Thursday, January 14, 2010

Game Recap - Wizards @ Hawks

Preamble Ramble

We're going to keep this pretty concise for a few reasons. The game was nondescript. Two players were missing and there really isn't much to glean from this game other than one more reason for us to be puzzled by Coach Mike Woodson. And by puzzled, we truly want to sit with him off the record and understand what he thinks when he does things, then provide some thoughts and see what his responses are. We're that puzzled! Now, before we get started, if you want to get some more detail about how Hoopinion feels about our newest addition, Mario West, click here. For our thoughts, see below.

Game Recap - Hawks 94, Wizards 82

Overall Observations:
  • The Wizards were one of the teams I was concerned would pass us by and after many injuries, disorganization, and most importantly - stupid decisions by their players...the Wizards can stick a fork in their season for the foreseeable future. Anyone playing the Wizards should look out for players auditioning for their next employer and/or contract.
  • That said, I felt sorry for Jamison and not Butler...not sure why, though.
  • I'm happy to say that my concerns in previous years about free throw shooting and turnovers are over. It really is amazing how infrequently we turn the ball over. It's also amazing how infrequently our best free throw shooters get to the line.
  • There's no doubt that Joe Johnson looks like a different player when he's not asked to create his own offense. It's incredible what can be done by a shooting guard when he is properly screened for or moves without the basketball to create open shots.
  • We would like for the light to be turned back on that says - Josh Smith, you are about 3-4 more games away from rediscovering your early season name - Osh Smith. What about 'you are not a shooting guard' that Josh AND his teammates AND his coach that these guys don't understand.
  • We like Mario West the person and the basketball player. We don't like Mario West the Atlanta Hawks small forward who plays before the other 12 players on the team.
  • As we stated this offseason, we don't believe that a team that wants to be a contender for the East or even the NBA can play someone like Mario West and be taken seriously. We still stand by the pledge. Part of that pledge is due to Mike Woodson's seemingly incurable man-love for Mario. We'll address this below.
  • Congratulations to Maurice Evans on the newborn (and by extension, the great timing to have it happen vs. a disinterested opponent at home)
  • Get well soon, Zaza
  • Finally, Jeff Teague - thanks for your 8 minute stint where you played well on offense and defense. Unfortunately, that effort was not rewarded with more playing time, but if it's praise and confidence that you need - please just come here...we have it for you in spades.
  • As a quick notable aside, it was not lost on us that DeJuan Blair completely dominated with a 20-20 game last night. Just sayin'
Str8 Butter Award - Jamal Crawford's 14 points in the 4th will have to suffice for this award.

Starter Kudos/Smackdown -

No awards or smackdowns today.

Bench Kudos/Smackdown

No awards or smackdowns today.

Coaching Kudos/Smackdown

First, this message is not about any game specific tactical errors. There were none. The game was going to be won no matter who we trotted out there. Now, for long term psychological reasons - Coach Woodson, we have problems. We are very aware of your man-love for Mario West. We also believe that you can fulfill that man-love for him by simply giving him a roster spot at best. Mario West doesn't need minutes to fulfill his mission for this team - his work in practice and on tape from last season should be all that you need to prove that energy matters.

That said, we think you miss another important point when you feel it necessary to take a player who has not played one minute ALL season for any NBA team and give him 12 non-garbage minutes over players who HAVE logged all the time and in one specific case needs minutes to develop into your FUTURE point guard. On a night when you're shorthanded, if I'm a reserve - I would rightly believe that I'm going to play before a guy without a discernable basketball skill. So, you may want to boost Mario West's confidence, but what about Jeff Teague's, what about Randolph Morris, what about our vets Jason Collins and Joe Smith who haven't played much. You can't tell me that they watched Mario West and, while being good guys, might be thinking 'hey, I wish I was getting those minutes since I've worked hard all season to get them.' Only Randolph Morris can look back at last season and some friendship with Mario and say - no worries, have my minutes, but the other guys have no allegiance to Mario and certainly will factor more prominently in the Hawks' success on the court than Mario. I like Mario - I love his drive and wish him success, but to see Jeff Teague play well and NOT play in the 2nd half is what I've been so worried about with Coach Woodson - there were tangible and intangible reasons that he should have been in that game for much longer than Mario last night. Sure, I'm probably making more of it than it will be, but it's what always worries me. People say - how do you lose a player? Last night is how you lose a player...when he sees a guy's favorite player get signed and then usurp all the good work when it was obvious he wasn't good enough to make the roster that had been done to date. If I'm a reserve, I'm not feeling good about that development and short of the coach communicating a good reason for that - then call me concerned.

Str8 Talk Love

N/A

Season Prediction

Same 'ol, same 'ol...50-32

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