Friday, September 4, 2009


Ramon Sessions signs for 4 years, $16M for the Timberwolves. I am only posting this, so that I have something to reference when either a) Mike Bibby is a situational player or worse for the Hawks in year 2 or year 3 of his current contract at $6M/yr or b) Jeff Teague turns out to either not be useful or simply unable to find great utility as a point guard.

Saving 2M for a younger point guard who is on the upswing in his career would seem to be a home run for the Atlanta Spirit, plus it would allow for a lil' DeJaun Blair rebounding. All that and Joe Smith would have made my offseason...but instead we get the gang, Joe Smith, and Jason Collins! Oh well...I surely hope I'm completely wrong about Teague and Bibby (or for that matter, that Ramon Sessions as a true point guard would do wonders for the balance of this offense b/c you couldn't rely on outside shooting to win games).

Bibby and Teague, you're on the clock....


Xavier said...

or how about c)stays a "good" player on a bad teams (Jamal Crawford?) and never develops an type of an outside shot. And hopefully lil' Blair can make it through an NBA season or two injury free. And ATL, I hope your wrong too. You list all the rewards of moves wanted the Hawks to make w/o the risks.

Bret LaGree said...

Sessions will make less over the next four years than Jamal Crawford will over the next two. If you're an NBA GM, you don't want to be on the bad side of a comparison to David Kahn. I give Sund credit for getting an average player for Acie Law and Speedy's contract but still we could have maybe gotten Sessions, Nate Robinson, and DeJuan Blair for the Bibby/Teague/Collins money and still had Speedy's expiring deal to use in a trade, maybe paired with Childress's rights to get a player worth $10 million a year.

As an aside, it's nice not to be the least optimistic Hawks blogger for once.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Thanks, Bret...I never wanted your mantle, but I've hate feeling like we took the sucker deal when we could have used those assets to really make our team take a leap forward this offseason.

Sure, there's risk, but I'll take risk in trying to address our weaknesses vs. taking the risk in being relatively status quo. Anyway, thanks for leaving me a reason to be sad as I go into the Labor Day weekend.

Drew Ditzel said...

not going to argue the logic put forth by y'all, but i will say as long as woodson is the coach a pg that needs to dominate the ball to be even kind of effective and cannot hit the three point shot at all is going to fail miserably under our coach (or with joe johnson as the main offensive option).

Sessions would have been a good deal, but a horrible fit. not saying crawford is ideal. but sessions and joe johnson backcourt would have been oil and water.

also, if you are going to bring up expiring contracts. Crawford's will be one next year when the hawks stand a chance to be even better and an added piece will be more valuable.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I'd beg to differ on it being a horrible fit. I'd go with not ideal for this current offense scheme, but horrible fit would be a stretch overall. If Woodson would try to force fit Sessions into Bibby's role as a shooting PG vs. a distributing/driving/defending PG, then yes - it would be less than ideal, but I also think that would overwhelmingly prove the point that Woodson lacks the coaching acumen necessary to continue to be employed by the Atlanta Hawks.

The idea that our team will win consistently with a perimeter oriented, 3pt shooting team w/o some extraordinarily dominant inside presense is just folly. So, my expectation would be that we'd put in an offense that actually utilizes the strengths of the players we'd have. That would mean screens for JJ, that would be dribble drive with dishes, that would mean shooting open mid-range shots, and that would mean pick and rolls with Horford and Smith. So, if that's what we were doing - I'd say that's a better, sustainable, playoff-tested model for winning games.

Your point about Jamal Crawford is well taken. I think the only thing I was looking at was an attempt to significantly improve the team's talent with someone who could start for this team now. The fact that we made this trade for a backup shooting guard distresses me greatly. If Jamal becomes 6th man of the year, a 17-18 pt scorer, and significantly reduces the wear and tear on Joe Johnson, and does anything to improve our defense, then I'm a fan of the trade - history just tells me that that isn't something I should expect - esp. the defense.

thirdfalcon said...

And in the defending Woodson department, I have to point out that he's never had a point guard who's game is suited to a drive and kick style offense. So we really don't know that bringing in Sessions wouldn't work with Woodson as the coach.

Doesn't mean I'm on board with bringing in a guy with no ACLs though. Nor do I think it was necessarily worth the risk of signing Sessions to an offer sheet way back before the Bucks got Hakkim Warrick, and used up the cap space they seemed to be clearing out to re up Sessions. Not to mention the risk of bringing in a headcase like Nate Robinson.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Here's the one thing I would take some issue with - you have been very clear this offseason about your fear of risk and whether certain things would or wouldn't work with's my only answer to that:

The coach is supposed to take the players they have and make them work. It's not a pro-Woodson statement to tell me that he's never had a drive and kick PG (I'd argue that that's who Acie Law was, but let's not fight that fight again) b/c if that's the case - that would presume that Woodson couldn't coach Tony Parker, Jason Kidd, Derrick Rose, and several other PGs in the league who happen to be devastatingly effective without a 3pt shot (though Kidd has gotten better behind the arc as he's aged). If the only types of PGs that we're comfortable with are stand around the perimeter 3pt shooting PGs, then we are severely limiting our pool of players AND it gives me less confidence that we can do anything with the supposedly lightning quick Jeff Teague if he can't hit a 3pt shot. Not only that, the offense we run currently hasn't been effective in the postseason in recent memory, so the risk to me is to continue to run it vs. changing our offense to be more playoff friendly.

Anyway, I just want to make sure you are on point with your analysis. There's risk in every move a team makes - there's risk that Crawford will make our defense worse, there's risk that he'll make it even more difficult for our front court to score the ball (and there's plenty of evidence that Woodson is ok with a heavily perimeter dominated offense), so to pick out that he never had a drive and kick PG and that it presents a risk rings a little hollow. The coach is supposed to be able to take talent and make it work.

PS It was very clear from the beginning of the offseason that the Bucks were not going to mess up their cap space for 2010, so the Warrick signing had nothing to do with not signing Sessions - Warrick has a one year deal, the Bucks would have matched a one year deal for Sessions, so I fail to see your logic regarding signing Sessions unless your assessment is that Bibby will be better than Sessions over the life of the contract. If so, your stance makes sense (whether I agree or not). Otherwise, it doesn't make sense to not attempt to get the better, available talent b/c you are afraid of the risk that it might not work b/c of the coach's offense. Our offense doesn't work well in the postseason as it is, so I fail to see why that is a major deterrent.

thirdfalcon said...

"not going to argue the logic put forth by y'all, but i will say as long as woodson is the coach a pg that needs to dominate the ball to be even kind of effective and cannot hit the three point shot at all is going to fail miserably under our coach (or with joe johnson as the main offensive option)."

The first part of my post was a response to that, as well as all the people that argue that a pass first point with a below average shot could never work in Woodson's offense. The only decent point guard Woodson has had during his tenure has been Bibby. So we really don't know what it would look like if Sessions came to the A. I personally think it would work out fine.

I've actually been a huge proponent for bringing Sessions over since I saw what his stats looked like, how young he is, and that he would be a free agent this summer. However after they traded Jefferson, it looked like the Bucks would have to choose between Charlie V. and Sessions, as they would have had to go over the tax to sign both which everyone knew they weren't going to do. (They were about 5 or 6 million under the tax at the time.)

When the Bucks made it clear that they would not be bringing Charlie back, I got a little bummed out because I thought that they had chosen Sessions, and I suspect that GMs around the league (including Sund) drew the same conclusion. Although I can't be sure he didn't have some inside info that told him differently.

So that was the way things looked at the time. And we had to make a decision on Bibby soon or we could well have lost him with no obvious candidates to replace him.

It turned out that the Bucks had really chosen Hakkim Warrick, and we could have had Sessions all along, but the way the landscape looked not resigning Bibby when we did there was a strong chance of that either Teague or Crawford would have been our starting point on opening day.

So I was not saying that the fact that Sessions is a drive and kick guard is a huge risk. Just the opposite. The risk was that if the Bucks had matched our offer, and likely take a week to do it, we could have lost Bibby while our pants were down.

Seriously, do you even read anything I say? What would make you read any of what you wrote into what I said?

thirdfalcon said...

P.S. I basically agree with everything in your last post except that it's somehow arguing with something I said, which I didn't. The only part I don't agree with is your assessment of the how the free agent market played out this year, which I think is revisionist at best...

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, I'll apologize if I missed something in the translation - I guess when I saw the 'defending Woodson' part, I assume that you were saying how would we know if Sessions could work here.

Your comment was puzzling due to the fact that I thought you were ok with bringing in Sessions over Bibby, so we're togetehr there. Now, that said, I do think we simply disagree with the Bucks situation. Your analysis is not any less assumptive than mine. You could be absolutely correct that (and I've admitted as much) we could have made an offer to Ramon Sessions and Bucks match and while we're signing him - someone signs Bibby.

That could have happened, but there are some key areas that are missed. First, Warrick wasn't released from the Grizzlies before this happened (doesn't change your answer, but I wanted to make sure the timeline was corrected). Second, I think I was on record saying - I'd rather go 1-2 years with Teague/Crawford at point than having Bibby at the end of his career. Third, and most important, I never got into a debate with you about this, but if you look at the timeline of Bucks moves over the past 2 seasons they have all pointed to shedding salaries for 2010. They have been as transparent as the Knicks about not signing players beyond this season, so my point about Ramon is that signing to a 2 year contract was all you needed to do to get Ramon Sessions.

There's no revision history to that - that's just following the game that these guys are playing. The reason they gave Sessions a 1 year contract was that his qualifying offer number was much lower than Villanueva's would be and there was a fear that he'd take it. They didn't want to pay Villanueva no matter what. The Bucks would pay Sessions for one season. They are essentially doing what the Knicks are doing with Nate and David Lee (another player we could have signed and traded for with the Speedy/Law contract swap), so I don't think it was a major risk then and I think we can see that in hindsight was never a big risk.

So, I'm not revising anything. I always thought Sessions was in play. Now, I think what scares most of the GMs is that they want cap room in 2010 (Sund included), not Bucks matching anything. So, if we are able to pluck something in 2010, then all's forgiven. If not and Bibby breaks down offensively as history suggests he will, I'm going to look back at this offseason with disgust and disdain.

thirdfalcon said...

Actually history suggests that point guards that rely on shooting instead of quickness age extremely well.

With regards to the Bucks. One thing I learned this offseason, and something I should have already known, is to never try and apply logic to their moves. None of them make sense. Your better off trying to figure out more reasonable people, like Axle Rose, or Micheal Jackson.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, out of curiousity, what point guards do you recall that aged well based on their shooting?

Magic, Kidd, Iverson, Kevin Johnson...none of these guys are great long range shooters. That's not to debunk your theory, just to give me a context instead of you throwing something out there. Also, I think you are dismissing (as was dismissed as well by another blogger's post) the DEFENSE factor. A major component of what I want out of my point guard is for him not to get torched every time a decent point guard steps on the court. That's ok if your offensive output matches or exceeds it, but otherwise - it's just not acceptable if you want to win a title. Since Bibby doesn't bring any other intangibles (leadership, mentorship, etc), I just don't see a reason to pay him $6M for 3 years without kicking the tires on some other options first.

Drew Ditzel said...

Sessions is not known as a great defender. he has a lot of trouble staying in front of quick guards. the defense gave up 2 less points a game with him on the court. that is not good when the guys on the court when he was on the bench were two of the worst defenders in the league.

after watching the best defending pg in the league (Rondo) get torched by Derrick Rose, I am beginning to think with these hand check rules even a great defensive pg always needs great team defensive effort to even kind of be effective. (that is not to say bibby isn't horrible. but no one is getting sessions for his defense.)

and any shooter regardless of position has been able to keep his form at a reasonable level as he has gotten older. reggie miller. steve kerr. brent barry to name a few.

i dont see bibby's ability to quickly release a three diminishing between the ages of 32 and 33.

thirdfalcon said...

I'll add Steve Nash (who actually got better as he got older), Chauncy Billups, Sam Cassell (more of a midrange shooter but still), Derek Fisher, John Stockton.

Another thing. I really don't know where you get off bashing Bibby's intangibles. What do you have to prove that he lacking in those areas?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

I'm not going to try to debate whether or not Sessions is a defensive stopper, though I would say he's better than Bibby and will be better than Bibby for the next 3 years.

Drew missed my point - and that's that..i'm not sure that 3pt shooting is a must have in point guards (so I'm not arguing that shooting disappears, but I'm saying that if you are only a shooter at PG and aren't able to do the other things a PG needs to do - you are a situational player, not a major cog in an up-and-coming team). 3pt shooting is a bonus to be sure, but not a prerequisite by any stretch.

I'd also say that I want my point guard to dominate the ball - that's what point guards do. It's only a negative when OTHER players dominate the ball. I'm not even knocking Bibby for that - unless you are Kobe, LeBron, D-Wade, etc - I don't want anyone but my point guard dominating the rock.

Final point, I certainly will take issue with Bibby's leadership abilities when I haven't see his imprint on any of the negative things that happens with the Hawks or the Kings. I haven't EVER seen him say (other than snapping at Woodson for trying to get on him for passing to an open Josh Smith in the playoffs) anything to Josh, never seen him exort the team to play defense, seen him direct the team to change the plan to focus on our obvious mismatches...basically, none of the things that a good point guard would do when seeing that the team needs to change course, take charge, etc. So, I can certainly bash his intangibles. I repeat - Bibby is an average NBA point guard. It's only that we've had such poor point guard play over the years that we OVERRATE his value to this team. Now, I give him credit for being a good shooter. I won't give him any credit for being a great distributor, organizer of the offense, or worth anything on the defensive end.

So, let's just be clear - I'm not making Sessions risk-free. I do think his upside exceeds what Bibby can provide us over the life of his contract. That's all I'm banking on - well, that and the fact that having Sessions would force Woodson to change his offense (or would make it so apparent that we need another coach). Either of those outcomes would be fine by me. Both would be even better.

thirdfalcon said...

I can literally feel your ego coming through my screen right now, srsly

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

well, you'd probably not know me very well if ego is what came through your screen.

Like I said very early on, what I think I know - I say. If I've proven to be wrong...I'll say that too. I don't have any problem with being wrong - I just have to see it to believe it. I think that will be easier to discern when we have games to balance these opinions against. I don't think we need a great PG to be a contender - I think we need one that does the things that win ball games in the postseason. I don't think what Bibby does well will win come crunch time. So, as an example - Derek Fisher is certainly not better skill-wise than Mike Bibby. He is a better leader, better defender, and better distributor. I'd trade Mike Bibby for Derek Fisher straight up right now. Yes, I believe he'll declining at the same rate as Bibby, but his intangibles are EXACTLY what is needed by the Atlanta Hawks.

Jesse said...

Personally, I would have rather had Jack than Sessions, combined with Acie Law. We could have used Speedy's contract and also done a sign and trade with Bibby to get better help down low instead of the pedestrian Joe Smith. Then we could have resigned Flip. That would have left the Hawks with more room to find another piece now and in the future.

But that's not saying that Bibby wouldn't continue to work in Woodson's system. In fact, I know we've mentioned this before, but the more I look at things, the more I really do believe that Sund is/has essentially removed himself from the blame. He has given Woody exactly what he wanted with plenty of room to hang himself. If this team regresses substantially or gets trounced in the playoffs again, Sund can point at Woodson. If this is the case, then we might get a chance at seeig not only what a different coach could do with the immense talent on this team, but also what a more sound system would produce.

So, in hope of providing some common ground for all here, wouldn't that suit both sides of the fence? From this piont of view, it makes this off season entirely logical ad the correct thing to do right now, and if it doesn't work, it serves as a mean to the end. Everyone wins, and by everyone, I mean TF and Larry. Yay, you are both right! Now shake hands and give each other a Mario West-to-Chris Paul-esque GG!

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Jesse, I hear you and I'm not going to say that your answer is untenable - it is plausible and I can live with it.

That said, I also know that sometimes the up and coming team's window closes too, so this reliance on making other moves in the future is what concerns me. No move this offseason was going to make us NBA champions, BUT I do believe that moves made this offseason could flush our window down the toilet too. I have great fear that another year of Woodson will retard the growth of our frontcourt to the point that we trade Josh before he ever gets any true coaching (and we all know he needs a real coach with a real system that accentuates his vast positives while limiting his major negative (BBall IQ)). I have great fear that we won't develop a killer instinct in Marvin Williams by continuing to make him the 4th option in the offense (Horford being the 5th). I have lots of fear that we're one 'the coach ain't got no contract' blow up from destroying the chemistry and embroiling the Hawks in something that requires major changes.

Or it could be as simple as one injury...uh, think about how up and coming the Wizards were 2 years ago. One Arenas injury and they have been scrambling to get back. So much so that folks here forget how young and good they were. Butler, Hughes, Jamison, and Arenas were as good as any 4 players we could put together and where are they right now...on another coach, hoping that this new mix works. Lots of potential, but lots of risk - THREE YEARS LATER!

That's really the worst case to me. This NBA growth is fragile - any one wrong move can tip the balance in the wrong direction, so that's why I get disappointed when we KNOW something isn't working and we say - oh, well, let's just work with it and see what we can do next year. Some of the comment crew think I think I know it all. That would be completely false - I don't, but I do have strong feelings about the Hawks. There is no other feeling that approaches my feeling that Mike Woodson has done what he was brought here to do and that's let some young players play without a bunch of systems and confinement. The time for that type of coaching is over (was over last year) and now the team needs a winning strategy, not what we have now, so that's why I always say - I don't want to watch a movie that has an ending I've already seen.

Anyway, I'll only change my tune on it when I see it - I fully expect to see a soft team (that doesn't take advantage of its athleticism), has little leadership, has no rebounding, no coaching strategy, and not a lot of defense. For all the great things about the Hawks, those things are just playoff killers. If they prove that they have some of these things, I'll retract everything I've said about the Hawks offseason...

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

one last thing about Sessions (or even Jack for that matter)...people keep trying to compare these guys 1 to 1 with Bibby.

let me be clear about one thing on our PG...the main thing I want from our PG is someone who requires us to change our offensive style and strategy. So, when i advocated this offseason for Jarrett Jack or Ramon Sessions or anyone else of that ilk - it's not to say..hey, they can run the same offense we've always run and how that works well with Woodson. It's not my belief that we need to have a great Tony Parker type guard to get better. We really already have a talented starting 5. You don't always need 5 super talented guys to start a game. We need someone who can manage the game. Bibby does not manage the game - he brings the ball up, then runs that 'run around until we can get an open jump shot' offense. That is what I mean by leadership and game management. I want a point guard who would actually direct an offense (in Woodson's stead) and who can't survive in a run around until you find a jump shot offense.

That would require a change in the offense. Shoot, young legs that can run up and down the court all day in a transition offense would be preferable to what Bibby does in every way (save hit open jump shots). So, that's what I was looking for with regard to finding another point guard. I don't need to replace everything bibby brings to the table or for him to be his equal as a shooter - I need him to be what Bibby isn't and that's a game manager since our coach isn't able to do that for us.

Jesse said...

Same here Larry. My desire for a different PG was partly finance based (turns out we actually got a decent deal on Bibby this time around) because I didn't want to see the Hawks paying 9mil+ for an aging PG with no clear direction on the future of the position. But it was also with the futile hope and wish that with a different style of PG would come a different style of game for the Hawks, since it's clear Woodson has no intention of changing anything from Year 1 to what will now be Year 6 of the Woody ISO.

In fact, if Woodson showed some evidence that he could adapt to changing game situations, or in the least cater his system to the strengths of the players provided to him, I would be more than willing to say that keeping everyone this offseason was a huge success. Unfortunately Woodson has shown no signs of growing as a coach and, in my opinion, this team and it's players have out grown his style by a considerable margin.

You are absolutely right in that this team does have a talented starting 5. I just wish we could see it in action more than we do. Smith, Horford, and Williams would be much better in some form of moving offense versus this stagnant system that essentially forces them to stand around watching Joe play a 1 on 5 chess match for twenty seconds before either the defense makes a move to double team or Joe decides to make a move and drive or put up a long jumper.

Either way, we have what we have and there's not much else to do but wait and see how it all plays out. Here's to hoping we don't regress.