Friday, October 23, 2009

Alarm At The Gate

We've been clear about our position on the preseason and that's that it's not worth looking at many trends EXCEPT minute distribution. Our belief was (and had been communicated in at least 3 Mike Woodson interviews with my own ears) that the minutes would be distributed evenly and would skew toward the low side for our starters.

Since almost everyone has seen the decline in gameplay over the course of the year by Joe Johnson, the only thing that could make me raise an eyebrow would be high minute output by Joe Johnson. So, until tonight, the belief that a new Mike Woodson was possible has been slightly damaged by the fact that Joe Johnson played 35 minutes IN A PRESEASON game. A game where Jamal Crawford played 31 (but can be excused to some degree since Jamal hasn't played much in the preseason and by the fact that there are no reports of him being overused in seasons past). A game with no serious foul trouble. A game where the guys who can use the most minutes ended up with 20 minutes (Teague), 8 minutes (Hunter), 9 minutes (Morris), or even our youngest Hawks (Osh Smith, Marvin, or Horford - all with between 22-27). So, yes, this blog is longer than this transgression probably deserves, but leave it to one game to produce a rant that reverses all the good will we had engendered for our Season Preview.

Anyway, let's just hope this was a blip in the land of well distributed minutes by our Coach of the Year candidate coach. I just have to keep saying - Yes We Can!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Uummm... maybe you weren't listening good, because Mike Woodson did say he was going to play his starters a little more for the last 3 preseason games.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

correct, I did hear that - I didn't think the jump would be from 20 to 35 esp. when the rest of the starters with the youngest legs are putting in 27 at most. So, technically - you're right, but in the vein of his communication that we're deep enough that he can get Joe some rest - I just figured that getting Joe rest in games that don't matter was high on the list.

My bad on the assumption...

Jesse said...

Wait, this just in...

...Woodson still doesn't know how to manage a game properly, preseason or not.

Honestly though, did anyone really believe that Woody would change his coaching habits after this long? Woodson has constantly said before and after seasons that he plays JJ too much, that he'll get the draft picks more PT, that it's on him to manage the minutes, and every year it doesn't change. I bought no stock in anything he has said this offseason and refuse to do so until he proves that he can grow/progress as a coach during the games.

Xavier said...

I don't see what's the big deal with 1 game? A LOT of players play 30, 30 plus minutes in a preseason game. In the game I watched last night Billups and Anthony played 30 plus minutes. And maybe JJ played 35 minutes is because in the previous game JJ didn't even play 20 min.

So Jesse, I see your in Bash Woody mode already and we haven't even played a regular season game yet.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Xavier, it isn't a big deal if it's one game, but you gotta realize that I'm already skittish about hearing Woodson say many things that he's going to do and then doing something else.

So, I did acknowledge that it could be much ado about nothing, but I also would say that while you can point out other players who play more minutes - none of those players have played as much as Joe Johnson, so if ALL the team played that many minutes - fine, but Joe being the outlier just strikes me funny. It's just like how I felt when Joe was in the game when he got hurt. I was saying just 5 minutes earlier - we're down 30 and Joe just said in an interview that he's tired - why don't we sit him down...next thing I know, he's hobbling on an ankle.

So, it's just one of those things where if Joe gets hurt last night in his 31st minute, I'm saying - why the hell is he out there for more than minutes in a preseason game than the rest of the starters when you KNOW that he's prone to break down in the 2nd half of the season. Anyway, more words on this than it's worth right now, but just saying - I'm not on Woody, just noting something that scares me now in hopes that it doesn't continue. Anomalies happen, let's just hope that's what this was...

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Xavier, Additional note - I didn't even realize that we were playing back to back games in the preseason. So, here's the difference in how it was treated for Billups and Anthony vs. Joe Johnson. Both were on the road for both games. All had 30 plus minutes on Thursday night. Billups and Anthony sat..Joe played another 28 minutes.

I'm not piling on, just saying that there are other examples on how to keep your vets fresh and I don't trust Woodson yet to know how to do it and here's an example of how even in meaningless games - Woodson skews to playing Joe probably about 5-10 more minutes than necessary. If he played 25 yesterday and maybe 20 today - I'd feel more comfortable about this.

Jesse said...

Xavier, is it bashing if it's the truth? I see you're in apologist mode and we haven't even played a real game yet.