Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In My Dreams

It's been asked by a few that I reveal my inner most Hawks Dream, so I finally have some time to identify what would make a 'status quo keeping' Hawks offseason that makes me feel as though we are headed for a first round loss in the playoffs (i.e. playing one of the East's big three in the first round).

So, here's the Hawk Str8Talk version of a Dream Offseason** that could keep the Hawks in contention for 2nd and 3rd round playoff possibilities

** This would be using the remaining free agents available (obviously, this would have been a more useful and impactful blog after the draft, but before free agency began).

Dream Hawks Roster
PG - Ramon Sessions (via a sign and trade of Ramon Sessions and cash for Mike Bibby)
SG - Joe Johnson
SF - Lamar Odom (if everyone else can make a play for Odom, why not us - shoot, if we have $8M for Marvin Williams over 5 years - I'm cool with giving 4 yrs and $8M/yr for Odom)
PF - Josh Smith
C - Al Horford

BPG - Jeff Teague
BSG - Flip Murray (Re-sign)
BSF - Maurice Evans
BPF - Hakim Warrick (yes, he is limited offensively, but he's a significant upgrade to Solomon Jones)
BC - Zaza Pachulia

3rd String Center - Randolph Morris
3rd String PF - Othello Hunter
3rd String Big Man/Vet/Leadership Glue Guy - Joe Smith
3rd String PG - Free Agent Guy who can play defense and handle the ball
3rd String SG - Free Agent Guy who can shoot and defend at the league minimum

Coach: Jeff Van Gundy (would take a shot at Kurt Rambis or Mark Jackson)

Now, this would solve several issues for the Hawks. First, there are enough players for a 11 man rotation. The top 10 plus Joe Smith. This would give the Hawks enough players to actually use competent players in the event of slump, matchup purpose, or injury. Currently, we are unable to make adjustments b/c we only play the same 8 players each game. This provides some coaching flexibility. Obviously, the first benefit would be from a change in coaching philosophy, but even if we didn't change the coach. You'd have to cater some of the offense to the strengths Sessions brings to the table in terms of penetration & defensive presence.

The move to bring Odom on board provides a veteran presence, better rebounding, the same 3 point range, and versatility on the defensive end. Sure, Odom can be inconsistent, but inconsistency is Marvin Williams' middle name. The second team is also stronger - we'd have a PG to groom into the position, but with a player in Sessions that he'd have to take the position from. Additionally, Warrick provides a shot blocking and athletic presence that's a better than Solomon Jones. If Warrick doesn't provide that presence - you have Joe Smith waiting in the wings for PT as well as providing a solid locker room presence to assist the new coach (or old coach - as it were).

This, people, is the Hawk Str8Talk dream offseason team using players that are actually still available this offseason. Now, let's go make it happen, GM Sund. Leave any bargain PG/SG options in the comments section...


CoCo said...

You're going to have to explain the fascination with Ramon Sessions. I've never heard anyone besides you mention him. I'm only half serious about that! LOL
Convince me!

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

when I studied him, basically - he's the anti-Bibby. He penetrates, dishes the rock, can finish at the rim, get to the free throw line, and plays defense. Plus, he's 23. So, if you want a PG that we can grow with our core vs. hoping Teague turns into a PG or that we can sign a new PG when we're ready for a title run (if we are in the next 2 years ) who is an actual pure PG, then here you go. If I'm the Hawks - I would have thrown money at him, let Bibby walk, and then drafted Blair.

While some seem to think he's unsignable - the Bucks are already paying Jennings and Ridnour, so I think he's worth our MLE and the thought that the Bucks won't match.

Anyway, the only thing Bibby has over the guy is 3pt shooting ability. Sessions is not a 3 pt shooter and he's not even going to take 3 pt shots. So, he may be a bad fit for the current offense, but since I'm of the mindset that we need to junk the current offense anyway - this would hopefully accomplish that as well when we'd see that running an up-tempo offense and not relying on 3pt shooting would fit our strengths. You still would have Joe and Marvin to kick the ball to on the first team and Crawford and Evans on the second team.

So, I think the downside of a lack of a 3pt shot is not that big of a deal.

Xavier said...

Nice dream team. But one question. Don't you think w/ Odom the Hawks would actually have to overpay L.O. to even get him to consider coming to Atlanta. It's rumored L.A. had an offer of $9 million per season for 3 years that they took off the table. Would you overpay to bring in L.O.?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Xavier, I don't know that you have to overpay. I think Odom is worth 9M and at this stage - if Odom wants the most money on average - he'd just sign with LA. I think he wants years. So, I'd hope we'd hit 'em with the here is another guaranteed year at 8 or 8.5M and here's a better core team than the Heat.

1. If (in my dream sequence) we didn't have Crawford on the books and/or didn't pay Bibby 7M, we could increase the Odom offer to be close to LA's offer. We are looking at 8M for Marvin, so if we needed more - ok.

2. Our core group is better than Miami's. Yes, his boy and a much better player and front office is in Miami, BUT this is where you'd hope that guys who play here would do exactly what Wade is doing - RECRUIT THESE GUYS. I don't know one NBA player who doesn't think Atlanta is a great city. Not ONE! So, I'd hope the sell job would be that Atlanta's awesome (and definitely comparable to Miami for an African American athlete, though we lose on the tax tip) and our team is better than Miami's.

So, I'd hope that those things would have some sway. Bottom line, when I see guys like Belicelli going to the Raptors for scrap metal (like George) - I just get real concerned at our lack of foresight this offseason. Anyway, while there are folks who think we're going to sign a big - I keep looking at what's left and there's truly not one name (except maybe Warrick and a healthy Powe) that makes me feel like we're going to rebound better or defend better next year no matter what happens. So, I'm just praying we swing for one fence this offseason. Odom would be a mighty cut.

I said I'd reassess by Aug. 1st. That's Saturday...things aren't looking good for me changing my mind about this offseason.

Anonymous said...

You think that group wins a championship, GM guy?

Anonymous said...

Or are you admitting that a championship-level change wasn't out there this year?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Anonymous, I am more than happy to answer any questions my loyal fans have, so don't feel the need to be Anonymous - tell us who you are, so we can address you appropriately.

Now, I'm not sure what the purpose of your questions are. Admit what? GM who? The tone suggests that you have some answers to those questions, so it's more beneficial for you to just speak your opinion vs. trying to project something that wasn't said and never has been said. But for my other fans, I'll explain...

Invariably, almost all of my blogs are written from the point of view of building a team that can win a title in the next 2-3 years. So, the dream team I assembled would give me more confidence that we're on our way to growing into that title team than the one we currently have. It would include pieces that attempt to address the problems we faced last season. I also think it makes us more competitive with the Big 3 next year (and as we know - you never know what happens until you play the games).

It definitely comes with some risk and all things being equal (i.e. no injuries or major trades in the East - this team would likely be losing in the 2nd round), but the core we'd be working from starting next offseason would be closer to a title in my opinion than what we currently have. I've already gone on record with my belief that Bibby and Crawford will not be significant cogs in a Hawks championship run.

So, if your question Anonymous person is that I believed that there is a player or players this offseason that would deliver a title for the Atlanta Hawks in 2009-2010? My answer is NO and I would challenge you to find where I ever said that it would.

Now, if your question is that I believed that there were players that we could add to this team this offseason that could be a part of a future Atlanta Hawks championship-level team instead of adding players who won't, then my answer is YES. I certainly believe that to be true. Before something is cherry picked in that dream team, please also remember that I only included players available TODAY and not players this offseason who were available (and aren't most players available - trades happen all the time).

So, if your question was, were championship level changes that could have been made? I'd say yes. The combination of draft, trades, and free agency makes that a possibility every year. You just have to make the right moves. I watched Gasol go to the Lakers for scrap metal and I'd consider that a championship level move (it didn't pay off 2 years ago in a title, but ultimately was a championship move). Those moves aren't easy to come by and also can be constrained by the ownership and finances, so there are lots of variables to consider. The point is that I don't think we are doing enough this offseason to make the team better for a future title run.

So, I'm not sure what your question is, but if it's to get me to admit something that I never said or agree to something you want to get across - it's probably not going to happen, TF..oops, Anonymous :)


CoCo said...

Larry please come back to my post and respond to me when you get a chance :)

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

did you miss what I said in my comment right after yours?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Coco - I would NEVER not answer a question from you, my dear.

thirdfalcon said...

It wasn't me, but I think it was a fair question.

If I ever come at you again you'll know it. You've already done literally the worst you can to me. And by that I mean you asked me nicely not to post.

I think your additions would make us better than what we have done this year though. However, I don't know if I buy that they would make us better beyond that. But we asked you to tell us what you would do and you did, so you get props for putting your money where your mouth is.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, Damn, you mean I got two hecklers. :) No worries, my friend. I don't have a problem with you coming at me - it's how you do it that I have problems with.

And the same for Anonymous...he/she is projecting that I said this was a championship team, which I never did and then, wants to say slyly that they are right to assume nothing could have changed the Hawks fate this upcoming season, which has an answer that we can't project and the smarmy, assholish ways of trying to make a comment don't fly well with me.

I've watched a lot of talented players change teams this year and I even watched some go for bargain basement prices. Would they have changed the Hawks fate? I don't know, but I'm willing to say that I think we could have done better and that some of those building blocks could be found this offseason.

So, TF, I don't have a problem with disagreement or dissent. It's the delivery, my friend. You can ask me - hey, Odom is inconsistent and might have reached his ceiling while Marvin hasn't - what do you think about that? vs. hey, only an ass would think that Odom could be better than Marvin in Year 3 of that contract. (and that's an example - I know you didn't say that)

If that's the discourse we had in the past - I'd even want to ask you what reservations would you have in some of those moves for future years. We may share them. I certainly don't have such a high valuation on Joe Smith or Warrick or even Odom to the point that I can't see the risk. Simply put, my point all along has been that I want to see the Hawks trying to address where they have weaknesses. Every attempt to fix it won't be successful, but at the point at which we've proved that - that's when I'll say - hey, that Odom experiment failed - let's try something else vs. repeating what we already know isn't going to work. I'm at the point where our team as constituted has a limit on its playoff climb and that limit is 2nd round. I want to try to get us the building blocks to get us past that by 2010.

But I did say - don't post, so I'll shut up now. Cheers!

CoCo said...

Larry I was talking about the AI post. lol I had some good insight about why I can't fight you on Ramon Sessions and by insight I don't really mean insight. lol

Jesse said...

I'll give this a go. I don't have any strong opinions one way or the other w/r/t your proposed lineup and I think I've clearly stated where I stand on our off-season moves thus far, so I'll just lay out the steps I would like to have seen happen.

First, the draft. I would have taken Blair in the first round then tried to mvoe up in the second to get someone like Meeks. If I couldn't move up, then I would have taken McClinton. We sorely needed some quality depth in the frontcourt and Blair could easily be someone that not only could contribute immediately, but could also be groomed to start in the future. McClinton (or Meeks) is a lights-out shooter and could come off the bench immediately for JJ and be groomed to be our starting SG of the future.

Next up, I would have let Bibby walk and tried to do something with Childress and Solo to get Sessions and let Acie run the point from the bench. I would re-sign Zaza and brought Anderson over. That would net us what I think is a very solid 12-man rotation...

PG: Sessions, Acie
SG: JJ, McClinton, Gardner
SF: Marvin, Evans
PF: Smith, Blair, Hunter
C: Horford, Zaza

This leaves me with Speedy, West, and Flip and whoever else would come in the Sessions deal. I would keep West becuase I think he can be a very effective energy guy when used at the right moments. I would then try to work Flip and Speedy into a deal for a better long-term option for the back-up SF position.

Not bad I think and this is a real quick off-the-cuff think I'm throwing together without going deep into the money of it all. I think the above team would be not only a more cohesive unit for this upcoming season, but also primed for longevity for future seasons.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Jesse, I could quibble over a few things (like counting on 2nd round draft picks to be in your lineup - I don't think I'd take them over Flip in any situation), but the main thing I want to say is - if this isn't under the assumption that Woodson isn't the coach, then I'm completely against these moves.

While I wish Woodson did right by Law (and a host of other players), I was of the mindset about mid-way through last year that Law needed to be traded, so if you're saying Woodson's gone, then I'm willing to say - let 'em play. Otherwise, Law has to go. Have no problem with them trading him. Had a big problem with them trading him for Crawford and Speedy for Crawford, but that's been stated many times.

As for you, Ms. Coco...let's see I saw your AI post and I can only see one good reason to do that - TO SELL TICKETS! That's it. Otherwise, I'm not going to knock AI's abilities, but he's just not what he used to be and he's going to need the ball in his hands when we have players who need to grow and AI shooting the ball isn't going to help that happen.

So, if he wouldn't help the Nuggets - I have no illusion that he's going to help us and definitely don't think he's a locker room, leadership guy that we need leading the Josh Smiths of the world. OR clashing with Mike Woodson in any way. AI wouldn't take us to a title and would be declining by the time the other players are good enough to make a run. So, that's a no go for me...if we had strong leaders, good coaching, and needed just one piece off the bench - ok, but he already has made it known that he's not coming off the bench. So, no AI for me.

Jonathan said...

I am not sure if I would say Marvin is inconsistent. And really...really if he is Lamar and MArvin are two different kinds of inconsistent.

Lamar is inconsistent because he will give you absolutely nothing. He will completely disappear.

Marvin is always checked in and ready to contribute. just because joe doesn't pass or even look his way doesn't make him inconsistent

Other than that I am down with the roster. O and I would have a problem with Ramon but you changed coaches

Anonymous said...

Who's going to shoot spot-up threes on that team, GM guy?

How does that team fit the Iso-Joe or improve defensive rebounding?

Which year in the next 2-3 does that team win a championship--or, what is the grand plan to do so?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...


I don't disagree with you much on Marvin, but I think you're being kind to say that Marvin is always dialed in and ready to contribute. We need Marvin to be a force on the team and quite often - he's merely a contributor. That's the comparison I'm making btw him and Lamar Odom. Odom can be a force and in many ways - he is. When he checks out, he isn't. I think I can agree, but that's something I hope the coach addresses. In much the same way I hope that that would happen with Marvin.

As for Anonymous - you are welcome to provide your own answers to these questions you pose. I think I've already spoken to each of them if you read it thoroughly enough. No years or complete grand plan that needs to be drawn out by me - that's not my job. I'm only here to communicate what I do and don't believe in. You're welcome to take a stab at it.

I can say that Miami is no longer in consideration (short of a gift Carlos Boozer trade) for contention for a higher seed than the Hawks with notification of Lamar Odom's signing to the Lakers.

Anonymous said...

Who's going to shoot spot-up threes on that team, GM guy?
Answer: No one.

How does that team fit the Iso-Joe or improve defensive rebounding?
Answer: It doesn't do either. Odom rebounds a little more than Marvin, but he doesn't shoot as well. Ramon Sessions will ruin the Iso-Joe by constantly driving the ball rather than passing, keeping JJ from using his size advantage to draw defenders. So there are different parts in this lineup that don't work with the current coach's system.

Which year in the next 2-3 does that team win a championship--or, what is the grand plan?
Answer: It won't unless it is Detroit 04, the only team to win a championship without a superstar in the last 30 years, and no grand plan to win one is apparent in the post.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...


Well, I knew you missed some critical components of the dream team. You missed the biggest part of my dream team compilation where I said that my dream team wasn't coached by Mike Woodson. I've been very adamant since early 2009 that that's the #1 ceiling limitation for this team. You could keep the team together as it stands and add a better coach and I think the sky could be the limit (emphasis on 'could').

You also must have missed the nugget of information where Maurice Evans, Flip Murray, and Joe Johnson (who took the most 3 pts for the Hawks in total volume and on average to account for Marvin's lost time during his injury). So, that seems to be enough spot up 3pt shooting with an added benefit of having increased inside scoring and baskets off guard penetration.

You also missed that of the 3 pt shooters on the team Marvin was the worst 3pt shooter of the 5 (the 5 being Bibby, Johnson, Murray, Williams, and Evans - I don't think Gardner can be included).

You almost might have missed that Odom in less playing time has put up better rebounding, assist, steals, and blocks. He also has a much better shooting percentage (shooting doesn't just consist of 3pt shooting). The only thing that Marvin brings to the table that's better is a 3% difference in 3pt shooting and a sizable free throw shooting difference. I'd be concerned about that, but Marvin doesn't get to the line enough for it to really matter. Now, I admit that Marvin still can grown to be better and close that gap, but for now - there's still a gap, but let's not debate this point - Marvin's a Hawk, Odom's a Laker...done and done!

As for the grand plan, you're right - unless Josh Smith or Al Horford show themselves to be significantly better - this team has a ceiling that is short of championship, but that's not what my post was about. My post didn't say - this team will win a title. My post said - this will get us closer and hopefully, we can grow on the court and add pieces to get us there in trades during the season and future offseasons. It's beyond apparent that Joe Johnson has to be your 2nd or 3rd best option on a championship team, not your 1st. Again, if you read my blog - I've been clear about this. That's why we need a new coach. I need a coach who understands that shifting the responsibility of leading this team as constituted to a championship to the young forwards is the only way this team will come close to winning a title.

If neither has the stuff to do it (and there's ample evidence that they may not), then you know who you have to move and purge in order to find that 'superstar'.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous did miss the part about the coach. How does this new team fit with the new coach's style?

Flip Murray is not a spot-up shooter, he is a rhythm shooter.

Joe Johnson as a spot-up shooter eliminates him as post-up player or driver, negating his size advantage. Also makes him unhappy and reminds him of why he left Phx.

Not sure why Odom would not be debated since the point seemed to be the moves the Hawks could have or should have done and Odom was available. Odom is nice, yes, but he doesn't add very much rebounding to what is already there (Warrick doesn't either) and it doesn't seem like the Hawks need those other things too much. I thought he was an upgrade? What is he upgrading?

Anonymous thought that HawkStr8 talk was always about the championship in 2-3 years and did not know that HawkStr8talk was only occasionally about the championship in 2-3 years. Anonymous wonders if the real Hawks get the same leeway.

Anonymous said...

oh... failed to mention.that Mo Evans is left as the only real spot-up three threat, BTW, if JJ is used the way he will surely tell the coach he should be used. Is HawkStr8talk happy with that?

Anonymous said...

So...anonymous thinks your Dream Team is no better than what the Hawks already have.

Why don't you post a poll of your readers to determine if they think your dream team is, as you say, a playoff upgrade or better than the current Hawks? Is this team better than the Magic or Celtics?

Anonymous says no.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I think you've mistaken this blog for the answer and solve all the ills of the Hawks organization. I simply said this was MY dream team.

I think you like to say things that don't square with the words I wrote, then take one or two things said to make conclusions like - 'I thought you were always about the championship' or 'GM guy'. So, I think it's important for to say this - it doesn't bother me one bit that some people may disagree with my opinion. What I won't do is try to sound like a smart aleck on someone else's blog.

So, you can try to misrepresent things to fit a point you're trying to make. I've already addressed this with Third Falcon, Xavier, and the like. So, I'll just end with - I'm happy to talk Hawks with anyone. We can debate anything about the Hawks, but I won't do battle about things that I'm not even talking about or intimating. So, if you want to make a point - make it. Don't try to misrepresent what I say or think to make you sound smart b/c it doesn't accomplish that goal.

So, responses such as 'is this team better than the Celtics or Magic' don't have meaning in this discussion b/c I think I said the same thing you did about these teams if all things are equal. I also said there are TOO MANY FACTORS to know what results in winning a title, but I do have beliefs on what DOESN'T WIN one. So, what doesn't is Woodson, Bibby, & Crawford in my opinion?

You can disagree and let the season prove one of us right. Or you can even do your own blog and state how great you think the offseason has been, you can defend it or not defend it. So no - there will be no polls b/c I don't really care what others think - I didn't say - here's a dream team everyone will agree with as a starting point for a title. I just said - this is my dream team based on what's available. Right now, it's already obselete.

What would have beneficial would have been for you to communicate who else you think the Hawks can sign at this late date to be the 4th and 5th big men in Hawks uniforms next season who could possibly see action? That discussion has legs or why Odom having better production in several areas than Williams (which you ignored, particularly the point of Odom avging 2 more rebounds than Williams in less time on the court) translates to not much difference. We don't have to assholes to each other to just state why we believe one thing vs. another.

And that's the point of my comment - don't be an asshole on a blog. Let's keep it classy, folks.


Anonymous said...

Here's anonymous' point, then: you have been bitching about the bad off-season all summer. When asked what should have been done with what's out there, you come up with this business.

Lamar Odom? Really? Odom is statistically equal to Marvin NOW. Marvin is seven years younger, on the upswing rather than the decline, and considerably cheaper. He's also not a freaking FLAKE, which Odom has been for a long time ("veteran leadership"--yeah, right. Just because he is a veteran does not mean he's a leader).

Anonymous' point is that change for change's sake is no better than the status quo and is in fact sometimes worse, and that your attempt at a second-round winner would be doubtful at best. Which is what you realized, too, when anonymous asked you if this team was better than one of the top 3.

Anbonymous does enjoy the attempted responses, though (oh, that doesn't matter...that's not what was's all moot now, because this is about reality even though I was trying a hypothetical exercise). The comedy here is a nice counterpoint to the other blogs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous has a hard time spelling late at night.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

It's also clear that Anonymous is afflicted with the same thing that some others are with being unable to get a point across without sounding like a prick.

That said, if you really wanted to have a real debate, you wouldn't make up things and cherry pick your parts of the discussion to try to make yourself sound like what you've proven not to be at this stage and that's smart.

IF Lamar Odom was the lynchpin of my argument for going into the season with a better team, then maybe we'd be having a real debate. I certainly hope Marvin improves and is better than Odom ever could be - we could agree on that. But we're not having a real debate. My 'BITCHING' started with the belief that adding Bibby and Crawford were not good moves for a team that's not ready to defeat the Big 3, so I felt we should be adding pieces and a system that actually is set up for a championship, which meant getting rid of players (or not bringing on players who aren't championship quality)

If you were actually reading what I wrote and not what you wanted to read, you'd see I made several points. But no, you mentioned none of those. You didn't mention that the coaching and philosophy/style of the team was one that I didn't believe could win a title w/o about 3 superstars to overcome the ineptness of the style. Of course, you're seemingly not thorough enough to make sure you know what you're talking about before opening your mouth.

Then, when looking at my Dream Team of Leftovers (cuz that's what it was), you seemingly dismissed the young point guard, the championship small forward, the 2 additional big men (which is more than NONE we have right now) and oh, wait - the COACH. Now, you are welcome to assert that ALL of that - is equal or worse to Marvin, Woody, Bibby, and Crawford. That's up to you to do. We'll never know, but that can be done with class - which you seem to lack. I happen to disagree with your assessment of Odom's abilities.

I happen to believe that a coach would make this team better all on its own and sometimes your team can get better and STILL not be able to get past the 2nd round. Why? B/c the teams ahead of us are that much better than us.

So, I think about what you're saying and keep seeing a bunch of gibberish comments all lined up for a point I already knew you were trying to make, which is - you think the Hawks are fine. You don't have to be a dick to just say that you'd prefer what we got to my Dream Team of Leftovers. You could just ask who I thought addressed my opinion of last season's problems:

1. Leadership..still unclear (the new coach, Joe Smith, and hopefully down the line - Ramon Sessions)
2. Interior Depth - Warrick & Smith
3. Penetrating/Defensive Guard - Sessions
4. Overall Defense - Warrick, Smith, & Sessions (and addition by subtraction w/ Bibby)
5. Rebounding - Odom, Smith, & Warrick (yes, I think he'd provide more rebounding on the second team than Solomon Jones)

So, that's my final word to you on it since I'm putting you in my Third Falcon box of not having conversations with prickly, dick-ish types who just want to say things to fit a point they could have just made since reason, logic, and even the numbers might suggest that people might not agree with their POV.

Anonymous said...

Well, Anonymous is trying to take into account all of your changes. Anonymous does not believe a coaching change, a young and non-playoff-tested, already second-tier PG, a little more depth amongst bigs, and giving up Marvin for Lamar will amount to much. It's like getting the filters changed but not a lot more. None of those coaches ever won much of anything either, even when Van Gundy, for example, had better teams in NY and Houston than the Hawks currently have or the dream team here.

Anonymous also believes that trading away youth for age when nothing is essentially gained is a very bad move, and that setting up a competition between two young PGs means that one of them will eventually be traded anyway.

But, Anonymous thought this discussion didn't have legs and we should be talking about what 4s or 5s the Hawks may bring in now.

Anonymous does like Joe Smith.

Anonymous said...

BTW, as far as Odom goes, Marvin's TS% last year was better and he shot more threes; Marvin gets to the line more, as you noted; Marvin does what he does as the third option; their PER was about even, I'm sure because of Marvin's better shooting and threes (don't forget Marvin had one of the top "long two" shooting percentages the last two years, per Hollinger, and that Odom is a notoriously weak finisher at the basket) which offset Odom's better assist and rebounding rate, to some degree.

As Odom's PER has been right about 16 for three years running after coming down from the two years prior, and Marvin's PER has jumped each of the last two years, it would seem appropriate that when two players are so statistically and stylistically similar that you hold onto the younger, cheaper one, especially if you think he still has upside and the other player has peaked and will be downtrending any day now.

But Odom gets a lot more attention because he plays in LA, has been a near all-star, just won a title, and has had a fairly interesting and difficult life story, offsetting the perception that he disappears in games and underachieves. Marvin has only received negative attention for not living up to Chris Paul, i.e., disappearing and underachieving.

But a close look at the numbers reveals two players with similar styles and personalities going in opposite directions but at present very much at the same point. You'd be crazy to give up the upward-trender for the downward-trender. But then, Anonymous does kinda love crazy a little bit. It's just so much fun, don't you think?

Anonymous doesn't mind the personal attacks, either, as they are fun too and make the ambiguous so much more interesting.

thirdfalcon said...

looks like you might have been right about Session's availability

from twiiter

STEIN_LINE_HQ NYK are on the verge of signing Sessions to an offer sheet. And MIL, we're told, is more likely to spend on Hakim Warrick and let Ramon go

So yeah that's a bummer. Never underestimate the stupidity of the Bucks I suppose.

But anyway, I agree with anonymous about Marvin vs. Lamar. They are really close production wise. Although Lamar is better in areas that we are weak, The respective age of the two players makes me want to have Marvin past next year.

Hakim Warrick would be awesome, but I don't think we're spending the money for him, especially if we get Joe Smith anyway.

If I was doing things from your perspective, I would just get a new coach, and wait on those big expensive moves until we feel like they would put us over the top.

From your perspective, we really need more analysis since Woody is holding everyone back and we don't actually know things like how good a scorer Al and Marvin could be if they got touches, or if a better coach can get Josh Smith to play inside himself.

So if I was looking at things from your point of view, I would fire Woody, then just do what the Hawks did, with the exception of pursuing Sessions allot harder at the expense of Bibby. Then I'd just wait for the trade deadline. If we are on pace to win 55+ games with Sessions and our new coach, I'd take advantage of all those teams that will be looking to dump salary, and make a trade to put us over the top.

Again that's making assumptions that I think you would make about the importance of coaching, and how detrimental Bibby's defense is to our team.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF & Anonymous, welcome to the Hawk Str8Talk family. It's like I hardly recognize ye.. (smile). That's a joke. You raise some good points, so I feel compelled to say something...

1. Can you define further what 'amounts to much' means - is that in 2009-2010, is that by playoff time, is that in the future, or is it all of the above. That would help me give a true answer. I will say that I do believe that the team could take a step back in learning to play together, but would be better positioned during the playoffs to make a run. I acknowledge that, but I wonder what team (at the juncture that I wrote the blog) you think could be put together that's better. Is it the team we have? That's what I think you're saying, but I don't want to assume that for you.

2. There are several coaches who have not won titles who are tactically better than Woodson. I also believe that there may be some coaches who are the 'next Phil Jacksons' and when we know that one isn't on our sideline - looking for that one and giving him a chance has a good risk/reward ratio that I'd love for us to explore.

3. We don't have to keep rehashing the Odom/Marvin piece - you think it's a wash, I don't, but I will say that your argument isn't one I'd dismiss - it's def. worthwhile. The thing I want you to be clear about - I don't think this argument is a situation where I'm saying that Odom is WAYYY better than Marvin. I think you can make an argument both ways. I think that Odom is a better rebounder, passer, and defensively more versatile than Marvin and that fills a need this team has. I'm willing to lose what Marvin brings to the table. Now, Marvin could get better, but if he gives us similar output over the next few years - it's the type of output that's a dime a dozen in the NBA. So, that mitigates my fear in losing Marvin's production (or being able to replace Odom when he does decline).

Let's move on to the part that I'm not sure I agree with and that's Ramon Sessions and Jeff Teague competing as a bad thing - Jeff Teague needs seasoning to be a PG and he's really a SG with PG size. So, there's a question of how that works. So, it could work to the benefit to have a young backup PG/SG. I'm not sure I follow what the problem is with having tradeable assets. Let's also make sure we're together - players drafted at our position aren't locks to be great players. Sessions broke out last year - I'd rather take my chances on that and figure out where Teague fits in the mix. There's really not a lot of downside to having a lot of talented players on a roster.

Oh, and ATL doesn't like personal attacks - I have 2 businesses I run, so defending myself and trading barbs takes too much time. I can be entertaining without all that...

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, I will only add to your points by saying..

Seeing players like Warrick, Sessions, Gooden, etc all getting really fairly cheap (1-2 year) deals gives me the impression that the Atlanta Spirit coffers are involved with why we aren't signing players. Like I said before, I think we're trying to win on the cheap and that can only be achieved up to a point and that point is 1st round playoffs. I think the Joe Smith signing would be good, but when teams have signed 2-3 playes to our Joe Smith - it's still a net negative on paper for us in my eyes.

I think we're going to try to fill our roster of Bibby, JJ, Josh, Al, Marvin, Zaza, Jamal, & Teague with 2-3 guys that make the team out of training camp (like Siler, etc) and go with a 8 man rotation again (despite what Woodson said about expanding the rotation). Betting that this team won't have injuries (when we're clearly undersized) is the only thing that's foolish in my eyes. Either we're going to get beat up and tired trying to run our half court offense OR we'll start to use our strength and run (and then we'll be worn down by that).

That all says to me that you need more players. As soon as we put Randolph Morris, Mario West, Othello Hunter, and the rest of the West End All Stars in the game, we've already lost (though if we are going to play them - I'd prefer they be IN THE REGULAR ROTATION, so we can see them get better or go bust over the course of the season).

Anyway, if those guys aren't at best our 11th - 13th men on the bench, I lose all confidence that our team will be competitive in the postseason save the aforementioned leap to stardom for 2 of the frontcourt 3 (Al, Josh, and Marvin).

thirdfalcon said...

I think with Warrick, he wanted playing time more than money. He's in a situation where he's not valued very highly in the open market so he is trying to go to a place where he can get 35+ minutes per game to prove that he's worth a lucrative long term deal. He would get 20 minutes at the most with the Hawks so it's probably not a good situation here for him.

With Sessions I think that the front office probably thought that the Bucks would match an offer for him, and that he isn't good enough to overpay (which I agree with). I'm shocked that they decided to give up on a promising young player like him because they have Luck Ridnour. Indefensible.

It reminds me of when Detroit passed on Carmelo Anthony because they already had Tayshaun Prince. Except this is a million times worse because Detroit won a championship with Prince as a major cog, and the Bucks have been a laughingstock for a decade and should be thinking about nothing but the future.

Gooden is a knucklehead and I wouldn't have gone after him either. It might have been a mistake not too but I think Joe Smith would have a better influence on our young players than Gooden. So if your looking for a player that's only going to play 10 to 15 minutes Joe Smith brings allot of positives aside from production (and you really just have to go back and read your own posts to find arguments to take a player like Joe smith over Gooden).

As for our players, I don't know that I think anyone is going to take a leap to stardom, but I think there is good reason to think that they will improve, besides the obvious. They are young so they have too thing.

Josh Smith Could have a much better year than he did last year mostly just because it's his post contract year, and there has been a long and well documented trend of players' production dropping after they sign a big contract and then leveling off in the second year of said contract. He has rebounded pretty well in a few of his seasons, so maybe he can put that part of his game together if nothing else.

This is a post contract year for Marvin so you'd expect his production to drop a bit, but then again he doesn't act like your average professional athlete so maybe he can buck the trend. And I've seen reports that he's still working hard this offseason.

Horford is going into his third year, which is traditionally the year that NBA players make "the leap" so there is good reason to think that he's going to take a jump.

And then Joe's in a contract year where he will be playing for perhaps his last major contract.

So basically our three best players are in situations where their production should rise according to historical trends. And it looks like we are going to expand our rotation by one so I see plenty of reason for optimism

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...


You could be right. I think any optimism I have gets mitigated by a few factors.

1. Other teams' players are getting better in the offseason too.
2. Most importantly, the coach has to give them a system that helps them succeed. There has to be more balance in the offensive system to allow for Horford to make a leap, to funnel Josh inside 12 ft before he conceives of shooting the ball (the worst report I've heard is that Josh is working on his outside shot - you just don't go from worst jump shooter in the league statistically to very good in one offseason), & to have Joe scoring in a variety of ways.

The only other point I'd contribute would be that our offseason due diligence is what worries me. The reason I kept challenging the Sessions assumption you made was that it had been rumored that the Bucks were STILL trying to shed salary with Ridnour and Jennings. Now, they still may match, but I think my point was that early in the game - it's worth a gamble. If they match and Bibby signs elsewhere in the interim, you still have options like Miller, etc to fall back to (or you just go with Teague as an absolute worst case scenario).

Anyway, I'm not trying to be GM here - my point is bigger than Sessions. It's really that I don't hear about us being involved in signing or trading for players who can improve upon last year's team. Joe Smith is the only name we've heard and I'm not sure that he's going to be enough in the East. I didn't even conceive of losing Solo leaving. While I don't care that he did, it would make me feel better to have a guy who knows our system as the 5th big man behind whoever we sign as the 4th big man (if we sign anyone).

At this stage, I'm almost swayed to say - let's sign Leon Powe despite the fact that he won't be playing until midseason at best. I don't disagree that the rest of your assessments might not come true, but I just go back to my earlier posts - I would feel much better if we were more active in fixing our weaknesses. I get the desire to shore up the core. We'll see if it pans out.

thirdfalcon said...


“When you start playing too many players, what happens is no one gets in to any kind of flow. My philosophy’s always been you play eight players, nine and ten play when you have some foul trouble which you’re always gonna usually have in a game. If you’re eleven and twelve, you better be working to get to nine and ten.”

-Flip Suanders

Just a small quote I think is interesting, and back's up my claim that most coaches only want to play 8 or 9 guys.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, I'm not sure I'm going to take Flip Saunders as the mouthpiece for most coaches, but I think if I read the same quote - I can make the claim that with injuries and the 'foul trouble' that happens every game - you need to have players who know how to play and are used to playing that are more than the 8 Woodson played.

So, same quote - different take in my mind that I think supports what I've been saying..the rotation can't be 8. Having only 8 NBA worthy players playing consistently means we'll be in the same situation as soon as the injuries and fatigue and foul trouble hit.

thirdfalcon said...

Is fine. If you read the whole article you'd see that your misinterpreting what he means, but I didn't expect this to change your mind anyway. I've seen many qoutes from basketball people that are far smarter than either of us say similar things and I'll pass them along as I see them.

thirdfalcon said...

BTW I'm not saying that you only need 8 good players on the team. Just that starting every game with a goal of playing 10 or 11 guys every night is counterproductive.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Ok, but I don't think you're going to find anything that's going to support playing 8 out of 15 players ALL season long to the point that those 7 players aren't able to provide any appreciable value to your team when something happens to the 8.

thirdfalcon said...

That's not my position though. Your opinion that we should expand the rotation to where we are playing 10 or 11 guys as a rule every single night is one extreme.

And the imagined position that you have assigned to me of only ever playing 8 guys is another.

My actual position is somewhere in the middle. You have a 8 man rotation and if someone gets in foul trouble it becomes a 9 man rotation. If there is an injury you insert one of your 9, 10, 11, or 12 guys into your 8 man rotation until your guy heals.

That's what I'm saying. you play 8 or 9 guys unless something goes wrong, which it inevitably will.

But if you turned off injuries and fouls like a video game I think you could easily go through a season without playing anyone but your top 8 guys.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, I'll accept that maybe I misrepresented your position, but you've also misrepresented mine (or either you didn't understand everything I've written OR I wrote it poorly...I'll accept either answer).

My point has been that the number of people you can consistently call on to get the job done must be 10-11 during the regular season, so that you have at least that many folks you have enough confidence to play in the postseason. I don't care if you shrink the roster in the postseason - for many reasons that makes sense.

But in the regular season, be it back-to-backs, rest, injuries, fouls, etc. You should be able to play 10-11 guys with confidence that they will get the job done. That does not mean that everyone gets the same minutes every night. It does mean that you know your role and that role is dictated by the circumstances each night. If the Wizards can be beaten by small ball, then maybe JJ, Bibby, Josh, Al, Acie, and Marvin may play more with Zaza, Solo, Morris, etc getting less PT. If Bibby is in a slump, is getting TORCHED by Tony Parker, or whatever, maybe you get Law more time on the court to see if he can give a spark and build his confidence.

I gave an example in an earlier post about how I would expect Teague to get more PT than say Joe Smith (if he were signed) during the regular season. We don't need tons of regular season Joe Smith minutes to get the best out of Joe Smith in the postseason but you certainly need LOTS of Teague minutes to make him useful in the postseason (esp. at point guard). The trust and game speed must be learned. That is why I hate Woodson's use of our bench b/c it's always been a young bench - you have to play some of the guys consistently to develop their confidence and knowledge of the game.

So, my point is that you give players enough time on the court over the course of the season, so that come Game 1 of the playoffs - that sends three messages:

1. That if someone goes down, you are expected to come in and produce. PERIOD.

2. That you have played with the different combinations (i.e. Law or West with the first team, Josh or Marvin with the second team, etc), so that you don't look woefully inadequate (Mario looked the worst last season whenever he was playing with the starters - it was hard to watch him touch the ball and run away from the play almost instantaneously) if it comes to pass that you are on the court with the regular rotation.

3. That everyone matters on the team, so you can't check out at any point. You can pretty much say - Gardner, Morris, Hunter, Law, and to smaller degrees - Jones and West could play tiddly winks during the game b/c they weren't gonna play unless it was a blowout.

So, my point about the rotation isn't about playing that many players every night. It's about developing the players you need in order to be ready for the postseason. I'd venture to say that you're gonna need Teague in the postseason. You might not play a Joe Smith every night, but you should play Teague every night. Save him looking like Mario West for 20 straight games - you need to build his confidence, so that he knows we need him by season's end. So, that's why my point was that you can't treat it the same. How we should have treated Acie Law and Solomon Jones last season (if you thought they were the 9th and 10th best players - and Lord knows we needed a backup guard and big man to step up in the postseason) was to give them consistent minutes, sat JJ and Bibby for about 5 minutes more per game and we'd have been able to not have our team look tired and gimpy with no reinforcements like most of the other teams in the playoffs with injuries. Doing that would not have lost us home court advantage last year and hence, it would have been valuable to see how we would have handled ourselves with that kind of experience.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Also, you may want to check out Sekou's blog today - he is starting to sound a mini-alarm that's similar to my own regarding what we're doing at this stage and the fact that the Joe Smith signing that EVERYONE wants is looking shakier by the minute.

thirdfalcon said...

I'm misinterpreting your position? Really? I could have sworn you said...

"It's been a focus of this blog to see the rotation expand to 10-11 players during the regular season - no matter who the players are."

You can say that we wouldn't have lost home court advantage, but you don't really know that. And you (and Woodson) certainly didn't know that when we were in the thick of a race for the forth seed. And if you are right, and we really have fallen back to the pack, then you won't know that at any point in the upcoming season.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...


Is it impossible to clarify a point with you? I'm not saying that in a mean dickish fashion - I mean that seriously. On several occasions, we've had debates where you want to 'stick' me to a point. When I think it's unclear, I try to clarify and you come back with 'well, 2 weeks ago, you said...' with zero regard to the OTHER comments i make to give a little more context and nuance to the debate.

Let me just say it again - I believe we should use 10-11 players consistently. I believe that I have provided examples of teams the past few years where that has been done to good effect. That's what I'm saying in the last comment and that's what I meant every time I've made that comment.

Now, my clarification was that I don't believe that 10-11 playing consistently and regularly means that they HAVE (might be the case for some and not for others - as a rule, young players would be closer to HAVE and older players would be as needed) to play a set amt of minutes each game. I'm ok with that premise, but I'm NOT ok with 20 minutes on Tuesday, DNPs for 5 games, then another 5 minute stint, then 3 DNPs, then 2 minute stint, and then saying to the media - hey, he's not in the doghouse when it looks like he is since there have been a few games when it looked like the guard rotation could have used a rest on a few occasions esp. if he's young.

Now, you are right - I don't KNOW anything in life, but I would bet that giving these guys a few more limited minutes vs. running JJ into the ground would have yielded us a fresher team that would have made the playoffs. And that those limited minutes could be found in several games where we weren't ever in danger of losing.

But let's take your premise and just say possibly we don't have home court..I STILL think it's more important to have more players READY to play than home court advantage. In fact, I believe that's why we lose so often on the road - guys are tired, some can't play on the road, and yet - we're still playing 'em high amounts of minutes.

So, I'm concerned as to why you are banking on something that doesn't square with what's happening in the NBA. Teams have fouls, injuries, and poor play from players all the time. I think it's more of a stretch to believe that playing 8 guys all season and in the postseason is a good recipe for season to season success.

Anyway, I got it - you want a short rotation. As I noted, most good teams have 10-11 players that the coach has confidence in playing except in Atlanta. I'm not sure why we have to debate the point that it's a good thing to have 10-11 players who are competent enough to play in critical reg. season or postseason games, but yet - we still are... not sure why though.

thirdfalcon said...

Because most good teams don't play 10 or 11 guys and you haven't proven that they do.

You listed people that you think are in rotations where you included guys like Brian Scalabriny who played 12 minutes a game in 39 games.

thirdfalcon said...

I mean it's good to have 11 players that are good, but that's really on the GM and doesn't mean that they all should play.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, let's just say we disagree 100% on those comments and leave it there b/c no matter what you may think personally about Brian Scalabrine - I think you'd probably want to include factors that matter like

1. He was injured for chunks of the season which is why he played less.
2. That when he was healthy - he played consistently down the stretch and in the postseason. He played anywhere from 10 mins - 35 minutes in games and knew he was going to play.

So, again - you can try to say they don't, but the playoff rosters, the PT that happened, and point I've made doesn't change. You not wanting to acknowledge it doesn't make that go away. If you'd like to go through the list of teams who played more players than the Hawks, have at it - I've done it and it's pretty easy to just say...the HAWKS ROTATION is shorter than most good teams. That is why some of the squad looked lost when forced into action in the playoffs.

I'm STILL unsure why we're debating this. The reason they should play is obvious - no player plays well every night. Only about 20-30 players in the league should be playing 36 minutes no matter how BAD they play each night, so when players suck - we shouldn't just endure it. They should be on the bench while others are taking us to victory.

thirdfalcon said...

It's not obvious and your just wrong. I've looked through this already and the teams that you are claiming played more players than us all had injuries and trades that make it look like they have a larger rotation. But the fact remains that at any given time they were only playing nine guys.

If you want to make it about the playoffs, than most teams only played 7 guys. You really are just wrong on this, but don't worry you'll see the light. It's just going to take awhile. I already layed the numbers out for you and you pretty much just ignored it. So I'll leave this be for now because I'm not doing that work again. but I'll come back to it during the season.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Hilarious...I won't even respond to the 'I'm wrong'...makes me chuckle! Good luck with convincing me...

Jesse said...

Sorry TF, but you are the one that is wrong here. In the 'Rotation' post, I put forth all of the numbers point blank proving that out of the top ten teams in the East last year, only the Hawks and Orlando used a rotation consisting of less than 10 players.

IIRC, your point was looking at min/g, which you are correct when saying it doesn't account for injuries. The numbers I provided however were based on % of total minutes played, which will help to exclude those players filling in for injured players for short times. Furthermore, I also listed the number of players in those same teams' top ten and twenty rotations, and again the numbers clearly indicated that Orlando and the Hawks used a smaller number of players in their rotations. Both data sets are based on the entire 82 game season, not the playoffs, which is a completely different topic entirely because most teams shrink their playoff rotations anyways.

You can not discount players who were traded away or for when discussing numbers across an entire 82 game season. Doing so creates an incomplete data set and the numbers get skewed. Those players played those minutes and at the time were a part of those rotations. Taking them out of the equation would be the same as saying the team played with four men on the court, and that simply is not the case.

You can say whatever you want to, but the numbers are fact and you can't dispute them. The Hawks and the Magic consistently used a 9 man rotation while the other teams in the East used 10-12.

And Larry is right, why are you seriously debating something that would clearly benefit this team greatly? Do you not want the Hawks to succeed? Do you think that JJ should play 45 min/g every night even when you are up by 20 or down by 20? Do you see no value in giving the bench players valuable experience and an opportunity to grow in real game-time situations? If you are simply debating for the sake of providing a counterpoint, you sure are picking an odd stance to take if you are a fan of this team. No, not every fan is going to have a positive outlook on everything their team does, but that doesn't mean we don't want to see them succeed. To debate something that is clearly beneficial to your team puts you much further on the negative side of the game than most.

And why are we discussing this again when the post is about what moves we think could have been made to put this team in a better position to make it to the Finals and possibly win?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Thanks Jesse...all I'll add is that I took what you did and then added and subtracted players based on trades and injuries and then made an estimation of the players who had the coach's confidence to be played in the playoffs.

So, Jesse's is more scientific, mine is based on what happened during the season to make a player - playoff ready. So, as an example, a Shannon Brown isn't going to make the top 10 rotations for the Lakers, but he was played enough after his trade to be considered a rotation player in my book. The same for a Lee or a Marbury.

So, I think we covered enough of it in terms of what a rotation player is (in my opinion), what injuries/trades have to do with it, and why we need more than 8 players.

I will say that I think your trades and injuries reasoning is flawed, TF. Again, I made my assessments on rotation players based on the last 35 games and only included players who were healthy going into the playoffs. So, a guy like Nelson didn't make the cut even though he played in the Finals.

I do want to say that I did read TF's analysis and I did comment on it and I provided a counterpoint for it. I'm not sure if you missed that, but thinking that your analysis is flawed is not the same as ignoring it. And in this case, I think it's very flawed to think that good teams were using 9 player rotations (which EVEN if that was the case - it will still stand to reason that Woodson didn't even do that, which would support my point - we're short players and that matters.)

Your assertion has moved from a solid 8 is good and ideal to now talking about 9 man rotations. You're only 1 player away from agreeing with Jesse and I...come to the dark side :)

thirdfalcon said...

Jessie, If a player played 15% of the total minutes for the season the Hawks would only have one player that qualifies, Joe Johnson. One player can at most play 20% of the total minutes, Since their are 5 positions.



Unless I misunderstood and you meant 15% of the minutes at one position. In which case...

(48*82)*.15= 590.4

Which would be 7.2 minutes a game over the course of the season, not a rotation player imo, It could mean that someone was part of the rotation for a small amount of the season though, say thirty games, then didn't play much the rest of the time. Which is why I think your analyis is skewed. Unless my simple math is horrible wrong.

But in any case Joe doesn't have to play 40 minutes in a 9 man rotation. Which is why I think the Crawford transaction was good for the team. I've already lined out how the minutes could shake out with Joe playing less than 35 minutes a game and no guards playing but Joe, Bibby and Crawford (of course this won't happen, but that just reinforces my point).

I don't think their is a lot of difference between an 8 and a 9 man rotation, So I'm good either way. And I have not wavered on this issue even once. I had this little quote that got brushed aside somehow

"I think the Hawks will have a 9-man rotation next year, and I think this is ideal."

In blowouts I say empty the bench, not too early though, we've all seen the Hawks blow 20 point leads.

So that's my response, have at it. I'm going to came back to this during the season, but for now I'm done.

thirdfalcon said...

really what I'm trying to get you guys to realize is that you are not not on the side of conventional wisdom. If you want to say that you don't care what most teams do, and that you think a 10 or 11 man rotation is best than that's fine. But claiming that this is what most good teams do is a false statement.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

And what we want to get across is that we don't agree with your assessment in any shape, form, or fashion.

So, it's not that we don't understand what you're saying. What we're saying is - we don't agree and believe your assessment to be patently false as it relates to conventional wisdom. Even your quote from Flip Saunders doesn't really prove your point.

So, I don't think any analysis you have put forth supports the position that good teams only play 8-9 rotation players. Not only is it not true in the regular season - it's not true for the last postseason. So, it's conventional wisdom to you, but I don't think you've proven that it's conventional wisdom to all by any stretch.

So, like you said, you're done, but both Jesse and I laid out various scenarios and rosters from last year that don't support your argument. I know for mine - it's not really disputable that the Hawks, unlike other teams in the playoffs, had to count on players who HADN'T played much during the season for reasons other than injury. They didn't play b/c of the doghouse (Law) or trust (the rest of the bench) or lack of ability (West or Morris). Other teams who had injuries had other players who HAD played during the season. I'm not sure why that is escaping you. So, you can stick to your 8 is ok, 9 is ideal if you'd like. And I'll bet everything I got that your 8-9 players will be tired, someone will be injured, and when you need one of those other players to step up in their absence - they won't be ready to provide quality minutes.

So, I'm not sure why the things that the Lakers, Cavs, Magic, Nuggets, Blazers, Spurs, etc employ is escaping you, but I'm ok with it being your opinion - I think making the leap to we're wrong is where you may want to do some more research.

I think if I could make this plainer so you don't get caught up in these numbers and see the big picture (remember: my point wasn't really about a specific number of minutes for each player, but that development of your players during the season takes different forms for different players). Here's the difference for the Hawks and other good teams - the Hawks when faced with bad night, foul trouble, or injury do not play the other guys on the team to compensate. The other teams DO. That's really all this is about. Some argument was that that's because our bench sucks. I agree that the bench wasn't that great beyond the 8th man - I'd also agree that there are about 4-5 other benches that aren't that great that did play and are given chances to provide value and hopefully prepare themselves in the event they are pressed into service, so I still stand firm on the fact that it's a philosophy that Woodson employs that keeps players on the bench.

Rain or shine - he's playing his top 8 and that's pretty much how it's going to be. I wonder why if it's so ideal that he has said the last 3 seasons that he wants to expand his rostation. Now, we know he's not doing it, but why would he say it - is that more Woodson-speak that I should just ignore?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Here's a more important question since I think we've both dug in our heels? I think the rotations need to be bigger, you don't.

Cool...let's go at this another way. Here's who we can agree will be a part of the rotation this season:
Smith, Horford, Williams, JJ, Bibby, Crawford, Pachulia, and Evans. That's 8 guys.

Right now, the 9th guy that would make things ideal would be who:

Is it Teague or is it the unknown unsigned big man (who we hope should be Smith?). I think we're ok with our wing rotation, so the question I'd ask - are you ok with the 3 big men (Josh, Al, and Zaza) rotation btw C and PF or are you ok with the 3 guard rotation btw PG and SG (though only Bibby is a PG and a shooting PG at that)?

I see problems with both where we will continue to be beat up on the glass and inadequate to play any big frontcourts on one side and where we are deficient on the defensive side and not able to groom our future PG on the other.

Which of these rotations are you looking to expand by one person? I'm of the thought that Teague and possibly 2 big men need to be playing consistent minutes to prepare us for the postseason in the event that we need their contributions. What's your specific take on what should happen here?

I'd prefer to get to what you think the Hawks should do vs. debate that other part of this. B/c either Joe Smith gets signed and sits all season or Jeff Teague gets signed and sits all season.

Which fits your ideal scenario?

Jesse said...

Please stop putting the 'i' in my name. I've posted in numerous Hawks/Falcons/GT forums with the same username, the least you could do is spell it right.

The numbers I have provided are all from, but here is how the % of minutes breaks down. A player can only play one position at a time and therefore only account for one positions' minutes. Each position has a total of 3936 minutes (100%). Every player is assigned a position and then has their minutes played divided by that 3936 total, which gives you the % of the teams' minutes that the player was on the floor. For an entire game there will be 500% total on the floor. JJ ends up at 79% for his 3120.5 minutes played over 79 games. Like I stated in my original comment, I picked 15% as the break point and left that up for debate on where one draws the line when figuring out what percentage should determine if a player is part of the rotation or not. I did not list the % value for each player, which I admit might have helped explain thing, so I apologize for that.

But, even if one didn't want to use % of minutes played per player, I listed the total number of players in the top 20 rotations for each of the top ten teams in the East. This is based on the total number of minutes each rotation is used, so there is no debate as to who or how much a player gets used in the rotations. Those numbers verified the numbers pulled from % of minutes player per player. The Hawks still only had 9 different players in the top 20 rotations used by Woodson, Orlando used 10, Philly had 11, and all the rest used no less than 12. I used the top 20 because that's all that is listed, but I also showed the number of players used if you only looked at the top ten rotations and the numbers still support the theory that the Hawks and the Magic use the smallest rotation of players in the East when compared to everyone else.

I'm not saying that it's law in the NBA that each team use a 10-12 man rotation. I simply believe that it's much more valuable to have that number of players capable to step in and provide quality minutes throughout an 82 game season, than to have our current 8 run down and out of gas before the playoffs. Especially considering that at this point we shouldn't be thinking 82 games, but instead 89, 96, 103, and 110.

I didn't pull the numbers for every team in the league, so no, I do not know if it is common thought to have a 10-12 man rotation. I also think that most coaches say/think they have a set number of players, but actually end up playing more than that. On that note, I think Woodson goes out of his way to make sure he only plays certain players, regardless of the situation. And of the ten teams that I did pull data for, only 2 used a rotation under ten players, so it's reasonable to think that only a few teams use a small rotation.

thirdfalcon said...

Jesse, sorry about misspelling your name, it wasn't intentional. But I think your right that coaches end up playing more guys than they intended too. And that that's because of injuries and trades.

Take Vladimir Radmanovic, He played 16 minutes for in 46 games for the Lakers for a total of 771 minutes. Which, if I'm using your formula correctly, would make him a player that played 15% of the total minutes. However he got traded midseason for Adam Morrison to open up minutes for players like Ariza, and Walton.

Now he was certainly a part of the rotation for a large part of the season, but it would be incorrect to say that he shared a rotation spot with the players that moved up to fill his minutes.

So I don't think your formula is as good for measuring how many players a team use for their rotation at any specific point in the season as it is for measuring the total amount of players that were in it's rotation over the course of the whole season.

As for your table of players that were in the top 10(20) 5 man units, I think it's interesting, but I don't think you need to get that complicated to measure what we are talking about. Just look at minutes per game and games played, and you can see what players were in teams rotations for the whole season and which were only part of the rotation for part of it.

Moving on from that, I'll agree that Joe has been overused every year that he has been with the Hawks, but I don't see how you can say that about anyone else. Unless you are saying that using Solo or Greasy anymore than in blowouts is overuse.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...


I'm going to leave this alone, but I would like for you to answer my last comment about what would ideal for the Hawks.

I also would like to probe one part of your statement b/c I agree that there are some holes in Jesse's analysis (though I think it's anecdotal about what I believe). You bring up the Lakers and Radmonovich. Ok, you're right about the fact that he was a rotation player who was traded away. But where your analysis falls apart - Ariza was getting btw 25 - 35 minutes all season in the rotation, so he got no add'l minutes b/c of Radmonovich's trade. Same for Walton - he only wasn't playing for parts of the season b/c he was injured for about 13 games and his minutes only changed around him trying to get healthy - the second half of the season his minutes were consistent and have been for a few years.

So, if I'm looking at the Lakers after the trade deadline - the Lakers rotation was Bryant, Gasol, Bynum, Odom, Fisher, Farmer, Vujacic, Walton, Ariza, & Powell. Now, Shannon Brown didn't play much, but he did play in the playoffs. So you have 10 guys who played regularly down the stretch and one guy who didn't, but provided a spark in the postseason. That's what I want from Woodson - I want him to play more players (I'm not sure that Vujacic and Powell are any better than Gardner and Jones or that Law is worse than Brown in the playoffs) to see what they can provide when our players aren't providing production (and that's going to happen all the time) or are injured.

Now, I'd like to hear how what the 2008-09 season proves with regard to having 10 players in the rotation for both the regular season and postseason (Powell dropped out of the rotation during the playoffs) for the world champs was actually less than that.

thirdfalcon said...

Well To answer your first question, I think Joe Smith (if we sign him), should definitely play. And I think Woodson will play him. The only time that Woodson had 4 decent big men was the 2006-2007 season when we had Sheldon, Zaza, Lorenzen Wright, and the Marvin/Josh conection (iirc they were both seeing power forward minutes). But they all played.

Other than that he has never had a forth big man that was better than say Solo. So that would be an unprecedented situation, and I don't think you can come to the conclusion that Woodson won't play a forth big man based on his past history.

Teague's minutes should be fluid depending on how good he is. If he isn't good enough to have a PER over 10 then he shouldn't play much at all imo. But he will probably see floor time to fill in for injuries and in blowouts mostly.

Basically if he is used in the same role Acie was, and also gets the minutes Greasy got last year then that's fine. If not it's not the end of the world either.

The 2009-10 season comes into play because I think this is something that is easier to track during the season. Any statistic we could come up with to prove how many players teams use in their rotation would be incomplete unless someone literally went through each game box score and anaylized who was playing every game, and who was only playing situationally.

A big problem is defining what the cutoff is for being a rotation player. Mine is that you know a player is in a rotation when you can be sure that said player will play at least 15(ish) minutes on any given night.

Xavier said...

Just a thought, I think its easier for the Lakers to have a 10-11 man rotation as opposed to the Hawks because their starting 5 was much better which I'm sure created larger leads for the second unit(which was better than Atl's also) and also covered any of their 2nd units short comings. But I think Woody may trust the bench to play more minutes than last year because the bench is better. Just as long as Woody likes Teague more than Law. If Sund could add a another decent big, that 9 man rotation should expand to 10.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...


Now, we have some clarity. If you wouldn't be so quick to think you're right about some things you'd find that once you dig through some of the information provided - we'll get somewhere on why we see things differently.

I see some major differences on why we don't agree on this.

First, I hear your point and thanks for clarifying. The only thing I'll say is that point guard is the hardest position to learn and the only way you learn is to play. So, our disagreement is that I think you have to give Teague as many minutes as possible without jeopardizing the season to help get comfortable with running the team. Teague isn't a natural point, so he'd need some time learning - he's going to make mistakes and that's what I'd want from him. You see, I'd prefer Teague to play more and Smith to play less. But at least I know where we're going to disagree this season.

The point isn't just about this season, but you do have to prepare Teague to take over the team from Bibby. That can't be done in 2011-2012 after 2 years of never playing the guy. Now, that said, I don't think Woodson will play Teague b/c he has no contract next year. So, I'm going to understand WHY Teague isn't going to play, but I'm going to hate that we've wasted a year of development time.

And to be clear - when I did my review of the top 10 teams in the playoffs and listed those players who were in the rotation - I did exactly that, I went through the game logs to see if guys weren't just playing 2 or 4 minutes most of the time and only when injuries occurred. That's why I feel MORE than confident that you're wrong about your assessment on these players. The Lakers situation that I described was not unique.

Anyway, your explanation helps - I now understand why you say what you say while not agreeing with it. Later...

thirdfalcon said...

that's also a good point the lakers blew out allot more teams last year than the falcons so their bench guys minutes are going to be inflated.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...


Quickly, how much better do you think Crawford/Teague is than Flip/Law/Jones? And that's a legit question...I just wonder if you believe that Woodson believes that that difference is enough to make him expand his rotation.

I don't have a lot of confidence that Woodson (with his contract on the line) is going to play Teague at all. I wouldn't unless I was confident in my coaching ability enough to develop him with the thought that if they fire me b/c we don't do as well - I can find another job OR the guy was better than Bibby out the gate. Otherwise, I'm not developing him.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Uh, I'd suggest that you find the players on the team that were playing only b/c of blowouts. Check the game logs - that's an easy point to go research and find that that's not the case.

If you still are convinced of that, pick another team - I'm confident of the results.

thirdfalcon said...

That's cool. I'm going to track this and if your right I'll say so.

It is important to note, however, that when the playoff started, and the Lakers stopped caring about guys getting fatiqued, and were just trying to win games, they only had 7 players play more than 15 minutes a game.

thirdfalcon said...

Crawford/Smith/Teague would certainly be better than Flip/Law/Jones.

If we don't get Smith, then we will probably have an 8 man rotation again.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, It's also interesting to note that you keep using a 15 minute threshold that no one else is using. If Luke Walton brings value in 10 minutes and isn't playing only blowout minutes, which didn't happen - I'd say he's a rotation player.

So, I think you keep using that threshold to make your point right. Now, if you think anything under 15 minutes is not a rotation player, then that's your metric. Just be clear that I reject that metric now and I rejected it when we first started talking about this a LONG time ago.

As an example, Eddie House plays probably about 10 real (non-blowout) minutes a game for the Celtics - he comes in to give Allen a breather and he normally does it those last 5 minutes in a quarter or half. He was 9th in avg minute played for the Celtics. He's not a major cog and he might not get 15-20 minutes in many games during the season or during the playoffs. But he played in every game. In my estimation, though, he's a rotation player. He knows his role (shooter/energy guy) - he comes in and plays . All season long. That's my definition - doesn't have anything to do with averaging a certain number of minutes.

My point about rotations is that you can bring a Teague (or Law) in for 5-10 minutes most games and if they perform well 5-10 can turn into 15-25 minutes to define a role for a player when live bullets are flying vs. giving a player only blowout minutes and hoping he's going to work out when you are forced to put him in.

Anyway, you keep trying to drop in little nuggets without saying the whole story - yes, under your 15 minute definition, the rotation shrinks, but if you drop it to say 10 minutes (and I don't think there were many blowouts in the playoffs that allowed for 10 minutes of garbage time) - your argument goes to pot b/c Walton, Farmer, and Brown were getting about that many minutes CONSISTENTLY.

So, again, you can try to carve out a scenario to make this 8 man thing work out in your favor and if that's your goal - so be it. But be clear - my goal isn't to convince you that I'm right. My goal is only to correct the parts that I think you're conveniently leaving out in order to show me to be wrong.

If you want to spell out the whole story and not put in caveats that don't speak to the point I made, then I think we'll be able to do what we were going to do anyway - agree to disagree. :)

thirdfalcon said...

Well part of that is that I'm trying not to write giant walls of text. I think if we wrote shorter posts then we could zero in on specific points better we could have more productive conversations.

It takes discipline, but I think it's clear that we are all missing key points in, and misinterpreting each others posts because we are trying to pack too much into them.

For instance, we never really defined exactly what a rotation player is, as I pointed out at the end of one of my last posts, which you "conveniently" left out. See? I can accuse you of the same thing.

I don't think it's that anyone is trying to purposely misinterpret things so we can "win" an argument. I think there is just too much to respond to and address.

Xavier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Xavier said...

I think Crawford/Teague/ and whomever like Morris for example is better than Flip/Law/Jones for the following reasons. I think Crawford will be a better player than Flip next season. I don't think Flip can play better than he did last year. But I do think Crawford moving from a starter to a sixth man will make him a better player. Plus Crawford should play 30 minutes a night which should decrease the minutes JJ plays. I also think Teague will play more meaningful minutes than Acie did last season. Jones and Morris are a wash to me.

Jesse said...

Again, let me clarify that I have am not providing any true analysis. I have only provided hard numbers for everyone to use in the discussion. In my original comment I stated that the numbers represented a full 82 game season (08-09 specifically) so of course they aren't going to represent a 30 game segment of the season. I also stated that I was only using the 15% break point because at the time it was the only break point given to help define a rotation player and that we could, through sensible discussion, come to an agreement on what should be used as a proper metric. In fact, I even listed umbers down to 10% of minutes played because I saw situations where the players on the court had changed from the beginning of teh season to the end and thought that maybe by dropping the break point it would help to account for those, again, across an entire 82 game season.

There are no holes or faults in what I have provided because they are hard numbers. They may not be defined to how each of us want to fit our points, but I stated that to begin with. If you would like, I will gladly pull numbers using a different metric such as % of games played, or total minutes played, or w/e, but in the end, everyone needs to come to some form of an agreement to what defines a rotation player.

I do think we need to move away from simply looking at mpg though, because that stat can be very misleading. Using an obviously extreme example here, but a player could play 30mpg and only play in 6 total games. Clearly that player would not be a rotation player, but you wouldn't know it just by looking at that one stat. That's why I went with % of minutes played. Maybe that isn't the best method either, or maybe the break point should be higher than 10 or 15%, I'm not sure.

This is also why I pulled the top rotations used. It essentially eliminates any questions as to who is considered a rotation player because it gives you the names of those on the floor. Heh, I'm looking at the Hawks rotations right now and I just came across something I missed. It looks like I left Law off the 20th rotation, so that puts the number up to ten in the top 20. Sorry about that, I guess I overlooked it. Regardless, the point I was going to make is that should that 20th rotation even count because out of all 82 games, it was only used for 33 minutes (which is why I listed numbers for the top ten as well). I'm not sure if we could even put a break point on this.

But, if you guys want, I don't mind pulling the numbers in any which way you want. Heck, I might just do it anyway just for myself.

Also, thanks TF on the name thing. It's just a pet peeve of mine when people put that damned 'i' in my name after I have clearly put 'Jesse' out numerous times.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Jesse, Just a quick note - there isn't any hole in the analysis that you were trying to make. There is a hole in using your stats to make the analysis I was trying to make.

So no worries - for what you were trying to say (and you acknowledged it) it works. For what I was trying to say, I identified already where adjustments needed to be made (which was that referencing rotations with players that weren't available or part of the rotations that you would consider playoff-ready.

That's why I said that I felt TF wasn't taking certain points in consideration in making his assertion about whether we are right or wrong about the Hawks having the least playoff ready roster in the NBA playoffs (and by playoff ready - I meant players you could reasonably count on to play solid minutes). It's very apparent that our regular season rotation is short compared to other teams by every measure.

I long ago said that the 15 min threshold wasn't a good one for the point I was making, but I think the last few statements from TF highlight where our philosophies are different. It's the philosophy that makes me think we're going to stay on the opposite side of the battle.

Right now, there are two ways our team gets better if we don't sign or trade for more talent:
1. Our frontcourt gets better. (Hopefully, the improvement results in more touches and balance shifting to those players)
2. Teague/Crawford provide more offense and defense than Law/Murray.

Unfortunately, the two areas Woodson has shown himself deficient is in giving the frontcourt touches below the free throw line and finding minutes for young guards. So, that's why I'm less than optimistic about our prospects for us getting better. I don't share in the optimism that Jamal Crawford will matter much (I don't see him paying 30mpg) or that we'll play a different style of ball with Woodson in his last season of his contract.