Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Random Thought For The Week

Since there hasn't been much said recently about the Hawks that I care about, I figured I'd give you some NBA related insight...

1. The person who I was supposed to have lunch with from the Hawks today pushed it back b/c he had to meet with (of all people) David Stern. You gotta hate when you get bumped for the Commish. I promise that - while it may not be a financial decision that's worth making - for social and mental health reasons - lunch with me is always a great thing. Plus, how else am I going to get the inside scoop on just how cheap the Atlanta Spirit have gotten? I can't give all the company secrets away for the employment sake of my friends at AS, but trust me people - we ain't never gonna overpay for a player while the Spirit are at the helm (or we get a LeBron like bump that causes sellouts and titles to rain down on the ATL like PacMan and strip clubs).

2. There are tons of folks who have Power Rankings and opinions about what's transpired this offseason and how that impacts the upcoming season. I've opined that teams that weren't even close to ours last year have closed the gap. Well, here's the NBA.com Power Rankings which co-sign on that sentiment. http://www.nba.com/powerrankings. In a nutshell, they have the Wizards ahead of us, the Raptors, Bulls, and Pistons almost directly behind us. So, that's your playoff teams in the East with the Sixers and Heat on the outside looking in. I never care what others say during the offseason, but there was some open mocking of the belief that other teams hadn't used the offseason to on paper make it a fight for the 4th seed with our largely (in my opinion) unchanged team (yes, I'm assuming Flip = Jamal and not much Teague or Joe Smith with Woodson at the helm). So, we'll see how it unfolds.

Finally, I do hope that we put a mute button on any extension talks with Joe Johnson. While I love JJ, I am not convinced that $16M for a 33-34 year old JJ is wisely spent. I'd like to see what he can do as a well rested player over this season. If he's going to be used up like Karrine Steffans during a video shoot for another 2 years - I don't see a Ray Allen or Reggie Miller like ending to his career. Think of all those teams who hate what they've gotten from Allen Iverson for the last 2 years at his price tag and then add in the fact that JJ isn't as good as Allen Iverson was. And with that, we bid you adieu...

13 comments:

thirdfalcon said...

I'm on the fence about resigning Joe. On one hand I truly believe we couldn't make the playoffs without him (with any coach). On the other I can't really say I think he's good enough to be worth 16 million per. If we could get hm to sign for 13 or 14 million per year than I would sign him in a cocaine heartbeat though.

I don't think there is any danger of him ending up like AI though. AI was independent to a fault, and refused to change his style of play to fit the team he is on. I would argue that he was the least versatile superstar of the past 2 or 3 decades.

That's part of the reason I like him. His refusal to change was a strength early in his career, but it's not a good quality to have for the purposes of aging gracefully.

Joe on the other hand is extremely versatile. He's really not great in any one area, but he's very good in almost all the areas that you could ask a shooting guard to be good at. So when he starts losing his athleticism I'm pretty confident that he will find a way to adapt and produce.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

We agree on every point except one - I don't want to pay him before we have an Alpha Dog to build around. Joe Johnson isn't an Alpha Dog. Kinda like Ray Allen isn't...you can't win a title with Ray as your lead, but as your 2nd or 3rd - he's the man.

So, if we can get Horford or Smith to exceed him in talent and provide leadership - re-sign Joe. If not, then take that money and find an Alpha Dog. A guy you can build around and add pieces to, but if signing him prevents that and he's our best player - I think we'll be back to where we were in the mid-nineties where Steve Smith was our best player and that's why we always were in the 1st or 2nd round losing. As much as I hate rebuilding, I prefer rebuilding to having a pre-determined ceiling.

Jesse said...

Of course, unless that pre-conceived ceiling is the championship, right?

Can't believe you got bumped for Stern. Next time I'm in the A, we'll hit up the Vortex of something.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Jesse, that would be an affirmative on both counts. I'd even take an Eastern Conference title right now. If that was our ceiling, I'd be fine with saying - you know what - he can get us to the Finals, pay him whatever he wants.

To put ATL on the map for the final series of the year, even if it meant - there's no way we win it. I'd accept that right now (be assured that as soon as that happens, I'm going to probably change my mind), but to be able to go to a NBA Finals game at Philips Arena...well, I'm seriously tearing up right now thinking about it.

thirdfalcon said...

ATL,

So basically you just want to be a championship contender now and screw what happens after that, and especially screw waiting? I feel you, but the last time heads started talking like that it led to a trade for Isaiah Rider.

It's a short sighted focus, but it seems that you already know that so god bless. I'd only say that this core is very young and their is plenty of time to figure out what the right mix is.

I don't see any reason why we couldn't be a contender or even win a championship with Joe as our best player. It would be more of an ensemble team like Detroit, Portland, or Sacto were when they were really good, but it could definitely happen. Nobody ever thinks anyone is good enough to win a championship until they actually win.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, Well, TF - just when I think we're understanding each other - you post this ...uh, I don't even know what to call it. The first thing I want to say is quit trying to take one statement and make it my mantra. I think I've spent oodles of time saying what I want - and make us a contender now (that'd be nice) and screw what happens later (uh, where'd you get that?) wasn't what I said. EVER.

Now, I think the Hawks organization got it right when the decision was made to blow up the team. Now, the part that was messed up was the actual trade for a nut case, but the decision to change the mix was dead on - we weren't going to win a title with Steve Smith and Dikembe Mutumbo hogging most of our salary.

The same applies here - it's quite long-focused b/c the team admits that it may take a minute to get all the pieces necessary to win a title, but acknowledges that you won't win it with these pieces as your primary pieces. So, I'm saying that if your best piece is Joe Johnson - you aren't going to win a title.

And the reason is - if you tie up that amount of money in JJ and your young core doesn't become better than JJ (or even equal - if you use the Detroit example), then you don't have the ability to sign anyone to augment your lineup. All that said, the reason that Portland, Detroit, and Sacto didn't win titles because an Alpha Dog wasn't there to push them over the top (JJ isn't as good as Rasheed, Webber, or Roy are at their best). The Piston team that won was a major exception to the rule - I don't want to build a team on the exception. I'd like to do it on the rule. So, again - let's not have disagreements on what isn't even conventional wisdom. I see several reasons why we can't win a title with Joe and most of them are focused on - he's not good enough to lead us to a title.

So, I don't think there's anything short sighted about one thing I've said. You are welcome to your opinion on it, but the only thing I think was asinine is that last sentence. Sorry, but I don't think there have any outright surprise NBA champions in the last 30 years. You KNOW who has a shot at a title every year.

thirdfalcon said...

No mantra taking here. Stop overreacting. I read this

"I'd even take an Eastern Conference title right now. If that was our ceiling, I'd be fine with saying - you know what - he can get us to the Finals, pay him whatever he wants.

To put ATL on the map for the final series of the year, even if it meant - there's no way we win it. I'd accept that right now (be assured that as soon as that happens, I'm going to probably change my mind), but to be able to go to a NBA Finals game at Philips Arena...well, I'm seriously tearing up right now thinking about it."

and thought that you really want to get to the finals, and consequences be damned. I didn't say that that's your philosophy on team building, or that you'll be satisfied as a Hawks fan for the rest of your life if that were to happen. Just that in the moment you wrote that, that's how you felt.

As far as my last statement, I was refering to individual players, not teams. They said Garnett could never win a title for years. Ditto for Kobe (without Shaq). They say it about Dirk despite the fact that he probably would have won one if it weren't for terrible officiating in game 5.

I see where your coming from in the money for Joe because it's a fear I share myself. But it's a bit melodramatic to say that there is no way to ever win a title while your paying Joe 16 million.

Also I was talking about the late nineties Blazers not the current ones. but I wouldn't say that sheed was ever a much better player than Joe.

Anonymous said...

Once again, No, YOU opined that those teams were going to PASS the Hawks rather than merely close the gap.

Yet another attempt at self-aggrandizement.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Anonymous, as I noted to TF, I don't have a problem with disagreement on items, but where the facts are laid bare - make sure you are right. In this instance, you are 100% wrong. I did not opine that the Hawks were passed by anyone.

Because my myriad of comments and posts since then escape your comprehension beyond reading one sentence and running with it, let me say it again. ON THE FIRST WEEK OF JULY, I made a statement that our lack of offseason moves that address our weaknesses would likely result in our losing our 4th seed AND that at that time - we are looking at the 8th seed at best. That was based on the team we had at that time.

That team at that moment didn't have a signed Bibby, Pachulia, Williams, Joe Smith (potentially), or Flip (which isn't going to happen), so I said what was the impact of not making moves to fix our problems...and that was 8th seed at best on the FIRST WEEK OF JULY. What I don't understand is why you seem to be stuck there. I said that I hoped that would change (and in a few ways it did) and I said that I would reassess in August (which I did).

I haven't ever made a prediction about what will happen to the Hawks next season (that's coming after training camp) - I did say I was concerned about where we were headed in comparison to other teams that were behind us based on the offseason moves being made by others. In other blogs since that one, I noted the 'gap being closed' that I referred to in this blog.

So, again, I say to you - critique whatever you want on my blogs, but if you're going to try to stick me on something - know what you're talking about. Be right - don't think that your misrepresentation or lack of understanding of my thought process put you in a position of being dead wrong. Don't read one sentence and think that sentence will summarize anything I say. If you read ALL of my blogs since June, you'd see that I've been very consistent about my thoughts.

I'm also sure if you want to pick a phrase from one of those blogs or comments, you can find something that may make you think otherwise, but I feel as comfortable as I did when I said it then that you were dead wrong in believing that the Hawks had few if any challengers for the 4th seed. So, if you're going to stick me on something, then stick yourself on that. I didn't say that your opinions were ridiculous - I said I didn't share it.

To be fair, I love your optimism. I hope I'm wrong and you're right about how to see things, but this is Str8Talk - I'm not going to feed you the company line. I'm going to say what I think and what I see. I'm gonna say when I'm wrong. Sometimes I am - I certainly can agree that some things you and TF say I take the wrong way and I'll admit that (i.e. I took TF's last statement the wrong way and I acknowledge that right now), but just relax on trying to feel like you gotta say 'gotcha' on something you're just WRONG about. And if you think I'm being inconsistent - just ask me what I meant...I think you already know that I'll respond and make sure we're all on the same page. Ok?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Anonymous,

Here's what I know:
1. You're a complete idiot. Only an idiot would come on someone else's blog for the express purpose of being an asshole.

2. It causes me no pain to say I'm wrong about anything. So, unfortunately, I won't get dragged into your muck and mire of saying things that are completely incorrect. I am not always right and I have on several occasions admitted that, but I fail to see why my offseason opinions would cause anyone to take things as far you do. Why comment other than a desire to communicate what and why they disagree with something I said? It doesn't make me less than a man to admit fault, but your response does make you an idiot.

3. I tried my best to keep the dialogue going, but I'll let this be my final comment to you. Any other comments by you will be deleted from my blog.

4. As I've noted to TF, Xavier, and anyone else - spirited debate is welcome. We're not going to always agree. I have a high tolerance for disagreement and ignorance, but I won't tolerate your drivel on a blog that I write for fun and my love of the Atlanta Hawks.

5. Finally, It's unfortunate that you are not smart enough to understand that I said very little of what you think I said. For every 'expert' I posted, I know that there are others who will write that my thoughts are ones they don't share. So, I have no lock on opinion - as I've said SEVERAL times, we'll see how everything shakes out. It's unfortunate that you have some serious issue with the fact that I identified weaknesses and was disappointed that I didn't think we addressed those weaknesses that that has caused you some pain, but please take it elsewhere. I'm not talking to pricks. Unlike most bloggers, I love talking to the readers, but not pricks. There are few things I am certain about, but I think labeling you a prick is one I can lock in with a high level of certainty.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I have remove Anonymous' last comments - not b/c I want to censor you, but b/c I don't want anyone to think that that's accepted here. Spirited debate - welcome. Asshole/Pricks - not so much.

Jesse said...

Goodness, I take off early Friday to take my kid to orientation and this place blows up. Yowserz!

As for JJ and winning a championship, I think it could be done but it would require one of two things. Either Woody gets gone and we bring in someone with a better system designed to use the players strengths, OR, Woodson changes his offensive scheme from the ISO-Joe to something that utilizes all of the players. Maybe Sund finding Woody an offensive coordinator could be part of that second option, but either way he would have to force Woody to let go of the reins.

It's the system that holds this team back imo. Change that, and I see no reason we can't be contenders right now and for years to come.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Jesse, basketball discussions should be the focus of any blowing up...all that other stuff was just the rants of Dick Cheney once he lost his power...

Now, two pieces of information from a self aggrandizer:
1. Sund has not shown any desire to do the offensive coordinator. I asked him about it during last season's blogger night and asked Mark Bradley to ask him again in their offseason lovefest and in both occasions - he didn't say no, but he pretty much said..I don't know what that does for us, but if Woodson wants to do it - we'll discuss. It sounded like GM code for - unless Mike hires new assistants - it ain't happening. And when you put some human nature into the discussion - I think Mike Woodson wants all the credit for any improvements this team makes.

2. Yes, a change in off. philosophy would help, but remember that when we hit the postseason and didn't hit jump shots, there was no defense found on the floor. I would contend that I'd rather see us scrap the defense (and play less Bibby) than scrap the offense. I'd simply run more to help the offense out. I think that adds about 5-7 more wins all by itself.

Don't fret - your suggestions are fine by me, but I'm not sure that equate to a title. Honestly, I don't have a magic bullet for what gets us 'there', but I think that any of these or any area that improves our weak points allows us to move our ceiling upwards. Right now, our current state's ceiling is 2nd round playoff exit. For those who are fine with that and don't want to lose that position, then we should keep our pieces. If not, there have to be changes made. Unfortunately, short of Teague being in a position to play minutes and Crawford showing some defensive presence he hasn't shown anywhere else or even Joe Smith doing something that league vet minimum players rarely do - we're looking at essentially a 2nd round playoff exit team at best. Not what I wanted to think of our ceiling coming out of the offseason.