Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Training Camp Can't Come Soon Enough

Since we are in the malaise where NBA talk must be manufactured, Hawk Str8talk will go ahead and say an official welcome to Joe Smith. May your veteran-ness be a boon to our front court AND to our coach's ability to get his scheme and agenda across.

Other reasons that training camp can't come soon enough:
1. There will be actual things to debate and riff on instead of faux debates and situations. Everyone's a critic in the offseason, but the truth serem comes when things are happening. Let those games begin.
2. There was a recent article that was referenced by Peachtree Hoops about the debate on whether you move your chips in now for a title vs. later. For the details, click here. Now, while this article has some merit, two points should be made from our perspective:
a) You'd have to believe that your core is actually 'your core', so we'd have to believe in Williams, Smith, Horford, Johnson, Teague, etc as your true core players. As much as I love Josh and Al, I'm not convinced that they are cornerstones to a NBA championship team. There are still major holes in their games that provide pause in saying that we ought to continue to invest major dollars in them. Of course, part of that pause is in how the coaching staff uses them, but then that also leads us into part 2 of that discussion - we'd have to also believe in ownership to spend when necessary and believe in management to make the right moves with regards to coaching and the final pieces necessary to complete the puzzle. Again, I'm not sure that I'm sure of much with regard to any of those things to believe that 3 years down the road - we're the team that others should be afraid of.
b) The other important factor is - what makes us think that 3 years from now that these other teams with cash, draft picks, and free agents are standing pat ready to crumble while we either stay at the same level or make an ascent. I am not confident that the LeBrons, Wades, Pauls, Howards, Roys, and Durants of the league are going to be languishing without pieces aroudn them to make them relevant at a championship level. The history of the Hawks is not working for us in a belief that we're going to be building a juggernaut on players and styles that rarely result in championships.

So, it's a worthy read, but with a few holes (what hypotheses doesn't have those, though) many of the things I see, I'm not sure it squares with our front office's demonstrated abilities, but it sure is a nice way to think about our chances in the next few years. Let's hope I'm wrong and it's right. Sitting on top of the East with a young core sure sounds like manna from heaven to me.

And with that, let's get this football season going, so I can have something to do while waiting for basketball season...


thirdfalcon said...

I really think your limiting yourself looking though everything with a prism of whether it will win us a title. I know it's in your mission statement, and it's fine in and of itself. But the goal is to be a contender and then go from there. So much of who wins the championship comes down to luck/match-ups that you will never come up with a magical formula to win a championship.

You've said many times that the eventual championship never comes out of nowhere. That's true and it's not. You can always narrow the teams with that potential to 6 or 7, but after that it comes down to who's playing who and who avoids that key injury, key ejection, or who doesn't (or does) get good calls during that crucial game 5.

So my question for you is this. With the proper coach, do you think our current core has the potential to be a top 7 or 8 team in the next 3 years? If your answer is yes then wouldn't it be more of a matter of reshuffling talent and small(er) tweaks to break into the top 5(ish).

Anonymous said...

So I guess more seriously, and taking TF's comment in stride, it would seem more prudent to try to construct a team capable of winning a title and then continue to try to keep the organization capable of a title every year after that for as long as possible.

But perhaps that is already implied, a distinction without a difference.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, I think it would be helpful if read my statements on this blog as a continuum vs. one blog that needs to be dissected on a blog by blog basis. If you did it that way, I think it would be more clear that I'm not divorced from some of the points you make.

So, under that construct, I have never expected that the Hawks would make the leap to championshp contender this season. What my complaints have been focused on is improving what I believe to be our weaknesses - weaknesses that I think keep you from even being a contender in your conference. That in a nutshell is defense and rebounding and leadership. So, I don't think that appears overnight (or in one offseason) unless you hit the Boston Celtic trifecta (or are gifted a Pau Gasol for pennies on the dollar).

So, I understand the travails of whether you ACTUALLY win the title, but I think I've been clear that I don't think with the proper coach that we have the pieces in place to be a top 7 or 8 team in the NBA right now. That answer is no - b/c we don't have a point guard, we don't play good enough defense, and we don't rebound, and none of our core players (save glimpses from Horford) show the leadership skills necessary to win a title. So, yes, I get that once you get the core right - it's a talent shuffle and tweaking game to put yourself over the top.

I think what I've said all offseason is that we need a talent infusion, not just small tweaks. Now, we may want to see what the core can do in one more season, but it's hard to figure out how it jells when we just doubled down on a point guard that 3 years from now won't be leading it - we can hope on Teague, but the odds that Teague will be the guy are not high esp. if he's given the opportunity that Law was given.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not a pessimist. I'm going to be in Philips cheering our product, but I can't say I'm going into this season believing that the core is even capable of winning a title down the line. Not if Josh can't rebound, not if Marvin isn't a 20pt/gm player, not if Horford is a 10pt/9reb you have a legit question and my honest answer right now is - no, I don't see our core as a top 7-8 team in the future.