Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Allow Us To Re-Introduce Ourselves

The Hawks Str8Talk blog has been around for almost a full year and we've found a niche in the Hawks Blogosphere where we get to speak our truth. There are some fan blogs dedicated to complete homer-dom, some dedicated to criticizing everything that the organization does that isn't deemed successful, and some that are just all about calling it like it is.

That's where we wanted to fall into the blog spectrum, so it's important we reset our compass for our loyal readers (all 7 or 8 of them). So, here's the Hawk Str8Talk creed:

1. The writer of this blog above all else wants to see the Atlanta Hawks win a NBA championship.
2. The writer of this blog will always cheer for this goal to be achieved.
3. The writer of this blog will always tell the truth about this organization in good times and in bad times.
4. The writer of this blog will always view the actions and progress of this team through the prism of 'does what I see translate into winning a NBA championship?'
5. This writer of this blog will add other filler around this to entertain the people and give them a glimpse into the things not normally talked about in NBA blogs (as examples, we discussed the comparison in dance teams, marketing and sales staff, game operations, celebrities seen, fights, ticketing and logistics, etc - all in additon to analysis of the players, coaches, and ownership)

So, it's with that creed that we speak about my beloved Atlanta Hawks. In the past few days, there have been some interesting debates and challenges to our beliefs, but make no mistake - we are always first and foremost - hopeful about the prospects of our Atlanta Hawks, but let it be clear - this is Hawks Str8Talk. Just b/c we want something to be one way doesn't mean we're going to say something that isn't our truth.

In our last post, there seemed to be some thought that at HST HQ - we were panicking. Nothing could be further from the truth. In an offseason where we are currently staring at bringing back the same type of team (with Flip traded out for Jamal and possibly David Andersen traded out for Randolph Morris), we simply said - as presently constituted, we haven't addressed the problems that plagued us the latter half of the regular season and during the playoffs. Those problems were the reason we almost lost to a woeful, inferior Miami Heat team and were swept by a strong, but not so strong that we couldn't compete with them Cleveland Cavaliers (and yes, we're accounting for the injuries).

So, when faced with that, and the potential that all the other teams were adding pieces that POSSIBLY can make them better (Magic - Carter, Celtics - KG and Rasheed, Cavs - Shaq, Wizards - Arenas, Andersen, and Miller & coach; Pistons - Gordon & Villanueva & coach, Bulls - didn't need anyone - they made their moves at the trade deadline and looked young, yet better than us during the last half of the season and postseason; Sixers - Brand) - the Hawks seem to be stuck in mud.

We don't feel good about just re-signing the old team when we are still lacking defense, rebounding, and a true backup point guard who will play next year (Woodson has shown that he's not playing young players unless he's forced to - i.e. our first 3 years, so Teague is a thought for 2011, but not now) and trading Flip for Jamal didn't seem like much of an upgrade. Don't let our pessimism about that confuse anyone regarding our ability to make the playoffs. We can make the playoffs with last year's team. Can we win a 1st round playoff series or even compete in a 2nd round playoff series? That's a question that concerns us based on last year's results. So, here at Str8Talk, we can't ignore how badly we needed leadership, better strategy, toughness when finally faced with good teams in the playoffs (or in the Heat's case - even bad teams with a superstar). It's not a good feeling to see other teams trying to add things that change the course of their fate vs. taking essentially the same recipe and hoping for a different result.

That said, there's still time and we'll waiting with bated breath to see what GM Sund has in store. Hopefully, our fears and concerns will be addressed and our path to a title becomes clearer. Thanks for your time...

The Notorious Hawk L.U.V.

72 comments:

emcee fleshy said...

I wonder how next year's imminent cap-contraction affects this year's free-agent strategy.

Thoughts?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I think cheap works the same each year. So, our cheap strategy will work the same next year and this year. Funny thing is that I don't expect us to even get Joe Johnson back next year. Outside of some man-love I don't expect him to have for Mike Woodson, Joe Johnson is the perfect 2nd tier baller that would fit with a LBJ.

I would not like to see it happen, but I can see it coming...

Jesse said...

As of yet, the team hasn't shown any signs that they are overly concerned about it. The 09-10 season is set for now and it wasn't a drastic drop. And while the 10-11 season has yet to be calculated, I have seen estimates putting it anywhere from 7mil to a good 10mil drop, which is huge. We could rub the soft cap this year, not change a thing, and be close to spilling over the luxary tax cap the following year.

Coming from an ownership group that is notoriously viewed as overly cheap, they sure do seem to be giving Sund plenty of leeway so far with resigning everyone from last year. I figure that since the main issue in their lawsuit with each other is the true value of the Hawks franchise, that they must have seen that the last two years have been more profitable than years past. Maybe they are spending more money in hopes of hiking up the value of the team for that reason. Maybe they just gave Sund a limit and told hm to make the most of it.

Jesse said...

I'd be more worried of losing Horford, Marvin, or Smith before I would JJ, because put simply, they represent the future. Or, I should say, the possible future if changes were incoming.

I suppose for this season I should look at everything from the Woody viewpoint, instead of the logical viewpoint. It might make it easier to understand events as they occur.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Agreed on the Woody POV b/c that's really the only way to make sense of not putting focusing everything on how to support your most talented group of players.

As long as we hitch our wagon to our backcourt - our future is limited. As for the money, trust me on this - they are super cash strapped. It can't be shown in free agency b/c then they would never get players to come here and would be back to square 1 and no way to get playoff revenue or the things that make the value of the franchise go up, but inside sources tell me that - layoffs and penny pinching to the Nth degree have been happening for 2-3 years now.

thirdfalcon said...

I wouldn't worry to much about losing Horford. We have a team option next year that will be picked up, and a then his restricted free agent year.

The players that are likely to be on our cap at that time are Josh, Smith, Mike Bibby in the last year of his deal, Zaza, probably Marvin, and possibly Joe at less than he's making now, if we have him at all (no way he gets another max deal).

As an extremely rough estimate we'd have around 40 million commited. A lot can happen in two years, so who knows what our team will look like at that point, But we are unlikely to lose him because we don't have the money.

@ ATL Hawk luv

Nice blog, very well said.

I am also curious about your inside sources. I have long thought that the AS group being cash-strapped was an overrated notion. So it would be interesting to hear some specifics backing up the rumors for once

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@third falcon - I can't give names and depts, but let's just say that I have about 6 good friends that work or have worked for the Hawks organization (some for many years, some for the last 5+) and the rumors about cutting costs on things in the office, laying off people each offseason, essentially trying to do more with less are TRUE.

Now, how that translates to player salaries and all that - well, we would have had Stoudamire a few years ago if money wasn't tight. That's why you won't hear me say too many bad things about Billy Knight. He was a trooper to not reveal the hands that have been tied against him when he was trying to make the team the best it could be. He wanted Deron Williams, not Marvin Williams. He had a deal for Amare a while back (that wouldn't have meant losing Josh Smith). He would have fired Woodson.

Far as I'm concerned, the only thing that I can't forgive him for is taking Shelden - I would gotten fired before someone would have made me take him over Brandon Roy. Anyway, there's a lot of truth to those rumors. The AS lost over $30M last year and they can't keep hemorrhaging money like that. You can't make that up by selling the franchise at a higher value. You can at $1M - $5, but the franchise value isn't rising that fast to make that work and to be clear - that's how you make money with a franchise - it's by having the value rise, not the annual profit/loss.

Arthur Blank, like the Smiths, is gonna make his money when he SELLS the Falcons - not while being the owner. Same for the AS except you have to do the things that raise the value of the franchise in order to get there.

thirdfalcon said...

Interesting. Although I don't get why Deron Williams would have cost more than Marvin. As long as they are drafted in the same slot, they would get the same money.

Did they really buy the team to try to make money? Pretty dumb if they did. And if that is their motive, why not just pull a Donald Sterling and only spend as much as the CBA requires in payroll, and make money off of revenue sharing?

I've actually met Arthur Blank (he's an investor in my dad's company), and he wants just wants the Falcons to win, and doesn't really care if he loses money. He's so rich that he can afford it, and it's like a toy for him.

I assumed that's what the spirit were doing too. But on the other hand I would think an Atlanta sports franchise is almost garunteed to grow in value due to the growth of the city.

One of the reasons Atlanta is such an apathetic sports town is because so many people that live here aren't from here. So alot of people root for the teams that were popular in their hometown. But that figures to change as more people are born here stay here for life.

So looking at it from a long-term stand point, it would be a good investment. But it sounds like what your saying is that they are looking to sell soon.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, I think there are a few misunderstandings in what I said. The Marvin over Deron thing wasn't about money - just ownership overruling what the GM wants. That's it.

As for trying to make money, my point as it relates to money is that you certainly want to win with your franchise. The point I was really making was that - you don't make money off of an annual profit for most franchises. Most of those guys are so rich that getting $10M at best a year off of a franchise doesn't mean much, but that if you hold it for 10-20 years and it was bought for 300M and then is worth 700M when you sell it - that washes out those losses over time at a nice profit. That's the money they want to make off of buying a franchise.

So, yes - I know ALL owners want to make money, even Arthur Blank. Some just go about it differently and the surefire way to make that money is to build a winning franchise. That surely will raise the value of the franchise. Blank gets that. That's another reason he wants to win - winning means more money. They work hand in hand. So, I'd agree with you on his motivation to win - I don't agree that it's to exclusion of losing money. I think he's trying to do both.

What I'm not saying is that they are trying to sell soon. Sports teams aren't easily 'flipped' for profit. So, it's always a long term investment - the Hawks are no different. I'm saying that they are just losing SO much money that even selling it wouldn't make sense b/c the value over the time of the ownership hasn't made them any money.

Here's an example - if you bought a house at 50K and were losing $5K a year on it for 5 years, then you need to sell it at 75K just to recoup your losses, but you'd hope to sell it at 150K to make it worth your while to have it those 5 years. Same for sports teams. I'm just saying that the value of the Hawks is still close to what they bought it for and they have these big losses that say - hey, it ain't even worth it to sell yet. We need the value to increase significantly before we do that.

That's what the court beef is over. AS says the value is low and therefore, less to pay Belkin. Belkin says the value is much higher and therfore his cut is higher. So, that's what's happening. I'd side with AS b/c they are pouring money out right now - they could go the Sterling route and just save loot, but then the value of the franchise as a losing franchise would stay low and eliminate the benefit.

The thing about Sterling is that he's making money with the Clippers, so that's why it's hard to get him to change. He's ok with taking the operating profit every year. Most owners wouldn't do that - they'd just take the big cut when it's time to sell. That's what I assume AS will do if/when they sell the franchise.

thirdfalcon said...

I see what you mean. It just seems to me that there are much better investments to make than a sports team. And if your are really hurting for cash it's even stupider.

For the record I wasn't trying to imply that Blank somehow wants to lose money, just that he is worth billions and he didn't buy the Falcons because he wanted to profit, he bought them to have fun and win with them. The same way no one buys a yacht to make money. Of course if he can make money as well he'll do that.

In any case I think you should run a sports franchise as efficiently as possible (along the lines of the patriots, or the spurs), and you should never overpay anyone unless you think your in a window to win a championship. Then you go all out.

Xavier said...

Just wondering. Does the Thrashers poor attendance and I'm guessing poor revenues affect what the Hawks spend in free agency? It would seem after two positive seasons along w/ playoff revenues the Hawks management would spend more freely.

thirdfalcon said...

I'm guessing yes, and that brings up another question, is that 30 million in losses for the Hawks and Thrashers or just the Hawks. and how does the revenue from other Phillups arena dates fit into this?

Unless I'm wrong that they own the arena too. Pretty sure they do though.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, the answer to your question is - I don't really know, but here are the things I suspect.

First, the same group definitely owns - both teams and the arena. Now, they do have a separation of state on those 3 entities, but at the end of the day - if Philips makes $1M, Thrashers lose $15M, and the Hawks lose $15M, then they lost $29M.

Now to your specific question - I haven't detected that the amt of money that the Spirit are losing is affecting the free agent market signings in a gross way. So, we may say no to an Amare deal, b/c that's based on not wanting to go over the luxury tax (and I think that's something MOST teams worry about), but it's not based on the Thrashers losses that are affecting the other side of the ledger. The Hawks aren't making money by themselves (I think the HAWKS lost 30M either in 2007 or 2008), but they do know that you can't get to a title (and future revenue boosts) on the cheap. You have to pay players. You can try to cut corners everywhere else (and coach is where we have done it - not a knock on Woodson, just saying he's cheap), but you can't cut corners on paying for players.

I think they realize that - now, to really do it - you have to have a GM who really is good at finding young talent through the draft or underrated vets to get you to a title. Unfortunately, that's super difficult to do. And once you do it, you have to then pay to keep it together, so I think the Spirit get that concept. Just don't expect us to overpay on many free agents like we did for Joe Johnson.

The main way to win a title though is to win the lottery when there is a transcedent talent available. Cleveland was where we were a few years ago and now they are making money and title contenders. When we get there, all the avenues are open for paying players, staff, etc.

Ron E. said...

It's good to have somebody in the Hawks blogosphere keeping honest those of us who are just happy to have the Hawks be a playoff team once again. Clearly this isn't a championship team that is being (re-)assembled barring a whole lot of injuries to other teams' superstars or a sudden and unexpected elevation of his play by Josh Smith or Marvin (should he re-sign). What isn't clear to me is how Sund could have taken the roster he had and the salary cap room that was available and turn it into a team that could beat out Cleveland, Orlando, and Boston for the Eastern Conference Championship then defeat San Antonio or LA in the Finals. Perhaps you could make a post outlining what you think could have been done to make the Hawks a championship team this year.

Xavier said...

Ron E. you mean w/ Woody as the coach? I'm gonna love to read ATL's response to this one. Actually ATL, could you post one scenario w/ Woody and one w/ a coach that was available this off season such as Flip or Eddie.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Ron E, you bring up an excellent post topic and I will strongly consider doing that for next week.

I think your comment is an excellent one and highlights something that I probably haven't been clear about. I do want a championship to come to Atlanta. I don't think we are going to get there in the next 1-2 years. So, what I am cheering or critiquing is whether today's moves can ultimately result in a championship. So, there's nothing I see that we can do to make that happen next year. That said, I think all of our moves should be made to that end.

So, here's an example of what I mean by that. Today, it's great to have Bibby or Crawford b/c it keeps us in playoff contention, but playoff contention isn't a goal of mine. Future championship are, so we could be the 8th seed next year with Ramon Sessions or Jarrett Jack and as long we played hard and learned a new system with them - I'd be more confident in our future championship prospects than getting the 4th seed knowing that we're going to lose in the fashion we did last season.

By the time, we want to be ready for a title - Bibby and Crawford will not be major cogs that we can count on to contribute to a championship team in my opinion. Teague may. Smith, Horford, Johnson, Williams all may.

So, when I'm talking about championship moves - I'm talking about what allows us to learn what we need to learn in order to win a title. So, to answer Xavier's question, the only path I see to us winning a title with Woodson is to somehow get 2 HoF talents who are strong leaders and future coaches who will steer the team while Woodson is in name - the coach. That's it.

In fact, I think it's important that I say something that I've said in previous blogs, so this doesn't become the bash Mike Woodson show. Mike Woodson was a good hire for the Hawks. He was a roll the ball out and just play coach. That's what those young boys needed. We didn't need a Larry Brown at that point to kill our young players with a bunch of systems and assignments. You needed him to run a simple offense and just let our players get experience and play together. So, this isn't about saying Mike Woodson shouldn't ever have been our coach. What I'm saying now is that taking us from good team to elite championship level team is above Mike Woodson's head. He hasn't shown that he knows what it takes to maximize our talent beyond where it is.

Similar to Dumars' move with Kuersten - he basically said we aren't winning a title, so no need to go get Phil Jackson to coach the team. We will be fine with this guy until we are ready to contend again. Then, we'll get another coach. That's what the Hawks need to do. The same way we should do with Bibby - hey, thanks for proving that having a competent PG is a good thing, now we need to get something better than competent, so that we can run pick and rolls, fast breaks, penetrate the lane, and defend the other end of the court.

thirdfalcon said...

Interesting thought on Woodson, and I wouldn't disagree on it.

But I would argue that Crawford could be a part of a championship team. That's an extremely talented guy to have coming off your bench. And I think any team in the league would love to have a guy like that in that role.

I also think that we are not ready to contend right now, but by the time we are, Bibby will be off the books, or a backup player. I don't see why signing Bibby was the wrong move, because a young quick point guard with high assist rates was simply not available.

You can say Ramone Sessions as many times as you want but it doesn't change the fact that the Bucks let Charlie V. walk so they would be able to resign him.

You can say Andre Miller is better than Bibby, but it doesn't change the fact that he's 33 and will most likely be a corpse by the time we are ready to contend, while Bibby could at least be a good shooter off the bench.

So unless your saying we should blow things up and tank for lottery picks, I don't know what Sund could have done.

He kept a competitive team together, and still has 6 millin left over to sign another big (or two)to add to our depth. He didn't mess up our long term financial flexibility. We don't have any contracts that are too horrible. And we have lots of pieces, and contracts to trade with should a superstar become available.

Seems like a good offseason to me, though I suppose not an ideal one.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Third Falcon, first - I'm glad my extra explanation on Woodson helps. Finally progress for us :).

Now, to the parts where I may think differently than you.

#1. I think extremely talented is going too far for Jamal Crawford when the guy doesn't play a lick (and I mean lick - like less than Bibby..lick) of defense on a team that's not a good defensive team. And the offense will make up for the defense in the regular season, but come postseason time - we'll be toast just like last year. Now, I have always advocated for a Vinnie 'Microwave' Johnson type for the Hawks, which I loved Flip in (though I hated Flip when he was playing point guard). So, I'd love Jamal Crawford as backup shooting guard-instant offense type (not point guard), but there's one problem - he's making $10M a year. That's about $5-$7M a year more than anyone pays a guy in that role. I'd rather have Flip at $3M and another big at $7M (can you say McDyess?). At $10M, we could have David Lee, Paul Millsap, etc. I'd rather have them than Jamal Crawford. So, don't get me wrong - I don't think Jamal is awful, but I feel pretty confident that at that price tag - no championship level team wants him. In fact, there isn't a championship level team where Jamal Crawford is better than the 8th man. And for us - he's probably the 6th man. And that's my point.

#2. Again, you asked me who I wanted - Jarrett Jack is unsigned, Ramon Sessions is still restricted. I'm saying - make an offer to them first before Bibby. Swing for a piece that you can grow with vs. a placeholder. If they turn you down, ok - you swung for the fences to build a team you can possibly win a championship with. My appeal for Miller over Bibby is that he's a traditional point guard who distributes - I'd trust him to actually push the ball and to command the respect to give guys the ball where they can be successful. Also, he plays defense. I've seen Bibby pass Josh the ball (or conversely NOT pass the ball to Al too much for my comfort). I know part of that is Woodson's fault and poor offensive design, but I want my point guard to distribute the ball instead of letting everyone create off the dribble. Personal preference...

#3. If we have a PG on the roster that would start over Bibby, then I'm all for it. If they groom Teague to start at Point Guard for next season (and he's good enough to actually do it), then I retract everything I said about the Bibby signing. BUT I'm going with the assumption that Woodson is not playing Teague. Until I see him play the rookie 10 minutes a game in real game situations, I'm not going to be convinced that he's going to be ready to play before Bibby dies on the court, which means some shooting, but nothing else from Bibby. Which means - we're not going to be getting better as a team b/c our most important position is getting progressively worse over the next 3 years instead of better.

#4 You're right - we have pieces. We had Law and Claxton and I'm not sure that our pieces got us as much as other people's pieces got them who are better than us. So, I'm not convinced yet that having pieces means anything. Similarly, you say we have $6M left yet - you fail to mention that we haven't signed Marvin yet. We still have those qualifying offers to Mario West and Solomon Jones (not sure why, but we did - both of those guys are completely expendable). And it looks likely that we'll have David Andersen to sign, so I'm not sure where this other big is fitting into our budget.

I hope I'm wrong, but I anticipate that we'll have the same team as last year with Flip 2.0. And if so, all my fears are gonna still be on the table. And that's that we didn't try to improve in the offseason, while other teams did.

thirdfalcon said...

It's actually 5 million and I'm including Marvin, assuming an 8 million a year contract, and also that Solo and Mario sign their QO's. It's a rough estimate, yes, but it's close enough to project imo.

Adding up all Bibby(6), Joe (15), Josh (10.8), Horford(4.3), Crawford(9.3), Evans(2.5), Zaza(4.75), Teague(1.5), Greasy(1), Solo(1), and Morris(.8) we have 56.8 million commited in salary next year. Add * million for Marvin (probably a high end estimate unless he just signs the QO) and you end up with 65 million. The Luxury tax is at 69.7.

So even if we sign Anderson, we'll still have 2 to 3 million for our final roster spot before we hit the luxury tax.

As far as Crawford goes, we could give give him 10 million, or we could pay Claxton and Acie 9 million, and then give Flip a 2 or 3 million per year contract on top of that. This way is cheaper, and Crawford is a much better bet to equal Flip's production from last season than Flip is, and he could potentialy top it.

It's fine that you prefer Miller over Bibby, but you have to admit that Bibby has better long-term value, and will most likely be cheaper.

Signing Sessions to an offer sheet is also fine, but what happens if Bibby decides to sign somewhere else while our cap space is up.

This way is lower risk with lower reward sure, but the risk is pretty high, and the chances are fairly high that we would have ended up with Jamaal Crawford as our starting point guard your way.

Also Bibby's Successor doesn't have to be Teague, Maybe Sesions signs his QO and comes here next year, or maybe we trade for someone. There's really no way to predict what will happen beyond this offseason, but at least we have options.

We are in a similar position as the Wizard's were a few years ago. We are clearly a second tier team that will have to make a big move to reach contender status. The Wizards locked themselves into their roster by overpaying their core of Arenas, Butler, and Jamison. They can't trade out of it, it's not good enough to win a championship, and injury ridled to boot.

Like the Wizards we are not good enough to win a championship now, but unlike them, we have the pieces to make a move that does make us good enough.

However we are still a very young team, so there is no need to rush and try to go over the top now if the right deal isn't available. Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

So again - we just happen to differ on approach on several areas.

1. The Spirit are cash poor - we aren't trying to spend up to the cap just for the heck of it. But I don't know anyone who is going to make our rotation available for $2-$3M. So, I'm unconvinced that we're going to be anything more than the same Hawks squad with the exception of Jamal for Flip and Acie and Speedy.

2. To be clear, I'd prefer Acie and Flip if we had a coach who'd play Acie. We could use Speedy's contract as trade bait for a player we can use.

3. You have a higher regard for Bibby now and in the future than I do. You also have a higher regard for Jamal than I do. I happen to value defense GREATLY. I think it was very much a part of the reason we sucked down the stretch and in the postseason.

4. So, I see Bibby declining much worse than Miller. Miller is not a defensive liability and can distribute, so I can't co-sign on your assertion that Miller is going to be worse over time than Bibby. I'm looking at the net worth and I think Miller's value nets out to be worth more than Bibby and in areas that we need help - defense and leadership.

5. As for risking losing Bibby, I'm ok with that. I think that's the point I'm making. I would rather us spend our time finding a better PG option - I would love to see us looking to get Hinrich (who the Bulls are dangling), Sessions, Jack, etc. and if that doesn't work - we'll just have to piece it together knowing that it's a role that needs to be filled. I would have actually liked if we had just determined that we were going to draft a REAL point guard.

Where you lose me is when you say that Teague might not be the point guard of the future. If that's not what he is, then either we should have traded the pick OR moved up to get a TRUE point guard that Woodson is forced to play.

I'm not asking the organization to over pay for anything. I'm saying that we don't need placeholder players. Bibby is a placeholder when we need someone to be playing his way into the position. That should have been what happended with Law. Then you just need to fortify the bench and interior.

At some point, we need to bring in players that have the potential characteristics of players who win titles. Titles aren't won on volume shooting and no defense.

Xavier said...

umbMy take on Crawford. I think sometimes a new situation brings out the best in players. And w/ Crawford I think Atlanta is that place for 2 things. 1st his contract expires in 2 seasons. So hopefully he plays great his 1st yr in ATL like Mo Williams in Cle last season and then he plays even better during his contract season. 2nd thing is he is actually on a good team as opposed to the Knicks and the Warriors. So I have to give Sund credit for that trade. I will admit I was initially surprised that we didn't trade for a big but who knows, maybe Sund was looking down the road to the trade deadline in 09-10 . If the Hawks get any feeling that JJ is not going to resign w/ ATL next summer no matter what, JJ could be that "piece" that is moved for better pieces. And just in case that happens Crawford slides in at SG temporarily.

Xavier said...

And ATL you don't believe in players as placeholders but you have suggested the Hawks should have done so in regards to our head coach. What's the difference?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Xavier,

Two things:
1. Jamal Crawford has been in the league 9 years and hasn't played any defense in those years. So, if you're including something other than scoring, and he does that. No problem. I'm just saying that the Hawks don't need a $10M backup shooting guard who isn't going to stop anyone. And they don't need a $10M starting scoring guard who isn't going to stop anyone.

I hope his inner defensive stopper comes out as a result of coming to Atlanta along with effecient scoring that still allows Horford and Smith to get touches in the interior and if it does - all bets are off on what I've said. That said, nothing in his resume says that that's going to happen. And that's why I keep saying - you guys are hoping Jamal Crawford is going to be something for the Hawks that he hasn't been anywhere else. I'm not hoping - I'm scared that he's going to be who he has been.

2. I think you're wordsmithing what I said regarding placeholders. I'm saying that we should replace folks who aren't going to get us to a championship with folks who possibly can. Bibby, Crawford, and Woodson fall into the category of pieces that aren't going to be a part of a future championship team.

What I said with regard to Woodson - at the time that we got him, he was a good choice. Now, he needs to be replaced with someone who can take us to the next level. I'd say the same with Bibby and Crawford. We can't always get all the pieces, but we should always be grooming pieces and establishing the style and identity that will get us there. Currently, nothing about the Hawks makeup says champion! Our leadership, our defensive focus, our offensive focus, our overall focus, our toughness, our rebounding..all are subpar! I'd be more optimistic if I felt like the organization was focusing on those things now, so that we're grooming the team with a champion's mentality.

Here's an example - last year, I advocated for a midseason pick up of Robert Horry. Horry's well past his days and may never play, but I felt that having him on our bench would be MUCH more valuable than not playing Morris, Gardner, Jones, or West. Having someone else to help the young boys (and even JJ and Bibby who haven't won anything) with the mentality necessary to win something. That would be an addition that I'd love to see - he's not going to win a title with the Hawks, BUT he could instill the things necessary to help guys to get there. Kinda like Lindsay Hunter for the Bulls last year - he's past his time, but I think his presence was awesome for Derrick Rose.

Those are the kinds of players that I think would be the appropriate placeholder players where we can pair them with a Sessions or Jack or Josh Smith to help them bone up on the things necessary to win titles.

thirdfalcon said...

The Hawks salary would be almost exactly the same as last season, and cutting payroll would look bad. So while they may just sign some minimum contracts and call it an offseason, they have reason to at least pay what they did last year.

If we sign Anderson, he would figure to make our rotation, but if we don't we would have 5 million. We could sign a few players for that much, Drew Gooden among the most talented. But trading Childress for Kurt Thomas would also be a possibility.

Sund has made several good bargain signings that worked out and brought a something that his team needed throughout his career, so maybe he can strike gold with someone that's not on our radar.

I've had extensive arguments with Rbubp about Acie, but there is a strong possibility that he's not any good. We'll find that out this season though, since he's playing for the best coach a driving, pace pushing point guard could ask for.

Jarret Jack is a nice player but I don't see him being Bibby's caliber. He's really just another combo guard.

As for the argument of Bibby vs Miller, it's pretty clear that guards that shoot the 3 ball well age better than penetrating guards.

It's unusual that Miller has been able to play at such a high level for as long as he has. Maybe he can keep it up and maybe he can't. However eventually he will decline and once he does, he won't have any skills to fall back on.

He won't be quick enough to stay in front of guards (and he's never been all world on defense in the first place), and he won't be able to beat anyone off the dribble.

Bibby on the other hand will still have an NBA shot at 40. So at least he's giving you something that has value. Don't knock Bibby's leadership either. He has lead teams to much higher places than Miller ever has.

I'm not someone that devalues defense. I'm the kinda guy that think the Patriots were always better than the Colts, because their Defense was much better. Defense is the key to winning championships in all sports.

But we aren't gonna win a championship this year so lets stay competitive and retain our flexibility in the meantime.

Where you lose me is that you assume that there are point guards available that have the characteristics to win a championship. Maybe there were, and maybe there weren't. but Miller wasn't the answer, and Sessions wasn't available, and i'm skeptical that any of the point guards past Rubio in the draft were all that good.

In any case, thinking that you have to make certain moves or your wrong is a good way to screw up a roster. You say that they had to get the point guard of the future in the draft, but why? How do you know there was a point guard that was that good in this draft? And why do they have to get it this year?

What if the second coming of Ishah Thomas becomes available next year, only we can't bring him in because we got some guy that isn't a great point guard, only we don't know that yet.

This isn't science, it's art. And you need luck to get to a title. The Lakers got lucky that Fisher had to go back to LA to take care of his daughter, and that Chris Wallace gave away Gasol for nothing. The Celtics the year before were lucky they couldn't find a deal to ship out Pierce before they found one to bring in Garnet. The Spurs were lucky that David Robinson got hurt the year before Tim Duncan entered the draft. The Heat were lucky that three refs went insane during game 5.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't be trying to win a championship, just that it's not like flipping a switch and saying "ok! we're gonna be contenders now!

If your reach exceeds your grasp than your gonna end up in ruins. But if you wait, stay competitive, and wait for the right moment to go for it, you can accomplish great things.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, I would say that of the names you mentioned - I can see Gooden or Thomas in a Hawks uniform. Gooden for cheap talent, Thomas for toughness and championship mettle.

I do want to say something about Acie. It doesn't MATTER if he's not good. Your argument is that he maybe didn't play b/c he's not good. Look, Royal IVEY played significant minutes for the Hawks - he's still in the league. I've watched Acie's limited minutes and I'm going to say again - there's no reason he shouldn't have played backup PG minutes. Period. So, he could suck at Golden State next year and that wouldn't vindicate Woodson. Confidence, style, etc all contribute to how good a player is and can be. He has to play. You don't practice during the regular season, so it's not even - oh, he coulda looked bad in practice. It was painfully obvious that if after the first mistake you make in the game - you're back on the bench, then it's hard to play with any confidence. That isn't rocket science. I've watched Acie come in score 8 pts, get 2-3 dimes in 5 minutes and then sit the rest of the game, then not play again for 4-5 games.

So, your arguments about Acie Law are hollow and next season won't change it. I don't really care about Acie that much, but I certainly wish we just played him enough to prove the point one way or the other. It's what scares me about Teague. He's not a natural point guard. If he's gonna play PG in this league for the Hawks, he's gotta PLAY to learn the game - that means you will have to let him make mistakes.

Sorry, but I heard you all those other times, but that Acie situation stuck in my craw all season. There were several instances over 2 years where Woodson would have served himself well by playing Law and didn't for reasons unknown. Even if he sucked - a good coach would have said what he needed to do to get minutes. There's no indication that that happened. Acie's blog, Sekou's blog, and Woodson's communications indicate as much. That's a sign of poor coaching.

Sorry to delve back into Woodson, but it's why I wish he wasn't our coach anymore. I have very little trust in his ability to work with the talent we have. Imagine if Phil Jackson stuck Farmer, Shannon Brown, or Ariza on the bench b/c they made mistakes - they wouldn't be champs.

As for the players I want, I guess this again all is based on what you think is value. I'm not a total numbers guy, but PER favors Sessions and Miller over Bibby and that doesn't even account for defense. So, while there seems to be this Bibby love, I'm still trying to figure out why you think he's so valuable. I think we overvalue him a bit b/c we went so long without even an ounce of good point guard play.

You may say Jarrett Jack isn't Bibby and I'd say - well, on the offensive end, yes. On the whole - I'm not so sure. I think he's a vastly superior defensive player. Bibby's a better shooter. Jack's a better penetrator, so we may be talking about a wash, but a better fit for a team with a different philosophy. I'm going to acknowledge that if we run the same offense, then Bibby's your guy, but if we're going to run the same defense. It's still a wash.

So, I'm not hearing you guys talk enough about defense in your arguments to make me comfortable that you're giving a full accounting of what's ailed the Hawks.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Oh, and sorry, but Bibby hasn't led one team to ANYTHING. He was on a good Sacramento team, but let's not act like he was the leader of those teams. Webber, Divac, Peja, etc were the leaders of those teams. He was a young point guard and I give him his credit, but leadership is not what he provided them and it's not what he's providing us. Not when he's on record as considering Josh Smith one of our 3pt weapons.

So, I get it - you don't like my choices at PG. No problem - I think that's going to be a pattern with us :). I'm saying - I don't like Bibby to be that guy that's going to give us anything more than shooting and we NEED more than that from our PG position right now. So, I'd rather groom the next Rondo (which means I'd turn over the reins to Teague NOW or getting a player who is a tougher, defensive minded player and I'll sacrifice some shooting for that).

You keep saying Sessions was unavailable, but that's just not true. We haven't tried to get him and after the trade we made - we don't have as many chips, but we still have some pieces. I'd love to see JChills in a package that nets Sessions. We disagree on Miller's ability, but you also are forgetting that I'm including the fact that I think he's going to provide better leadership than Bibby, not only that Miller will never be worse at defense than Bibby.

I'm not going to play the 'what if' game b/c if the next Isiah was available - how are you gonna get him - you think he's in the draft or you think you can sign him. I'm not sure we can do either for various reasons. I don't think we even need the next Isiah - we just need a good all around point guard (and I don't think Bibby is a more than a shooting guard who brings the ball up). We need to spend our Isiah scouting and money on our interior.

I disagree with your art/science analogy completely. The Lakers have tinkered their team to death. You're right they got lucky with Gasol, but guess what - they kept burning up those phone lines. There were lots of players that they could have chosen - they happened to pick players that fit their system. Other team's trash - they fit into their system. You can speak to all kinds of lucky scenarios, but you support my point - you keep working and tinkering - that's what got the Pistons their title. Same for Celtics, etc. Once they got their window, they didn't go and trade for Jamal Crawford. They picked players that fit a system that was proven to yield a title if they played it right.

That's what I want my Hawks to do - to pick up some players who don't run COUNTER to winning a title. Bibby, Crawford, and Woodson all strike me as counter to that process as presently constituted. We aren't going to learn how to be champs learning, watching, playing, and being coached by any of them. I think I said we're 1-2 years away from contending in the East. Kinda like Portland...Portland has had most of the pieces in place, but keep on tinkering to get the one that gets them over the top. We don't even have most of the pieces, so adding ones that won't help us get there is a waste to me.

rbubp said...

Wow.
What an outstanding discussion. I feel like I got primer on all the stuff I wish I'd known a couple of years ago while reading Sekou's blog.

Anyway, thanks for the depth.

My two cents on Bibby--yeah, we overvalue him, because he fits Woodson's "concept." And he leads more than Joe the Silent. I see your point, Atl_Hawk, all of them...we are playing the status quo card. It won't get us a championship, just like expecting somehow turning Acie Law V into a point guard will work after we couldn't do it with Acie Law IV.

But here's one other thought...now matter how this season ends up, it's all on Woody. He just wanted to Sund to bring everyone back; well, done. We get better, it's all peaches and ice cream. We don't, and Woodrow is the one holding the bag, just when his contract is up. I think it's excellent general managing if you aren't sure about the coach and you really want to put his ass right on the line.

Don't let the door hit you on your keister on the way back to the D League, Woody.

thirdfalcon said...

I absolutely does matter if Acie sucks, what doesn't matter is if the Hawks proved to you that he sucked. That won't change no matter how many random words you capitalize.

Royal Ivey never would have played if he was on the Hawks roster last season. And when Ivey did play on a much worse roster, he played about the same amount of minutes.

If Acie is as bad as I suspect he is then he should not have played over Bibby, Joe, and Flip. They were all better players than him, and they should have gotten minutes over him. You mentioned PER, well Acie's wasn't even over 10.

As a matter of fact, not playing him could have helped his trade value. At least this way everyone can blame him sucking on Woodson, and hope they can turn his career around.

Woodson is not gonna trash a player like Acie Law if he can help it because they wanted to trade him. Saying he's not good enough to fit into our rotation hurts his value. It's not like Acie is gonna write bad things about himself, and Sekou hardly ever trashes anyone.

Trever Ariza, and Shannon Brown helped the Lakers, but Farmar played terrible last year. Sometimes letting a player play before he is ready works, and sometimes it won't. It depends on the player.

I getting sick of saying this but Sessions has not been available since the Bucks decided not to match Charlie V. It's pretty clear that they want him back, and unless your ready to offer him something crazy like 10 million the Bucks are gonna match.

I wanted Sessions as much as anyone so I'm bummed out about it too, but if he's not available he's not available.

I've said what I want to about Miller, but I'd like to hear your response to my argument that shooters age better than penetrators.

I'm not in love with Bibby, I just think he was the best option this season. I think he figures to be better at the end of his contract than Miller will be at the end of his, and less expensive during it. This is in addition to him being a better fit in the iso-joe.

He is a placeholder, but he's a placeholder that allows us to remain competitive while we figure out if Teague is the answer. And if he's not, he gives us time to explore other options. In the meantime at least the point guard position won't be a major need.

And calling Peja or Webber a leader is laughable. Divac, ok, but both those guys shrank in big moments. In fact Bibby was the only constant All-star caliber player on that team, as both Webber and Peja missed significant time to injuries during the Kings run. And it's funny, but I never hear about Peja's leadership on the Hornets, or Webber's leadership o the 76s. In Webber's case he was a cancer on that team if anything.

And honestly it's pretty ridiculous to talk about leadership as if it's a measurable stat unless your close to the team.

I think the Hawks need to address their Defense with the 5 million in cap space they figure to have by signing a big that rebounds and blocks shots.

Really if your goal is to win a championship, then you are talking about minor things when it's more important to be in position to change major things.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I hear you, but I'm still puzzled by what GM Sund doesn't see NOW. I've been watching Woodson for 5 years and it wasn't until he got players when I actually said - ok, let's see how he does and I'm aghast at what I see.

So, if Sund is good at what he does, the only explanation I'm giving him is - the Spirit said...you are gonna give him an extension and also said, the only thing we need to discuss is either an extension or lame duck. I don't think the Spirit even let him think about firing him, just like Billy Knight. If that's the case, I'll accept that Sund knows what he's doing. If NOT and he decided to keep him on his own, I'm gonna start my 're-hire Billy Knight campaign'. And I never thought I'd say that...

thirdfalcon said...

I know Rbubp. Frankly I'm exhausted

rbubp said...

Atl_Hawk, I know I'm speculating wildly here, but I think it sets up a rationale for attracting the next coach. You don't want to look like you got rid of a guy who increased his win totals and then you rode in and didn't listen to him and then got rid of him. THIS way, a rationale is there for firing a coach from a winning team--"we have reached a plateau and we need a new direction in order to get to the next level"--and the next coach buys into that because it isn't BS. Woody got his chance with both GMs and no one can argue that he didn't.

So the Pistons got Kuester, and maybe that's fine for now. But Dumars is getting a rep as no friend to coaches--something like six different ones in his 10 years as GM--and Avery Johnson walked because of it.

We're going to want an improvement over Woody, and I think Sund is setting up a nice way to get it, money notwithstanding.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

First, I'm glad to say we have a new record on posts.

Second, I'm sad to say - we will just completely and totally disagree on Acie Law IV. Period. Let's not waste any more time on that. You think he sucks - I don't. I think he has talent and I personally think Mike Woodson ruined him. Several people that I KNOW in the organization agree. You can ruin a talented player in the NBA. I'm not sure if you're aware of that. I can run a long list of players who didn't get any burn on a team and flourished elsewhere - uhh, starting with Joe Johnson in Boston, Billups jump out there off the top of the head.

But I'm not trying to make him the next coming - I'm saying he would have helped our team. I'm certain of that. Not to make you retort, but Mario West got more time than Acie Law. Mario West is a completely AWFUL basketball player who hustles. I'll bet everything I own that Law is better than West, so I certainly don't think Woodson was playing his BEST players - he had a problem with Law. That's obvious. Was always obvious and it ain't the first player where that was the case.

There aren't many things I know for certain, but I know this - Acie Law could have played 10-15 minutes for the Hawks and we still would have won 47 games, but I'm not going to argue about this with you anymore, but you are wrong about Woodson and Law. Period. I can point you to many articles and comments where Woodson threw Law under the bus during the season - everyone in the NBA knew that Woodson didn't like Law, so I'm not sure why you feel like this is even really worth the debate. I've already explained why Law didn't play well - you wouldn't do well either if your boss let other players make mistakes, then you make a mistake and you don't get to perform until 3 months later and are asked to do things you haven't done with a team that you don't ever play with.

To make the assertion that if a player never plays, so he sucks flies in the face of about 20% of the players in the league.

Sometimes, a coach doesn't like you and sits your ass on the bench regardless of how good you can be. I've convinced of that and you disagree - let's leave it at that. Not being dismissive, but nothing you say is gonna convince me that Woodson didn't completely, totally, absolutely f'd up that situation for many reasons.

Your point about Farmer is EXACTLY my point - you know how you know Farmer sucked b/c he PLAYED!!!! And guess what - he didn't suck so much that he didn't play in the postseason despite that suckage. Law didn't play even with our injuries and the fact that we were getting our asses kicked by double digits in 7 of our 11 postseason games. Shoot, he barely played when we won by large margins.

Derek Fisher sucked most of the postseason, but Jackson stuck with his player, showed confidence in him and won a title because of it. I'm saying that showing Law that you have ABSOLUTELY no confidence that you're worth playing, even in blowouts, says more about Woodson than it does Law.

I'm also sorry that you keep repeating this fact about Sessions, but it doesn't make sense. Just b/c you make a QO doesn't mean you can't make an offer and it doesn't mean you can't make a trade. So, I'm lost on what you're talking about. We don't know what it'll take - we didn't think that Gasol could be had for a sack of egg whites did we? The Bucks are cutting salary - have been for a minute and a trade might do the trick.

You do realize that Marvin has been involved in trade talks. The same guy who was offered a QO, so I'm not sure I understand why you're sick of making a statement that simply isn't true. It's true that they could match him, but it's also as true that they gave him the QO b/c they didn't want to lose him with no chance to match. It may have nothing to do with whether they are planning to absolutely sign him no matter what the cost.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Anyway, I see we'll always be at odds - which is cool. If you don't see leadership as necessary and measurable - you didn't watch what Billups did for Denver. And I'll just end with it's laughable that you believe that Bibby was the All Star constant in Sacramento when they were contenders. You can talk about injuries or whatever, but Webber was not only an All Star then - he was All NBA those 2-3 years when they were contending. I'm not even sure what you're talking about there and I don't even like Webber.

Oh, and I'll take Miller over Bibby. I'm not sure if I have an answer for your having a shooter vs. penetrator. For this situation, I want my future point guard whoever it is - Teague or whoever, learning from Miller and not Bibby. That's pretty much all I got on it. Again, I see value in having Miller on the roster beyond his play, not so much from Bibby.

Xavier said...

I'm O.K.w/ Sund's moves so far. He moved 2 players who would not have played under Woody for a superior player that will get playing time. And we still have major players that can be moved for other major players, speaking of Marvin, Josh or JJ. And if Acie is a bust in G.S. He would've been a bust in ATL no matter how many minutes he would've played under Woody. And if Acie is at least a starter in this league then Woody was terribly wrong. We will see. Do I wish Acie would have received more burn? Yeah I do. But i do know Woody had to win games more so than develop Law. And I'm not sure I don't blame him when he basically trying to save his job and was working for a GM that wanted him gone. And Woody didn't have the luxury of putting Law next to Kobe, Gasol, or Odom.(Oh yeah Farmer did play D-League his rookie season and I wish the Hawks could have done the same w/ Law) But Woody has been in the league over 30 yrs. so he knows something. And ATL you keep saying Jamal Crawford can't contribute to a championship. Is there really a difference between Crawford and Eddie House? And why does the point guard HAVE to be our leader? Maybe Bibby hasn't led any team to anything. But has Miller? Not trying to be funny but has he ever been out of the 1st round?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Here's the thing Xavier. I get it - you like some of Sund and Woodson's moves. I understood that from the beginning.

I'm saying to you that your assumptions aren't ones that I would make. I'm not mad that Sund traded Law and Claxton. I am saying that I would preferred a player that was better for our chances to go deep into the playoffs rather than getting Flip 2.0. So, the value for me is poor, but you don't agree. Ok! Got it.

No need to keep repeating that point - it's not going to make it anymore desirable to me.

Saying we have other players to move doesn't really matter to that point b/c if we're getting a similar value for future trades, then I'm saying I'm skeptical.

Again, with Acie - my point is that you don't invest a lottery pick in a player, then don't play him for two years. Period. You can make whatever argument you want to that and I'm going to say - what I've said...Woodson sucks for not playing the guy. You and I disagree on that. We disagree on Woodson's ability to get what he can out of players. He sticks to who he trusts and everyone else be damned. I think elite coaches try to get what they can out of their players and sometimes sacrifice wins in order to accomplish that feat since they realize the playoffs is the proving ground, not 47 wins. If he didn't realize that he needed Acie to be AT LEAST the backup to save bibby and JJ's legs for the postseason - he's an idiot. So, I've often said Woodson tries to win every battle with no plan for how to win the war. And that's why I think he sucks as a coach. So, you and I disagree on how to get what talent is there in Acie (or that there is any talent). So, let me define a bust - a bust to me would be a guy who can't give you at least 15 good minutes a night. I think Acie can do that TODAY. And just b/c Woodson didn't play him isn't proof to the contrary to me. I watched Boris Diaw go from bust to freakin' 6th man of the year as soon as he got away from Woodson where his confidence was DOO DOO!

So, my point is - neither one of us knows. I do know that it was a failure of the coach to not play the guy to figure out what he had. Period. Playing him in blowouts and every 5th game is not my idea of figuring out what we had. Esp. when we didn't have a backup point guard (save any desire to say Flip was the backup point guard BS).

So, Acie doesn't have to start to prove my point about him having a role in Atlanta. And that's ALL I'm saying. Nothing else has to be said on this. I know your point, heard it, locked it in.

I will agree with one thing - I don't blame him for not playing someone who he thought he may lose his job. And I've said that in a blog twice, but that doesn't make me believe that it wasn't poor, not only for Acie, but b/c it's not the first time Woodson has sat someone with a skill.

So, I'm sorry but those 30 years aren't benefiting us much if that's your argument. Particularly when most Woodson supporters never can identify what coaching characteristic he's good at. They just say - he's won more each year and he must be doing something right.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Final note - you gotta stay apples to apples. So, yes - Jamal can contribute to a championship team if he's on a team with 3 Hall of Famers, 2 decent big men, a future all star at point guard, and he's coming in as the 9th man like Eddie House. Oh, and when he's not making $9.3M as that happens. Under that scenario - YES, Jamal Crawford (or Eddie House) can win a title.

Also, no the point guard doesn't have to be THE leader, but since we don't have one of those leaders - I'd like for it to BE the point guard, so that someone can correct the offensive scheme on the fly when our coach can't. And no Miller hasn't won squat, but I do know that he's a better all around point guard than Bibby right now and I'd rather have him grooming Teague on offense and defense. And we don't have to debate it - I think that's been done. I think I get it - you're cool with the team as is. Point taken. I, on the other hand, think it's gonna have us regressing - we'll see who's right.

Jesse said...

Wow, welcome to the new nature show, "Mating Habits of Hawks Fans" where you will get to watch two fans futilely trying to woo each other over. Haha!

From being a Hawks fan for almost three full decades now, I can clearly say that at least we all agree on one thing, we want our Hawks to win regardless of how we do it. And, in the end, that's the point and a good thing. It just so happens that at this moment in time, there are two different thoughts on how to accomplish that. On a macro level, the two differing schools of thought seem to be Pro-Woody his current system, or Anti-Woody and we need to change the system entirely. On a micro level, the intricacies change a bit, but the points remain.

Each side can easily pull information to support and validate your thinking, while in some cases, that same information can be used by the opposing side to support and validate their points. It happens that way sometimes and almost always neither side bends and we all end up repeating ourselves constantly.

Myself, I'm firmly entrenched in the Anti-Woody and we need to change the system camp. He's done nothing to prove to me that he has directly affected the results in the win column over the years. The style he has imposed on this team doesn't fit the players and is lethargic and constraining to their natural athletic talents. So, I believe we need a change on both fronts, coaching and system. I'm not going to dive into details because everyone has debated the points well enough through the comments over the last two posts. I'm with Larry and he has covered most of everything I would have stated anyways, so no need to rehash.

Either way, my point is that we all have our own opinions of how we believe the team should be run, who should run it, and what we think the outcome will be. Neither is right nor wrong since, and that's probably how it will stay. In the end, if the Hawks win a championship as currently constituted, then praise be to Woody. If we start regressing back to the early 2000's, then to hell with Woody.

Also, please try to keep the snide comments to a minimum. There's no need for it just because someone doesn't think the same as you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, my internet connection goes down for a couple of days and the discussion goes in a new direction, good points are made, and someone says that there is a bromance between myself and Hawks Luv.

I think Jesse eloquently stated some things that I've been trying to get around to in a Socrataic way. And I love his take on the Macro level of this argument.

Now, I don't want to be a pro-woody guy. I don't think he's a great coach, and deep down I don't think we are gonna win a title with him. However I do think that many good things have happened for this franchise under his watch, and to just cut ties with him because you don't like him could threaten all of them.

See I'm also all about winning championships, only I know we weren't gonna win one next year no matter who we signed or who was our coach. Sometimes you have to take a step backward in order to take steps forward.

You can't handle the coach like you handle the players. If for no reason then so they will respect the position. If the Hawks were to fire Woodson after what was by any measure the most successful season the Hawks have had in over a decade, wouldn't that send the message to the players that the front office thinks the coach is irrelevant? That all of the success they had last season was in spite of the coach, and only because they are so good?

Sending that message doesn't seem like a smart long-term move to me. And it doesn't seem to put the next coach that comes in in a good position succeed either.

I like the Hawks offseason so far because they managed to keep together a competitive team, and they didn't kill their long term flexibility. Depending on how things look a year from now, we'll be able to either add more personel to our current system or scrap it and bring in a new one. But it just isn't the right time to scrap it now.

So I'm not sure we are gonna be a better team next year though I do think it's a possibility. From a long term standpoint, however, I think we have done the right things this summer.

As for Sessions, Hawks Luv could be right and he was available for a trade. In fact I bet we talked to the Bucks. I have no proof of this, but it makes sense and there is no proof that they didn't.

That's not the kind of thing that would get out unless both sides thought there was a good chance of it happening. But overpaying Sessions or giving up several good players in a trade would be a bad idea without knowing how good he will be.

And at the end of the day I think the Bucks know what they have in him. A good young point that they can have at a reasonable price. They will keep him unless someone blows them away with an offer.

Of course I could be wrong. The Bucks have certainly made worse trades.

And lastly, Acie. We don't know how good (or bad) he is. And again what we know is completely irrelevant. But there is a strong posibility that he is bad. It's not like he would be the first bust taken at 11, where good players are almost an exception.

But that is something we get to find out this season.

thirdfalcon said...

Don't know why that said anonymous, but it was me! thirdfalcon!

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Every time I think I'm going to agree with thirdfalcon is says something to derail me...

And here's where it goes - here's where you lose me, you are telling me that we keep a coach that deep down we both don't think will be the head of a championship team (and in my case, I think it's less about talent and more about system and strategy), so we can wait until we are 'ready' and then get a new coach. So, then we need to wait until we have the players for the new coach's system and strategy.

You see - I don't think coach is plug and play. I'd rather have a good coach and then see what players fit that good coach. If we got Phil Jackson and then found out that Josh Smith or Acie or whomever didn't fit - I'd trust that they sucked. So, the point here is that I don't believe we're not learning anything about our team that has to do with championships right now.

We're learning that our talent is now good enough to make it to the playoffs. That can be done with a bad coach. So, the message that would be sent to the players if I'm the GM is - we want to win a championship now and no one is exempt from that pursuit. So, Josh don't think that scoring 18pts and playing lazy defense and shooting 3pts will keep you in a Hawks uniform or whatever.

I fail to agree with you on anything about Acie, so let's just stop bringing him up. Same for most of the why we need to keep a coach that we don't think is installing a system that would result in a championship.

Anyway, I don't believe that we've had a great offseason at all. I think we just signed players who wanted to be here while other teams added pieces to teams already better than ours. Not really a victory to me and I'm still unsure of how you think we've set ourselves up for better days in future years. As far as I'm concerned, we're just delaying the inevitable.

thirdfalcon said...

Well I can't disagree with you more on your belief that you should build around your coach. Simply because players are more important than the coach in the NBA, and they know it. A good player can screw over a coach much worse than a coach can a player(exhibit A Josh Smith).

This is a players league, and has been since they started handing out 40 million dollar contracts to the likes of Marcin Gortat. All but 3 or 4 of the players on a roster make more than the coach. The best players have more power with the front office than the coach and everyone in the league knows it.

The exceptions are coaches with lots of championships or or coaches with years of both past and recent success, but I don't see anyone like that available.

This isn't college where coaches can yell at the players and have major authority over them. Players adapt to the system there because coaches have more options in who they recruit.

You get as much talent that makes sense playing together as you can, then you get a coach that fits with them, or rather you find a coach that's good enough to adapt his system to the players to get the most out of them.

That does not mean "plug and play", it means you handle who your coach is carefully.

Your way you'd have to rebuild every time you get a new coach, which is every other year in most places. And the way it would be here if many people had their way.

You can say you want a championship now, but there is no way that is gonna happen. And there is no way we would have beaten the Cavs, even if we were at full strength and had the best coaching in the history of the NBA. Our talent is not in their league.

That's really a subjective thing to say, so I can't prove that. I can only say that you among a miniscule amount of people if you really believe that our players were capable of pulling that upset.

I guess your saying that we should of put up more of a fight, but what does that mean? You think we should have won 5 games? 6?

Either way we are not a good coach away from competing for a champion, We are a couple of really good players away. Since there we none available this year. We kept the team competitive, and did so at a price that allows us to be in the hunt when one of those players does become available.

Not a great offseason imo. But a good one when you consider that we could have been the team that gave Ben Gordan and Charlie V. 100 million dollars.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I could write a long winded reply, but let me just put this in bullet points.

1. I didn't say build around a coach nor did I say it wasn't a player's league. I do believe that coaches matter and that you should look for every opportunity to upgrade a team's coaching when the current coach's methods and strategy will not maximize your team's talent. You continue to harp on things like 'we weren't going to be beat the Cavs and we won more games than the previous years' and that's not gonna cut it. If it's talent only, then why did the Bulls almost beat the Celtics, why did the Rockets almost beat the Lakers, why did the Magic beat the Cavs?

2. I disagree that there aren't coaches that I'd trust our team with - Kurt Rambis, Brian Shaw, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, etc are all people I'd take over Woodson. I think they have been players and around coaches that can get the best out of a team. In some cases, I'm speculating, but I'm speculating based on the fact that it can't get worse than Woodson with regard to Xs and Os, motivation, and leadership. I don't think he's good at any of it. In fact, I think we're losing games because of his inability to play to our team's strengths (which is something we disagree on) and that's our frontcourt.

3. We disagree on whether we kept this team competitive. If by competitive, you mean we can fight for a 5-8 seed in the Eastern Conference, I agree. If you mean, making the 2nd round and actually playing games that we are in in the 4th quarter with possibilities to win, then no - I don't think we've done ONE thing that will result in that happening and THAT'S what being competitive to me is. So, again - I'll keep repeating - we haven't addressed ONE thing that ailed us last year - not defense, not passing the ball, not penetration, not toughness, not leadership, not rebounding...NONE of those things were helped. Go look at our rank on rebounding and defense and then, tell me what we did to make us better in those areas.

So, I'm not ready to give Sund a passing grade on this offseason. Maybe you and he are saying - this is a season where we just want to sign our core and if that's what you wanted - fine. I'm simply saying that I wanted more. I wanted less 'no defense playing guards at the cost of $15M collectively next year' and more rebounding, more defense, more leadership and toughness. I would have loved to see us making bids with that money to Millsap, D. Lee, McDyess, Sessions, etc. Players we can build around...

So, this doesn't need a retort b/c I already know you don't agree. You are cool with competitive, you are cool with status quo. I'm not. I'm not cool with competitive when it means come playoff time - it'll mean we're going to lose by 10+ every time we get beat. I'm not cool with watching Teague not even play all season b/c Woodson is afraid he's gonna get fired if a rookie makes mistake and costs him wins vs. getting him ready to contribute like a Courtney Lee did come playoff time. I'm not cool with watching Joe Johnson play a gazillion minutes b/c there are only 3 guards in his rotation.

NE way, I feel my Woodson angst rising up, so I'll just stop there. You already know we would do it differently. I'd bring in a coach and I'd bring in some players that actually address our problems. We've had an opportunity to do the former and the latter and we haven't done it. Doesn't look like a good offseason to me, but I guess if getting Pachulia and Williams in the fold was your idea of good, then case closed. For me, I have higher aspirations b/c I know how this movie ends. If you want to watch the horror ending again, so be it, but I'm not signing up for that, not without kicking and screaming first.

rbubp said...

"I'd rather have a good coach and then see what players fit that good coach"


"I didn't say build around a coach"


Hmmm.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

The point being - I'd rather have a good coach than a bad coach and try to have my players overcome the bad coaching.

So, I'm not saying you START with the coach and then add players. I have already communicated that Mike Woodson served his purpose those first 3-4 years, but that now that we're at the stage of being closer to contending than being in the lottery - I'd like to have good coach to see what we can do with our core and then plug in other players (the Arizas, Shannon Browns, Pietruses) that put you over the top.

LS

Xavier said...

ATL when did almost count for anything in sports? The Bulls lost to the Celts. The Rockets lost to the Lakers. But since you think the Rockets almost won does it say more about the Lakers coaching or the Lakers players that the Lakers went 7 games w/ a Rockets team w/o Yao(after game 3 I think) and McGrady? Just curious.

And also I don't see what Van Gundy or even Mark Jackson has done that would give you a sense of trust. Besides take the reins of a championship caliber team from Pat Riley(well Don Nelson) what has he done? He was a failure in Houston. Period. Now I think he is a great analysist along w/ Mark Jackson but doesn't sway my opinion of him not being a good coach if and when he comes back. The same w/ Mark Jackson but I don't think I could ever trust a guy who never was even an assistant coach.

And I don't think the Hawks went stat quo this summer. I think they feel that this young team will improve and get better. And in the process they will improve on passing, defense, bench play etc. Due to themselves, Woody or both. I mean this is a team that won over 45 games and won a playoff series. So something is working. And I believe the Hawks could have gotten lets say a McDyess, Sessions, Millsap etc. You've mentioned Miller numerous times also. But at what cost? The Hawks played it safe and that was the move to make this summer.And I know you mean make good smart moves but besides Miller who would you went after? Make an offer to Sessions, which if the Hawks did, they would have had to overpay Sessions an amount that Bucks still would have probably matched since they released villanueva.
Is Millsap really worth the money when you have Horford? Or even Lee for that matter. And to get Rasheed or McDyess(who wanted to go to champ. contenders) you're going to have to overpay which is a bad move long term.

It's OK for the Hawks to play their role sort of speak. The key is to improve which they have done and be in position to make a move to get them closer to a champ. which I think they can cause most of the contracts on this team are movable.

And I expect a better season than last. Do I expect a Finals appearance? Not yet. But I do see potential for great things. And when was the last time a Hawks fan could even say that?

thirdfalcon said...

And we do still have the mid-level exception and the space to use it. I'd have to think that we'll get one of Drew Gooden, Ike Diagu, or Leon Powe. Powe would be my choice and now that the Celtics have Rasheed, he should be available.

But all three would address our frontcourt depth, and rebounding. We were 10 in the league in defensive efficiency last year, so it's not like we were inept on that end. Although I don't think you can ever be good enough defensively, I don't see any reason why we will get worse.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Xavier...I'd love it if we could quit trying to cherry pick items to make ourselves right. I am challenging myself not to do that to any of you and I'd love it if you'd work on that for me.

I think the body of messages detail my philosophy and if you disagree - I'd like for you to define why your philosophy is better vs. just throw out platitudes and more questions without answers. And I say that respectfully.

Now, I'm going to give you credit for the fact that I think you watch and follow NBA basketball. It's rare that any basketball team just comes out of nowhere and wins a title. So, it is a progression and so almost means a lot. Every great team COMPETES even when they lose. We didn't do that.

Now, I would say that the Lakers almost losing to the Rockets would be a combination of the Lakers players and the Rockets heart, players, and coaching and I would base that on the fact that the Lakers coach has proven without a shadow of a doubt that he's an elite coach.

But this isn't even about specific coaches and trying to act like I know who is the best coach - I'd have to interview them, do some research, and make a decision. That's what the GM's job is. I think I've laid out the ways that I believe a new coach would make the Hawks a better team. I'm not going to yield to the belief that a better system wouldn't make us better. So, if I'm of the mindset that our current coach is NOT going to make us better, then I don't know why we aren't looking for a new coach.

I've heard your arguments about specific coaches and that's fine. If I was a GM who got to do the research, I might agree with you. The main point is still Woodson isn't the answer, so if you don't agree, cool. But using the argument - who else would we get? I'm saying - change always has a risk associated with it. In this case, I believe the upside to the change far outweighs the downside and that's b/c I don't see any benefit to Woodson's coaching. I can't see our team getting worse with damn near any other coach. I could be wrong, but I am willing to make the bet I'm not.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Also, I will say that I agree that the Hawks probably don't believe that they went status quo. I'm saying that. I've already said what I think was working - we have young players who've played together and are beating the vast number of bad teams in the league. I've even documented it in many blogs. It's not hard to win 47 games in the NBA when you have talent. Go and check the records of these teams we dominated.

Where we struggled was when we played better than average teams at home and the road and in the playoffs. My whole premise is that our weaknesses will continue to have us losing to those teams. My argument isn't that we're going to go back to 30-52 with status quo. My argument is that we'll be looking at the result of this season could be the same or worse - 1st round loss or 2nd round sweep and that's not acceptable to me.

If your argument is that you're ok with that, then we fundamentally are arguing two different points. In that case, you can be happy and I can be upset with the same result. I want to see us make moves that can potentially make us better than those ahead of us. I don't agree that this was the year to play it safe. I think signing Bibby and getting Crawford is very risky. Neither play defense - you guys continue to just ignore that fact. You ignore the fact that we could have signed Flip for cheap and gotten someone to help us where we needed help. Backup shooting guard was not our biggest need.

So, let's just see what happens. I don't think our moves made us better. I agree that our players could get better, but I think their improvement is limited by our coaching philosophy. Anyway, you're arguing things that I'm not - I don't have the player and coach that we definitely had to have. I do know that I see players moving at prices less than Jamal Crawford. I see Artest for the price we paid Bibby. I KNOW we could offer the MLE to Sessions and that might get him - to me, it's worth the risk. I wish we tried - I'm not impressed at all by our offseason, but I'll be man enough to admit if I'm wrong.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Final comment - don't get caught up using def. effeciency in a vacuum. First, we were 11th (which isn't meant as rebuttal - just clarification of fact) and that number is highly aided by the fact that we have one of the slowest paces in the NBA. If you look, you'll see that Miami is 3rd in defensive effeciency. I don't think anyone believes Miami is a defensive stalwart, but their pace is the slowest in the NBA. Less possessions, less points, lower def. effeciency.

Only 5 teams were outrebounded worse than we were last season. And I think at the naked eye, you could see that good teams didn't have a problem beating us offensively last year. The numbers bear that out. So, let's not take the numbers and allow them to draw false conclusions. The Hawks are not a good defensive team.

This is a point that other Hawks bloggers have explained to great effect. One of the things that is misleading when we talk about the Hawks defense is that Woodson often touts that if we don't allow 100pts - we will win, but that's not a good metric. We have one of the slowest paces in the league (that Woodson half court offense that we excel at vs. the running game that our athleticism can't handle presumably) and therefore, the pace dictates that teams won't score 100pts, not b/c we're stopping teams on a large number of possessions. So, anytime a team scored over 100pts, he'd say it was bad defense and anytime they scored under 100pts, it was great defense. Well, you can argue the first point, but not the second. If a team doesn't score in limited possessions - that doesn't mean that we played great defense. I watched SEVERAL games last season where the teams were just off and missed open shots (the Laker game at home was a perfect example). Now, we played good offensively, but the Lakers just missed shots, so we won. Of course, the post-game commentary from Woodson was - we played great defense. Go figure...

The Lakers and Cavs would be examples of teams who actually played at faster paces, but STOPPED teams on defense and the rankings and numbers bear that out. So, I say that just to highlight that when faced with good offensive teams - we didn't stop them. Just a thought...

thirdfalcon said...

I don't think you understand what defensive efficiency is. It's points scored per possession, so pace has nothing to do with it.

My point is that we were a better than average defensive team last year, and there is no reason to think that will change considering that Crawford is replacing a player that isn't exactly a defensive stalwart, and we should be adding another frontcourt banger to help with that rebounding problem you mentioned.

I think you get to worked up about stuff Woodson says. He's just trying to talk without saying anything of substance.

Every team that ever played basketball at every level has games where shots just won't fall. The Hawks had plenty of games like that too. As a matter of fact forcing them to take those jumpshots instead of driving to the rim is part of good defense.


Comparing the Lakers and the Cavs to the Hawks is like comparing Led Zepplin to Whitesnake. We just aren't on their level yet.

Now before you put words in my mouth, and say that I'm ok with not being on their level, I'll tell you I'm not. I just know that it takes time to get there, it took the Lakers 5 years and they started with a player who is at worst the second best player in the league.

And it's not really my buisiness but I think that was out of line what you said to Xavier. I didn't think he was cherrypicking at all.

BTW do you still think we are gonna fall behind the Bulls, Wizards, 76ers, Pistons, and Raptors?

thirdfalcon said...

I meant to mention this but teams with good point guards torched us last year, but I don't think I'm covering any new ground there.

Probably the biggest thing keeping us from being an elite defensive team is Bibby. The constant switching on screen and rolls is fine when it's Joe switching with Josh, or Horford switching with Marvin. All of our other starters can guard multiple positions.

The problem is when players call for screens just to get Bibby on them. That was where many of our defensive breakdowns came from.

The other major problem was teams with two good offensive guards. Obviously you don't want Bibby guarding anyone with a pulse, and you can't always hide him on the Mario Chalmers of the world.

But to be 11th in Defensive efficiency is fairly impressive considering we have such a big hole at the 1. It would be interesting to see what kind of defense we could play with an elite defensive point guard.

rbubp said...

Larry, I recommend just writing another post about Woodson's quotes with the media or defensive efficiency or how often non-elite coaches win championships or something. I mean, this was an interesting discussion but there are some other very interesting topics that could be focused on and the energy will be re-directed and your sanity saved, i hope).

I mean, it's your blog and you take the time to write it, but there's really good stuff in here. Help me understand how important really coaches are!

Jesse said...

I know this is a few comments behind, but if we had not resigned Woodson before last year or fired after this year, I would say the message would have been that Woodson was ok for getting us out of the mire that we had been in for almost a decade, but that he isn't the answer for getting over the hump and that it would be a sign of the transition from playoff team to championship contending team. But, that's my opinion.

While pace is derived from possessions, ORtg and DRtg are both tempo-free stats because they are based on per 100 possesions. However, a slower pace does mean less possessions and in both ORtg and DRtg, possessions is defined from an equation that accounts for FGA, FTA, OR, and TO (depending on where you look, the equation for what defines possessions seems to vary), so in a very miniscule way, pace does inherently affect those two stats.

Crawford's DRtg for last year was ~117 while Murray's was ~109 (again, depending on where you pull your numbers from that is), so that's a six point dropoff, which may not be something to get overly worried about, but it is enough to turn some of our close wins into close losses, all things being equal of course. What might be more troubling and worth more of a debate/look at are their career ratings compared to last year and whether one believes each will replicate last years numbers, or come closer to their career numbers. Flip's career ORtg and DRtg are 98/109 repectively, whereas last year he was at 104/109. Crawford sits at 105/111 for his career and last year he was at 110/117. To me it seems like we are sacrificing more defense just get a more consistent shooter. Personally that's a loss because I didn't think we had problems scoring at all. If you are constantly one of the slowest paced teams in the league yet keep getting blown out when you lose, then the problem isn't your offense.

But this is just one part of the puzzle and by stepping back and looking at the offseason as a whole, I really think you get a better understanding of what is happening. It's common knowledge that Knight tried firing Woodson on at least three different occassions. I have to think that Sund knows this as well. The extension offered to Woody was doen so by the ownership while we technically had no GM (I'm assuming that by this point Knight knew his days were numbered and this was done even with his attempts at firing Woody). Knowing these things, I'm starting that Sund is playing the CYOA strategy perfectly. Woody claims that if he has the same ingredients he will get a different result so by Sund doing just that he is essentially putting all blame back onto Woody and, by association, the ownership. If so, that's a pretty damned smart move on his part if things don't work out this year.

Jesse said...

(Had to break my post)

Also, as I have stated in some of my other comments recently, I'm going to go ahead and accept the fact that Woodson is the coach for the entirety of this season, or at least try to, and start thinking of things within that realm. As such, what would be really beneficial to this team are some O&D coordinators, or assistants, or whatever they call themselves in the NBA. Woody preaches defense like he is some kind of mastermind and he is most definitely anything but that. If Sund could spend a mil on someone who could bring a real defensive scheme to this team I think a lot of things would be much better, especially the win column. The 'you must switch on everything' play absolutely kills us and it's so predictable that opposing teams are designing offensive sets just to take advantage of it. That's the reason guards seems to have bloated stats against us constantly. Maybe if we had someone in charge of the defense other than Woody, we might actually see our team ADJUST once in a while.

I could ask fo the same thing for our offense as well because I really do not think this team should be playing such a slow paced offense. This team is at its finest and most exciting when running a faster style of offense. It doesn't have to be a full-fledged fast break offense, but running this non-stop ISO really is stagnant and depressing at times.

So, since coaches don't count towards the cap, maybe we can get a few. Just a thought really.

thirdfalcon said...

I would love to see the Hawks hire offensive and defensive coordinators, and I always thought it was weird that NBA teams don't do this. Football coaches wouldn't try to go into a season without coordinators, and baseball managers wouldn't try to handle the batting coaches' duties. So why is basketball any different?

Is it a coincidence that the most successful coach of our lifetime has an offensive coordinator in everything but title in Tex Winter?

Xavier said...

Quick comment. Why are people comparing stats of Crawford and Flip. If I'm not mistaken Crawford is/was a starter and Flip came off the bench. Therefore we could assume Crawford's defense rating Jesse quoted could be worse than Flip's due to players Crawford is playing against. Guarding Ray Allen and guarding Tony Allen is a big difference. Maybe I'm looking at this Crawford trade wrong. But I feel we got a player better than Flip and the fact he will play primarily against 2nd units is a win win for us.

And ATL you asked for my philosophy. In regards to what exactly?

And I don't know about you guys but I'm liking the discussion so far.

Jesse said...

Sure, Flip may have come off the bench, but he was still playing a lot of his minutes with our starters and against opposing first teamers. Plus, Crawford is taking Flip's place/role on this team, so why wouldn't you compare them?

Like I said, I'm not necessarily saying that this was an omfg-horribad trade, just that for a coach that preaches so much about team defense, looking at the numbers Crawford replacing Flip contradicts it. On the other hand, we will be getting a better, more consistent scorer (again, looking at the career numbers side-by-side). So, maybe bringing Crawford off the bench will improve his defensive numbers slightly, but personally, once you look at six or seven years worht of data, he is what he is and we should look at that and realize that's what we get with him.

I really just wanted to throw the numbers out there for everyone. Food for thought as you will.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Ok, I step away from Hawks blog for a few and we got more discussions going on. Hawks love to each of you..

Here's some Str8Talk...
1. ThirdFalcon, first, I love your passion to sound like you're teaching me something about the Hawks, but I hate to reveal that Pace is the average # of possessions a team uses each game on average, so I think pace has everything to do with the point regarding def. eff and you not using it in a vacuum to make a point about the Hawks defense.

If you have more possessions in a game with the same def. eff., then the team with a faster pace will yield more points. My point was that if a coach's pronounced metric is just to hold a team under 100pts and you're the Warriors, then that's a great goal. The Warriors lead the league in pace. If you're the Hawks and you're 24th in pace, then maybe 100pts isn't an indicator of how good your defense is and that's what I'm saying about the Hawks. It's not a defense that will win championships and from a guy who is supposed to be defense minded - that's not a good thing.

2. I don't see your rationale regarding Jamal Crawford's defense. Crawford has perennially been regarded as one of the worst defenders (along with Bibby) in the league. Now, you can make the assertion that you hope he begins to take it seriously, but I don't know how you can disregard that coming in - he's been horrible at defense and that that would make it plausible to assert that our defense will likely get worse with Crawford. I think you're using some fuzzy math to make Crawford feel better to you. I don't discount that things could change, but nothing in his history supports that.

3. You continue to puzzle me with your argument that coaches talk to the media without saying much of anything. Again, this is where me doing research comes in handy. I watch other good coaches when they deal with the media and how they use the media to their advantage with their players. Woodson has shown me on numerous occasions why he's a bad coach simply by saying things that numbers or the naked eye don't back up. Phil Jackson doesn't say Kobe played well when he shoots 15 for 40. He doesn't say we were warriors on the boards when they get outrebounded. He doesn't dismiss poor play when they beat the Kings by 1 at home. He doesn't say it's just one game when you lose to the Clippers at home by 30.

You can say what happened - hey, we got our ass kicked b/c we were selfish or we didn't play ball. You don't say publicly - I'm going to play Acie Law more..followed by 5 DNPs. So, you regard that as trying not to say anything. I understand not giving away the company secrets, but good coaches can talk to the media and be honest. The best ones use the media to motivate the team and just frankly speak to the issues they want addressed. I'd be ok with saying nothing, I'd be ok with the truth, but I'm not ok with lying. Mike Woodson has lied about what's happened so many times - it's not even funny anymore.

All that said, it's only about 2% of why I think he's bad, so don't worry - I ain't sweatin' it too much. All his statements do is confirm what I see. Nothing more than that.

As for Xavier & cherry picking, everyone's entitled to an opinion, but I don't think I was out of line - this is str8talk, guys.

Anyway, I'll see what else was said, but I do believe that right now I'd probably pick the Hawks to be 6th in the East (behind the 76ers and Bulls...will revisit the Raptors and Wiz at training camp).

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

oh, and I'm working on another blog with an offseason update. I'm debating whether or not to write something about Woodson b/c I think I've said everything I need to say about him in several blogs last season. I need a new angle and thought for a new blog.

I think the last thing I said was that I think it was classless to try to throw Acie under the bus when he was traded, so on top of everything - one thing I never said about Woodson was that he was classless. Now, I don't really have anything that I can say positive other than - I'm glad he was here during his first 3 years - after that, I'm ready for him to take his walking papers.

My expectations of a coach are:
1. Overall Team Def/Off Philosophy
2. Player Management
3. In-Game Strategy
3. Motivation/Focus/Leadership

That's what I expect from my head coach. I don't think there is one area where I believe Woodson to be even average. The Woodson supporter would say - well, we've won more games each year, so something must be going right, though they can't point to the things you get a coach to do as what he's doing right. So, my conclusion is - they are winning in spite of the coach and there's certainly precedent for that happening in the NBA many times over.

The excuse of - we weren't going to beat (fill in the blank) doesn't replace the fact that we know today, right now, that our team isn't fulfilling its potential (even if that potential isn't a title this year). We know that we'd be better off if we played more up tempo, if we played better fundamental defense, if we had a better half court offense philosophy during the game, and definitely down the stretch. Shoot, we'd be better for the short and long term if Woodson just sat Joe Johnson down for a specific amt of time (like all other stars) no matter what the score of the game is. It would help develop the bench AND keep Joe fresh for the end of games and postseason.

So, I'm done writing blogs about Woodson. My overall assessment of Woodson is that he coaches each game like a battle without any concept of how to win the war (a championship title). And I don't blame him - he's trying to win as many games as possible to keep his job, so I understand why he won't trust young guys who need minutes now the way he had to his first 3 years. It makes sense. I don't think it's a championship strategy, but I do see the value in it as a 'keep your job' strategy.

That's why I blamed the Spirit at the end of the season. I said we should either fire or extend Woodson. I'd prefer fire, but I see the current situation as the worst possible option. Woodson as a lame duck coach looks like a recipe for disaster (more than it already was if he had a 3 yr contract). So, I'm a realist about this - I don't think Woodson is close to good, but I also am not a zealot to the point that I won't say what I think is best for the team.. And if they are sold on Mike (and I think they are), they need to give him a contract. Otherwise, say goodbye to seeing Teague this year.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Jesse, you make great points about Sund's offseason strategy from a human nature, save your job perspective. And from that perspective, who can blame him?

This is why I have to qualify my posts - I am only looking at how to make the team better without all the CYA stuff baked in. I don't see how if he wanted to win a title in the next 2-3 years - he'd make the moves he did this offseason w/ regard to Bibby mostly, but also QOs to Solo and Mario. With the economic climate and the fact that we're not going to be a major player next year in the 'claim your mega-star' sweepstakes of 2010 (which I'm basing on the Spirit's financial trouble), it's hard to see where this 'get players on the cheap' strategy takes us unless you get young, cheap guys and develop them.

Particularly, when the pieces we've gotten aren't filling the holes you have to know you have. When you need interior depth, yet you trade away interior depth (I'm going to make the assertion that sight unseen, David Anderson has to be more valuable to us than Mario West) - that's troubling.

So, I hear you Jesse, but it doesn't change my nervousness about the upcoming season. Anyway, I've blogged about the OC/DC idea and actually broached it with Sund a few months back - he brushed it off the first time, then when Mark Bradley asked him - he said it was a thought, but not likely.

So, while that would be my second best option to firing Woodson, it's not going to happen due to finances. We're stuck with Woodson and that's something I've already come to grips with.

@xavier - we're comparing Flip and Crawford b/c Crawford will be assuming Flip's role, so I'm highlighting whether the new Flip brings us more than the old Flip. I'm less concerned about the output vs. the value for the output. Flip deserved a raise, but he's getting $2-3M max. If you are going to make a trade, let's trade for what we need badly, not what we need kinda. That's where the distress in this trade for me is - I don't care if you replace Flip, but at $9.3M, I want interior help, rebounding, and/or defense. Not a Flip replacement and possible 2010 trade chip (we haven't done very well with trade chips in my opinion). Flip wasn't just playing vs. 2nd units, so my fear is when we have him playing real 2 guards and he's getting roasted for 20-25 pts vs. his 15-17pts he gives us.

Xavier said...

ATL Look at it like this. Flip can be replaced w/ his 2.5 million salary w/ someone who provides defense and inside help. Crawford directly replaced Law and Speedy(Unusable parts here and probably Golden State also). A better big may have been available but I can't recall a decent big man being traded this offseason for a Law & Speedy package.I think a combination of Crawford and Diogu for example is better than a trio of Flip, Speedy, and Law. And I think Sund did well in his days in Seattle trading and dealing for free agents. His weakness was drafting busts.

thirdfalcon said...

Exactly Crawford is less expensive than Speedy, Law, and Flip together, for what is at worst equal production with the potential to get better production. And it's not like Flip is a defensive ace, so we aren't losing much on that side of the ball.

And we can add another interior player for as much as the midlevel on top of that. We brought back our core yes but we are adding to it as well. We will be deeper next year.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I've understood your logic from the very beginning. I simply would have preferred that we get not spend $9.3M plus this mythical MLE on backups that would have us spending about $15M on 2 players. I'd rather trade for 1 big man and sign another. You guys seem fixated on the fact that we couldn't have done better when we traded these guys before the draft and as I recall - lots of trades and signings have happened since 7/1.

We could have spent $2.5M on a comparable part (Murray) and then, trade for a better part AND get 2 parts that actually do make you deeper. I don't think Flip was the problem last year, so replacing him with Jamal even at a better offense (keep saying - backup SG minutes) and servicable defense doesn't fix our weaknesses. You guys are making your argument and I hear it, but I don't buy it. I don't buy that Jamal Crawford as a backup SG fixes ANYTHING. He could end up as a better Flip and to that I say - SO WHAT?!?

Here's last year's team:
1st Team - Bibby, Johnson, Williams, Smith, Horford
2nd Team - Evans, Murray, Pachulia, Law, Jones
3rd Team - West, Gardner, Morris,
Hunter, Claxton

Here's this year's team:
1st Team - Bibby, Johnson, Williams (assumed), Smith, Horford
2nd Team - Teague, Crawford, Evans, Jones (assumed - QO made), Pachulia
3rd Team - Hunter, Morris, West (assumed - QO made), X, X

Again, let's make sure we're debating apples to apples. I'm not making any assumptions on who we are going to get - I'm saying right now that I'd prefer to have the flexibility to trade Law/Claxton for a better big man since better big men or a real PG is what we need.

I'm not sure where you think the dollars for this MLE and all of that is coming from, but I'll wait to see if you're correct. The way I see it - our real money is being spent on Crawford and anything else we get is on the level of Mikki Moore. I'd rather we have someone replacing Jones and West, but that's not happening. My math has us replacing Murray ($1.5M) and Gardner's (800K) salaries and I don't know who we're getting that's going to move Solo to our 3rd team where he needs to be. I also don't see a backup PG (and no, I don't think Teague is getting any PG burn - not in the Woodson lame duck year).

So, there's some holes in your theory in my opinion. fill 'em in fellas.

thirdfalcon said...

My assumption on where the dollars for the midlevel is coming from is that I don't believe that we are cutting payroll by 6 million this year. That could prove to be false, but the Hawks increased their revenue last year(even if it wasn't enough to make them profitable) based on ticket sales and jersey sales, etc. that come with increased fan support.

I know much of my argument for why we could have a better team next year hinges on that assumption. But we've already gotten into the finances of the team, and it seems to me that the ASG has a vested interest in having a competitive payroll.

We have about 63 million in payroll committed next year(assuming QOs are all signed), and about 6 million before we hit the tax line. We can either sign someone now that will improve our rebounding and maybe give us some inside scoring, or wait till the trade deadline and try to get a better player from a team looking to dump salary to improve our team in a more meaningful way.

Ike Diago is a good candidate that we could get for lower than the midlevel as is Drew Gooden. Either would go a long way, even as a backup, in bringing our rebounding to respectable levels.

You keep saying that we could have gotten better than Crawford for Speedy/Acie, I'd like to hear some names that you think would have been possibilities.

And can you at least admit that in a vacuum, it's better to be paying Crawford 9.3 million than Speedy/Acie/Flip 10? And what is the benefit to have the latter on our team that isn't at least as good as having the former.

And you keep saying that Defense was a major weakness last year, and yet we were 11th in points per possession. Given that is not elite, but it is better than most. What other stats suggest that our Defense was not up to par?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@thirdfalcon
I can only say Diogu (on his 4th team) may do something and still say - he only barely moves the rebounding, interior depth, and toughness needles.

Your assumptions about the Hawks finances are lofty. The Hawks have lost $10M+ every year since the Spirit has bought them. Last season, they gave away almost 6K tickets each game - the most in the NBA, so any assumption that they increased revenue in a significant way is false. The only thing that increased were home playoff games, which made them a few million, but that's it. So, they may reach into their pocketbooks to try to keep pace, but not based on the things you assume is making them money. So, just know that this ownership group is still in a financial mess and nothing should be assumed with regards to spending.

To your question, you are projecting something I didn't say. I'm simply saying said I'd prefer to have Law/Claxton as chips to get things we need. Crawford is a scorer at a position where we drafted someone and have a star. So, he isn't a need for us. So, I am not going to play that game - I do know that having them available to trade with the teams dumping salary for say Sessions or for Warrick in Memphis (Lord knows Memphis is the gift that keeps on giving) look possible, but I'm not trying to be the GM. I like the thought of trading parts you're not going to play, but not for a player that doesn't address your problems.

I think you're overvaluing Crawford's net worth to the Hawks. I won't even admit that in a vacuum that it's better to have Crawford than those three guys. Looking at the off/def combo that Crawford brings is still Flip to me. Flip had a better shooting percentage and defense and they scored at the same per minute clip, so I'm not sure why you think Crawford is better. So, I'd rather have 3 guys than 1 esp. when we still don't have a backup point guard.

I will continue to talk about defense (and I've explained this before). I don't buy your 11th in def. eff. stat as the answer to whether we're a good defensive team. I've already explained why. Listen, we need to be an ELITE top 5 defensive team (blocks, rebounding, def. shooting percentage, steals) b/c of the rate at which we score and we aren't close to that defensively. No good teams are having no problem scoring on us. There are a lot of bad teams out there and it skews the numbers.

I think you miss the points I'm making regarding moving us to elite status. We can sign Crawford and be 6th seed and lose in the 1st round. We can be 15th in def. eff. and still lose in the 1st round. We can stay with status quo and win 45 games next year. It won't mean anything with regards to whether we've made ONE step toward being a better team come playoff time. We can keep Woodson in all of this and STILL SUCK COME PLAYOFF TIME. That's all I'm saying. I'm not saying that some of what you're saying might not come to fruition. Nothing you've said, though, is addressing our problems. We get beat on the boards by good teams, good teams are scoring at will against us, our inside guys are outmanned in the style we play.

So, do I need to give you a player so you can say that he wasn't attainable or wasn't going to help us in order to say - I wish we used Law/Claxton/ and even Williams to fix the problems we have?

Do I need to give you more stats to prove to you that we didn't play good defense in the 2nd half of the season and the postseason? Our rebounding was 23rd, the rebounding differential was 25th? Do I need to give you a stat that shows how often with my own eyes I've seen players drool as we do that switch on every screen, so they can get Bibby on them in order to score? It may not show up in your def. eff. stat, but it sure showed up against the Heat and Cavs. It was just sad to watch. Why do I have to debate that with you?

rbubp said...

Just to clarify, TF was right about Defensive Efficiency, "the number of points a team allows per 100 possessions," so the pace is factored OUT of the stat.

And the Hawks were 12th. The Hollinger chart that places the Hawks 11th (that you may have been using) is playoff teams only. Miami was 11th, NOT 3RD. Look at who is at the top on defense:
Orlando/Boston/Cleveland/Houston/San Antonio/Los Angeles/Charlotte (wow). A who's who of the best teams but that Charlotte was 27th in OE; regardless, it illustrates that to be an elite team DE is a crucial, possibly indispensable indicator (OE less so)--and 11th is not good enough.

http://www.knickerblogger.net/stats/2009/d_de.htm

On offense we were 10th. Our biggest issue(s) is/are, duh, defensive and offensive rebounding (24th and 19th).

thirdfalcon said...

I was using Basketball Reference. And I think that Defensive rebounding is a big part of Defense, so if we can improve our rebounding, our Defense will benefit. If we bring in someone for twenty minutes a game that has a 17% rebound rate, that will help us in that category, and help us in others as well.

ATL you have me all wrong. I want to talk with you, but it's hard because you treat it like a battle. This isn't about proving that your wrong and I'm right. This is about bouncing ideas of of each other so we all get a better understanding of the Hawks, and to just enjoy the conversation about basketball.

If you have a good idea, or a good take on something, I try to give you props for it, but I'll try to do a better job of that in the future.

The reason I asked you for specifics is because you seem to have some ideas about what we should have done, and you shouldn't be afraid to state them. I'm certainly not trying to trap you to make you look dumb.

thirdfalcon said...

That includes Rbubp, Jessie, and Xavier, and anyone else that wants to join in as well.

I wrote that in, but I didn't like the phrasing, so I deleted it and forgot to put it back in ><

rbubp said...

You know, TF, Bret at Hoopinion has pointed out that the rebound problem can be solved in part by using Pachulia along with Horford more often. THat was a nearly non-existent combo last year, which is one of the reasons many of us get so frustrated with Woody...questionable use of the players he does have.

thirdfalcon said...

Yeah Josh is a huge part of the problem with our rebounding woes, arguably the biggest. He really needs to step that part of his game up next year.

That's part of the reason that it's so important to get another big that can rebound. presumably he would push Josh to be better in that area.

Jesse said...

Larry, by no means was my assertion of Sund intended to dissuade you from your original points of being nervous about the upcoming season. Trust me, I'm pretty much with you the whole way, hand and foot brother. Like I said, recently I've given up on anything changing positively for this team and switched to trying to process things within the realm of what they are currently, and that means the team still has Woody as the coach, we aren't going to defend, and we are going to run ISO-Joe non-stop. So, I tied taking a step back and looking at the whole picture since Sund has arrived and realized that, with the knowledge that Knight wasn't allowed to fire Woodson, he has to be making these moves in order to position himself to favorably in the future.

And I want to state again that while ORtg and DRtg are tempo-free stats, they are only so to a certain degree. Yes, it is true that they are based on per 100 possessions, but possessions is defined as an equation that uses many different stats such as OR and DR, and those stats are based on pace, because the more possessions you have (an increased pace), the more likely you accumulate those stats. So, like I stated, pace does affect ORtg and DRtg, even if it's a very small amount.

Woodson's rotation is laughable. It always has been. It's as if he has no feel for the pace of the game or a pulse on this team. When we need a timeout to help stop the opposing teams momentum, he never calls one and we end up down by 20 in less than five minutes. When we are rolling, he calls a timeout killing a no-contest fast break. When players are on fire, he pulls them because of his 2-foul-and-sit rule. When guys are clearly not hitting their marks, he lets them shoot endlessly. His game and player management kills me.

Also, being a Hawks fan for nearly three decades now, I understand some fans mentality that what we have now is better than what we've had for a while. I get it. Some are simply content that we are winning and in the playoffs again and for them, that's fine. But for me, I'm not content. Standing pat and doing the same thing and expecting better results is not something I want for my team. Woody and this team were exactly what this franchise and fan base needed five years ago, but it isn't what will get us to the ultimate goal, a championship. We need someone who has a better understanding of players strengths and weaknesses and how to manage them properly. We don't need a complete overhaul of the players, but we definitely have holes to fill that I didn't see getting addressed this offseason. Making moves to beat bad teams doesn't sate me. We should be making moves to beat the teams better than us, Boston, Orlando, and the Cleveland (and possibly Chicago and Philly now). That's how you win championships, by doing what it takes to make you better than those in front of you, not those behind you.

Also, wth 70+ comments?! We clearly have too much time on our hands. And...

...NO I IN MY NAME TF, GD&*(^&*%gh890y9io!!! Haha.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Jesse, 100% agree on all accounts!