the off the dribble stuff that no one other than Flip and Acie are even decent at.
4. Is anyone with me now regarding Al Horford? Did he just put up 4 and 6? Did Josh just put up 11 and 3? I'll say it again..Potential - Yes! Current Production - No! I couldn't help watching 10 players playing for the Blazers and shed a tear at watching a bench develop and come in to provide a boost and change in pace vs. our bench's (sans Flip and Zaza - who thought I'd say that early in the season) use to just fill space until the starters are ready to come back in. Yes, Maurice - you are starting to fall into this category.
5. Again, I ask GM Sund - there were no players we could use. The mix we have is how good, how perfect, nothing is worth shaking up, no leadership is needed....
6. NOW, you finally determined that Gardner should play in the D-League. Really...you really thought he needed to sit on the bench all year. What about Mario West or Randolph Morris? Wouldn't it make sense to send them as well - playing time builds confidence (apologies to Acie and Solo for saying this in your 'presence').

Sigh.....

7 comments:

Bret LaGree said...

I've got to disagree about Horford last night. He got the Horford treatment again last night but he did fairly well with his extremely limited touches (3 assists and unlike Smith he didn't take any bad shots), and, though I don't have the time or stomach to watch the game again, I don't believe many of Portland's offensive rebounds were his fault. Realistically he can only box out one opponent at a time. A shot will go up and Smith won't even be in the frame as the other team swarms the Hawks' defensive glass. Yet he plays 39 minutes last night.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Here's the one thing I know that I know about the NBA. Supreme talents can not be hidden. I keep saying - I believe Al can be a good NBA player, but what I'm having significant problems with is that EVEN poor coaching and scheme doesn't result in the average to below average production we get from Al in 30+ minutes each and every game. Everyone seems to believe that Al is a significant cog for the Hawks - that he is critical.

So, I'm saying - how many games has he been the difference. I can count 2 in 54 games. That doesn't say much to me about his future here. Now, I admit that it could be coaching, but I'm of the mindset that if that's the case, then why does Josh tantalize so much. It's because we see his brilliance through his awful decision making. We believe that the right coaching would eliminate his mistakes in large part. Al doesn't make those mental mistakes and yet his game doesn't say anything other than a good PJ Brown or something of that sort and that's 4th option kinda good.

We need dominant PF/C production out of Al Horford. People keep saying he's a great player for us - well, I'm saying...I depend on Bibby, Johnson, Smoove to spur us to victory before I think about Al right now. I'm even of the belief that Marvin or Flip would win a game for us before Al would...and that's my problem right now. So, I understand your defense of his total game and whether it's his fault or that Josh has his own problems, but I'm saying - I want to see the glimpses of dominance that no coach can suppress. Right now, I've seen it twice. I've seen 2 times when I could be convinced that Acie is our PG of the future in extremely limited instances thanks to our Hall of Fame coach, so what does that say?

I mean LeBron put up about 7 bad shots last night, but he scored 55. So, taking bad shots and getting up assists and not being the cause of offensive rebounds isn't really a good defense in my eyes...

Bret LaGree said...

I agree with you in general, I just disagree about last night. I don't think the best way to attack Portland's defense is by frequently posting up Horford against Aldridge or Przybilla and transition opportunities aren't going to be there when you force turnovers on less than 10% of the other team's possessions and give up almost 40% of possible offensive rebounds.

Bibby (and Flip to a lesser extent) showed how weak Portland's perimeter defense is. Joe struggled to make shots but he took few bad shots. I would have liked to see Marvin get the ball in a position to attack the basket and get to the line more often but I suspect I'll keep on being disappointed on that score.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

ok, i can agree with your analysis of that particular game. Maybe I should have been clearer in just saying that - I'm now evaluating Al (and the Hawks in general) based on their body of collective work and how it will translate into the playoffs. So, we can win and I'll be disappointed. We can lose and I can be encouraged.

Last year, I just wanted us to make the playoffs. So, every win was valuable. Every playoff win was icing. This year, I'm not taking the same approach. This year, we're making the playoffs. Now, I'm wondering if we're playing well enough to actually make noise in the playoffs. Right now, that's a big fat no. For those who say we've won 6 of 9, I say - we had ONE solid victory and that was against the Pistons on the road. All other victories were against weak teams and even our losses weren't competitive.

That's the problem I'm trying to find answers for right now. Let's hope it gets solved....

CoCo said...

I think you really underestimate just how bad of a caoch Mike Woodson is and that's saying a lot considering you've acknowledged how horrible of a coach he is. LOL I agree with Bret I think Al being ineffective is due to many many things, a lot of which are beyond his control. He can't help it if Joe won't pass him the ball when he's in the post but he'll pass it to him well out of his range. You've seen this offense and you've seen how there's no rhyme or reason to it. Last night for example when Bibby was clearly the best player on our team they weren't even going out of their way to get him looks. I mean come on, when someone has it going the way he had it going (before Woody sat him for waaaaay too many minutes to start the 4th)you have to look for him. They did not! There were several mismatches they created but couldn't or didn't bother to exploit. There were a number of times I saw lil B Roy guarding Josh Smith and the guards didn't even look his way. We can debate all day long whether or not Josh deserved to be in the game at that point, but he was out there so you might as well attempt to get something out of him when the opportunity presents itself.
I really think you have to look at Josh and Al in the same way. I don't believe Josh has gotten better under Woodson. I think any improvements he's had are just a natural occurance of playing in the league for almost 5 years. Al is only in his second year, I'm not ready to call him a PJ Brown just yet. I honestly think he has what it takes to be a really good post presence. Unfortunately this is a jumpshooting team so his opportunites are going to be very limited.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

First, you guys need to get lives. I wouldn't even be responding if it weren't for the fact that I couldn't get out on a plane to New York for a party. Have some fun this weekend... :)

Ok, that said...Coco, you know that it's painful how bad our coaching has been for the past 3-4 years. I completely agree that Al (and I've said it repeatedly) can be a good player in this league. What I'm saying more specifically is that - sometimes it doesn't matter who is coaching. I've seen Ricky Davis look like an All Star, I've seen Isaiah Rider play balls to the wall, I've seen Zach Randolph, and Jerome James and Erik Curry all look like All World players for 10-20 game stretches.

With bad coaching...with bad personnel...all I'm saying here is - Al isn't showing me the glimpses that make me think he's worth paying more than the mid-level exception. He's making me think about whether it's Marvin or him that deserves to get the next re-up and who might be worth trading. I don't WANT to believe that to be the case - I'd prefer to get rid of Woody, have Bibby, Johnson, Evans, Josh, and Horford start...have Marvin, Zaza, Flip, Solo, and Acie come off the bench consistently and see us win just as many games, but look as deep and talented as the Blazers looked last night (they played 10 guys and none of them were named Oden). That's what i'd like, but until then - I want Horford to look like he's a star. In some way, shape, form or fashion. Is Woodson keeping him from getting 15 boards a night? Is he keeping him from shooting every time he touches it? Anyway, I digress - we are on the same side here. I'm just saying the colossal F U job that Woody has done doesn't explain all of Al's lack of production. That's all.

CoCo said...

Hahah. The only reason I"m responding is because I actually have nothing better to do at this time! No missed flight or anything, just nothing to do. But this will be my last post.
One thing was evident last night, the Blazers are just better than the Hawks because they know who and what they are. The game actually could've gotten out of hand way before it did had the Blazers recognized that no one on the Hawks team could do anything with Aldridge. I digress. Oh, and its hard, but I'm going to keep my rose colored glasses on. Thanks!