Thursday, December 10, 2009

Game Reverb - Bulls @ Hawks

This game deserves no analysis since it was simply a school yard scrimmage that we watched. Anytime, the live Twitter banter is more interesting than watching the actual game (or even going to attend - thank goodness for late night work), then you know you have a blowout on your hands. Thankfully, we've progressed to the point where we're not doubting whether it's the Hawks delivering the blowout vs. being the blowout-ee.

So, we'll eschew the Game Recap format and go to Game Reverb mode...Hawks 118, Bulls 83. Here's my thoughts...
  • Pretty much everyone got in on the fun, so no Mike Woodson complaints today, but we only hope that there was one takeaway from the victory. Using your bench can actually result in an extension of the lead. What was still in contention started to unravel at the point that the reserves were given a chance to extend the lead. Let's hope that this encourages Mike Woodson to continue to play the 2nd team more minutes as not just rest for starters, but as a spark for the team when the starters aren't getting it done. So, yes - if Joe is shooting like my lil' brother - you can SIT him for other options to keep a L off the standings sheet.
  • Get well soon, Joe Smith...
  • Twitter gave me two nuggets - 1) that hoopinion's expectations of joe johnson were raised due to his performance at Dallas to the point that his performance vs. the Bulls seemed to be a big let down (our take: same ol' Joe) and 2) that Lang Whitaker of Slam Magazine (a swell guy he seems) thinks that Teague will get more minutes when he plays better defense (our take: wouldn't he have to be on the court more to determine how good he can be on defense and wouldn't the players ahead of him have to play defense to even make that a fair litmus test...I respect Lang, but I will cling to my thought of Mike Woodson doesn't know how to develop rookies or depth for the postseason).
  • Since Teague and defense came up, might as well say - uh, that was a LeBron-esque swat of Salmons' layup. GTSOOH!
  • A Hawks blowout just goes to show you how quickly players regress to a Golden State Warriors all out offensive assault when left to their own devices. Yes, you have to have a real team playing against you, but there was nary an offensive set run from mid-way through the 3rd quarter.
  • As for our injuries, Joe Smith - sit until 100%, same for Bibby...we can survive without you guys for a week or two. Please just get 100% before trying to trot yourselves out there again. Seeing Bibby with a slight limp is VERY disconcerting. Teague can handle things until you get back...trust!
  • Finally, Vinny - all I can say is...make 'em fire you b/c you might not get another NBA head coaching paycheck for a long time at this rate.
And with that, no conclusions made - just a continued belief that we'll be 50-32 and until we see more coaching and better offensive consistency, that's not changing! Let's Go HAWKS!!!

23 comments:

Lang Whitaker said...

Good stuff, and I hear ya. But before you say Woody can't develop rookies, look at Al, and Josh and even Chillz before he bounced. Woody can develop rookies as long as they play the type of defense he's asking them to play. And thus far, that's what Teague has struggled with. We all know Teague can score, but when he misses a rotation or an assignment and puts all his teammates in a bad position, that's what's hurting his PT. I'm just saying...

Gilley said...

Lang,
Thats what I dislike about Woody the most. His pride and old school discipline hurts his team! When Josh, Al and Chillz made mistakes, he had no choice but to let them play, because there was really no other options. But lately he just overplays his starters when his rookies make mistakes. I see Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby make mistakes all the time but that doesn't stop him from pulling them. He just needs to work on his patience and stop being stubborn and let Teague improve with opportunities, especially with Bibby not 100%!

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Lang, well, I won't say anything about the rotations, but I guess I'd agree with Gilley in saying - you learn it by playing in it. Woody lets everyone else play through their mistakes except his young point guards. This is a growth process. And I would disagree with the developing rookies piece on Al and Josh and Chills - he HAD to play them. If he had played them in spite of other options, then I'd give him credit for that, but he watched them have brain farts all the time and didn't pull them. I don't need Teague to play major minutes - I need him to not have DNPs to see his progress on a game to game basis, not a missed rotation by missed rotation basis - no one learns that way. That's why they are called rookie mistakes - they will happen and as long as they aren't costing us games outside of the realm of the mistakes all other players make, then let him make a few...

Lang Whitaker said...

Hey, you guys are making me sound like a Woody apologist. I'm just telling you what his mindset is. With Bibby hurt, Crawford's getting more minutes. You know, he put in Teague in that Knicks game and he immediately committed a foul off the ball, and he put him in against Dallas to defend JJ Barea at the end of the first quarter, and Barea scored on him immediately. Those kind of plays don't earn Woody's trust. Maybe he should let him play through mistakes, maybe he shouldn't, but that's what Woody's mindset is. And hey, it's a long season -- we're barely 25-percent into it.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Lang, that's fair and I do want to get Woody's mindset. I think it's accurate. I didn't mean to mix my lack of understanding of why he's like that and my desire for him to change into the dialogue. I just want Woodson to see that he can use that litmus test if he likes, but that it really doesn't make a lot of sense unless you use it across the board (i.e. if I can't check Barea, then you put in the starter and he can't check Barea either, then why was I taken out again?).

I'm all for a short leash if it's affecting your ability to win games, but if you were going to win anyway (or lose anyway) - then allowing for a player work through a few mistakes seems like the best way to evaluate what you have. I think your point about Josh and Marvin, etc prove the point. Josh has been a knucklehead of the highest order, but he always got to play through it. He played through the 3pt dalliances, lack of on the ball d, etc and it's benefited him. He has a lot of tape to show on what NOT to do on the court. I just want Teague to have that...and even if he never gets the defense down - there are gonna be nights where his pace and his ability to score may be just what we need (defense be damned) and to bench that off of a defense metric that you can't even apply to 2 of your other 3 guards seems to be short sighted at best.

Xavier said...

ATL I can see your complaint about PT for Teague and lean toward your thinking in regards to Teague/Woody, but I can see the reasoning of the short leash by Woody, if his thinking is this. More times than not, the Hawks offense is better w/ Bibby or Crawford(better shooters which spaces the floor better, so JJ can operate) on the floor compared to Teague(the defense will and has sagged off of him). So when Bibby and Crawford has blown defensive assignments, it's not as detrimental as when Teague blows a deensive assignment because the assumption is the offense w/ Bibby or Crawford can offset the blown assigment better than an offense w/ Teague.

thirdfalcon said...

"Hey, you guys are making me sound like a Woody apologist." -Lang Whiaker

I know just how he feels. lol.

But ATL, could you see that leaving Teague in there when he makes those kind of mistakes sends the message to him that it's ok?

I think this is where we have to remember that he's a rookie, and that this is probably just Woody's way of letting him know what he wants from him. You don't have to agree with it, but you at least have to admit that there is logic there.

I mean, Bibby may not be a good defender, but he doesn't have to be told what not to do. Benching him when he makes mistakes really wouldn't help anything since his problem is physical, not mental.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Xavier, so here's where I agree with you with this caveat - there have already been games where Bibby and Crawford have been off and in those instances, Teague STILL isn't playing. So, I hear you and I've always said that when Bibby is offsetting the bad defense with offense, then he's fine by me. Otherwise, when we need a spark (that's what I expect from a bench, not just a warm body to throw out for 2 minutes while getting your starter a quick rest) - you can play the rookie.

@TF, I absolutely DO NOT believe that that's how you coach. As a former athlete, my coach always let us know when we were making mistakes, but it happened on timeouts, after games, before games, but this early in Teague's career - making ONE or TWO mistakes just can't result in getting pulled because I believe players then play scared to make a mistake instead of playing to make plays. The point is no matter when you start playing Teague - he's going to make mistakes. It's part of the evolution. LeBron, Kobe, etc had to take end of game shots and miss them before they could hit them. Guys have to figure out what they can and can't do on the court. You don't do it from the bench. And to your point about Bibby's problems being physical - correct, and that's why it's not something that can change - a mental problem is something that can change and be taught and I'll just continue to maintain that these problems get addressed through playing, not benching.

Lang brings up two great points for when Teague made mistakes and all I'm saying is - Woody simply has to take him to task, then say ok - go out and show me that you learned and that's not to be done in 5 games from now, it's in the same game. That's how you develop trust. OR when he does great, you leave him out there to show him that you believe in him. I haven't seen that side of Woody either. For all the bad people think Acie did - he did have a few good games, and not once was it followed up with more PT. That's my fear with this. You'll see Teague do well in spurts and not get the positive reinforcement. You all seem to be fine with the negative reinforcement (and I agree with it, just not to the point that you are pulling minutes so quickly), but aren't taking Woody to task with why he doesn't follow good play with positive reinforcement. That's all I'm saying - his consistency with these things is poor.

thirdfalcon said...

There's more than one way to skin a cat is all I'm saying. And all due respect to your high school (or whatever) coach, but plenty of other successful coaches do things this way, and it works well for them.

I'm not saying your philosophy wouldn't work, but surely you don't think it's the only viable way?

thirdfalcon said...

Teague played great tonight, that's how you earn minutes

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF - I'm just going to just respectfully say that no you don't build a player up by giving negative reinforcement (none or less minutes and not giving positive reinforcement (more minutes). So, as we always do - we just disagree on the tactics. I want to agree with some of your assessments, but I'm just saying that I'm not going to agree with the fact that you can develop a player where you pull him every single time he makes a mistake and NO ONE else is treated that way.

Just not gonna get me to agree that that's a good way to develop a player. And as I've been saying - I already know that Teague is good enough to be a backup point guard for this team and the more minutes he gets - the better he'll be. That's all I'm gonna say on that and yes, there will be nights when he's gonna mess up and make mistakes and it better not mean that he doesn't play for games on in. Let Teague play through it like you do EVERY other player for the Hawks in our rotation.

John Taliaferro G. said...

I recently posted this over at Hoopinion, but I thought I'd post it hear to hear anymore feedback.

If Joe Johnson leaves as a free agent in the summer of 2010 (I believe that many analysts have expressed sentiments that indicate he will leave), how do you think Sund will respond?

If they are able to free up cap-space by somehow getting Childress off the books, would any of the big name free agents be enticed to play in Atlanta with a young, athletic Hawks team?

I feel like the youth, energy, and athleticism of the Hawks would definitely be attractive, and other players seem to feel like Atlanta is one of their favorites places to visit, would LeBron even sniff Atlanta? He'd have shooters in Crawford and Bibby as well as strong defense from Marvin, Horford and the newly invigorated Josh Smith. Pachulia and Evans are solid bench role players, and Teague is only going to get better. I'm not sure if Woodson would be an issue, though - I think other coaches like D'Antoni might have a stronger pull in that sense.

I think the Cavs have hit a ceiling and don't have anywhere near the upside of the Hawks. I think LeBron has taken that team as far as he can and I don't think that there is anything in the near future that will change that, even if they trade Ilgauskas's expiring contract for another piece (Unless someone pulls a Chris Wallace and gives them a Gasol for 10 cents on the Dollar).

Moreover, the Knicks are a mess and it could take a couple of years before they could even put themselves into contention for a title. The Nets are even worse, and getting LeBron with another big free agent would might not immediately make them title contenders (even if Lopez continues to improve).

Even if the Knicks can clear enough space to sign another big free agent alongside LeBron, Lee and Gallinari are the only attractive pieces on that roster. They'd have no bench either (even if a couple of old vets sign for the minimum.)

I think that the Rockets are the real darkhorse here but I think the Hawks could be just as attractive. LeBron won't go to Miami either because both he and Wade are too ball-dominant to coexist effectively (although I'm sure they'd make a hell of a run).

Continued below...

John Taliaferro G. said...

I love Joe and I think hes one of the best players in the League but I don't envision him as the superstar-calibar player that could elevate the hawks to a championship (by himself that is). If LeBron truly wants to immediately compete for championships and join a team that still has upside, as well as younger players for him to develop with, then I think the Hawks could be a great fit. I think that the Hawks are just on the cusp of being able to compete for a championship, and LeBron would make them title contenders.

One more important consideration (in my opinion, this might be the most important): Playoff experience. The Hawks already have two years of intense playoff experience under their belt and absolutely seemed poised to make a deep run this year (barring injury). Lee and Gallinari and the rest of the knicks have never played in the playoffs, and neither has Lopez on the Nets. As the past championship teams have demonstrated, one generally must work through the playoffs and struggle before winning a championship (The Bad Boy Pistons, Jordan's Bulls, Hakeem's rockets, all the 2000's Lakers teams, etc, -- even the Celtics big three had significant playoff experience before winning together). While LeBron himself sports some impressive playoff credentials and experience, those Nets and Knicks teams have been irrelevant for so long that I would imagine it would take several years of struggling through the playoffs (after a year or two to gel) before they could ever reach the championship plateau.

LeBron says that he just wants to win championships, and if that's the truth, then going into the Nets and Knicks sputtering rebuilding plans do not exactly seem like the most logical choice. It could take 5 years for those teams to reach any kind of level to make a run in the playoffs - is LBJ willing to wait that long? The Hawks have the playoff chops to compete immediately for a championship.

So, Who do you think the Hawks should pursue? Is it worth even discussing the possibility of getting LeBron?

thirdfalcon said...

If Joe leaves we wouldn't have the cap space to sign another free agent of his caliber for several years, much less Lebron.

Once Joe's Contract runs out and he becomes a free agent, we will have between 5 and 8 million in cap space. That's simply not enough to make a competitive offer for someone like Wade, Bosh or Lebron.

The reason we can go over the cap to sign Joe is because we hold his Bird rights, which allows teams to go over the cap to resign their own free agents. So basically we can sign Joe, try a sign and trade to get a near max contract player, or sign another free agent for less than 2/3 what what we offered Joe this year.

I agree that we would probably be a championship squad with Lebron and minus Joe, but I really don't think it's realistic enough to be worth talking about.

There's a few people that would have an issue with this statement, but letting Joe walk may or may not be the right move long term, but short term it would be a severe blow to our team.

Xavier said...

@ Third, Couldn't the Hawks do 2 things to get LeBron, give up Childress and free up his cap space and then do a sign and trade with Cleveland. We send Marvin which creates about 8 million plus the 5 million when JJ leaves. A max contract will be around what 13 million per season when the salary cap decreases?

thirdfalcon said...

Technically that would work, but I'm not sure why Cleavland would want to help us get Lebron. Losing him could well kill basketball in Cleavland. I would think that they wouldn't be willing to do such a thing.

It would also take more than just Marvin. 8 million is not 125% of 13 million (or whatever). So who else would we have to give up? any other contributor would be a huge loss. the Hawks would be counting on Jamal Crawford in a way that they don't now, and there would be a huge hole at another position. Why would Lebron leave Cleavland to play with Josh Smith, and Mike Bibby, but without Joe Johnson and Al Horford?

Not really a better team than his current one, not a major media market, and he would be the asshole that killed basketball in Clevland. So yeah, I don't see that happening.

Xavier said...

@Third.... How do we lose Al? He is still under his rookie contract so his salary of 4.3 million only increases by 20 something percent next season. And why would Cleveland want LeBron to sign with another team under the salary cap like the Knicks and get nothing in return ? If LeBron did leave getting Marvin is better than nothing. A young player with a decent contract. So we would have marvin's 7.5 mil, jj's 6 mil, renounce the rights to Randolph for example. My only question is this, is Childress still counting against the cap and how much ?

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

First, I'd just like to say this is a great discussion - it's good to not have to defend a position of styles for a change (and yes, I still love you guys, TF & Xavier - civil debate is always welcome)...

I'll come at this from a different angle. One that I had when I was talking about Ramon Sessions - I think it's worth it to attempt to sign LeBron James. It's unlikely he's coming to Atlanta for a multitude of reasons, but I think assembling our best package (and if that means - we can't offer the most money, so be it) to just let him know what we offer and see what happens.

As LeBron said, it might not be money that's the deciding factor. I think we need to start getting in the habit of competing for the best and expressing why Atlanta, our organization, and our team provide the best option for ANY player. So, Wade & James should specifically be pitched too. NO offense to JJ, but we can lose a couple of pieces and get significantly better with those two. Partly because the vet pieces that you need to fill holes would then start to come here just to win a title. So, that's my argument for putting together a package and I'll simply say - it doesn't matter who we lose if we get LeBron. LeBron took a JV squad to the NBA Finals - whatever we have left is enough to build upon. He's that good and worth that much to any franchise.

thirdfalcon said...

Until we renounce his rights, We have to deal with Childress' cap hold which I think is equal to his qualifying offer (not 100% sure, but it's in the ballpark of 6 million.) This stops teams from signing a free agent before they sign their own free agents as a way to circumvent the cap.

So if you have 45 million in payroll committed for the next season and the cap is 50 million, and you had player x coming of the books with a cap hold of 5 million. You couldn't sign any more free agents for anything more than the veteran's minimum, or your midlevel exception(5.8 million) or the bi-annual exception(2 million) until you renounce the rights to player x.

We haven't renounced his rights because we are hoping to sign and trade him, but if Hawks brass decided to sign a free agent and the cap hold was stopping them from doing it, we could always renounce his rights then.

As for Al, i was using him as an example for who would go along with Marvin. It might not be him, but it will be another major contributor that would make us much weaker. The main point is that we wouldn't be just trading Marvin. It would be Marvin, and Al. Or Marvin and Josh. Or Josh and Al, Or Bibby, Al, and Crawford. You get the picture.

Any of those trade would still be worth it for us, but they would all make it not worth it for Lebron.

It also assumes that he would be willing to sign for less money. In a scenario where he comes here in a sign and trade, He would probably be signing for the maximum that Cleavland can give him which would be something like 18 or 20 million.

I don't see any compelling reason for him to come and play for a team that's supporting cast isn't really much better than Wade's current supporting cast, isn't a major media market. And when he would be remembered as a villian for striking a mortal blow to an entire NBA market.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@TF, only two comments...
1. Unless you are referring to LA & NYC, Atlanta is a huge NBA and media market.
2. LeBron won't be a villian. Villian to Cleveland and Ohio, maybe, but not the NBA at all. There's ZERO mortal blow that's struck by LeBron going to another team of his choosing. Pick any other huge free agent that's moved in NBA history and recall when there was some mortal blow and get back to me.

Xavier said...

@ Third I see what you mean now. I guess more wishful thinking on my part.

@ ATL I agree with you though. If Im Sund, Im going to management to see if thats the route they are willing to go, then Im working on presentations to Wade and LeBron right now. Have all possible cheaper free agents mapped out needed to replace Mo, see if JC can be moved for talent to compliment either superstar, etc. Our core of Horford and Josh is better than the Knicks and Cavs without LeBron I think. Who knows? I know it's a different sport but even Green Bay signed Reggie White.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Xavier, and if I'm Sund and the management says no - you know they aren't serious. Cleveland was worth about $200M less before LeBron, so it would be the best money ever spent if they get LeBron or even Wade to make this sell out city and bring up the national exposure and worth of the team as well as the annual revenue. Bottom line, if they say we aren't interested - we know what kind of ownership we have.

thirdfalcon said...

Hey, I'm all for getting a proposal together for him. I just wouldn't get my hopes up is all.