Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What My Debate Taught Me

I'm so happy that I decided to take on the great Peachtree Hoops in a debate over whether we should start Jeff Teague over Mike Bibby and more than anything it's this....

Atlanta Fans hate change! Abhor it! Are Scared of it more than H1N1!!!!

Now, I already know that Jeff Teague isn't starting for this team unless 2 of our three guards (Joe, Jamal, or Bibby) get hurt and I even got the impression that if that happened - Maurice Evans (and there's even some thought that Mario West could sneak ahead as well) would get the nod. So, I get it - Jeff's not starting, but the prospect and imagery of him starting has spawned all kinds of things from the fan base in the comments fields for Peachtree Hoops. Most of the supporters did the one thing that started the thought in my mind - can we win a title with Mike Bibby? Now, my assessment is NO! So, I proposed something that leads to the path of winning a title. I don't know if Teague is the answer - I'm not going to say that he is, but I certainly want to find out if he's a core player or a bit player. Mike Bibby is not a part of the core of an Atlanta Hawk championship team this year, next year, or the following one. SOOOOOO...why don't we figure out who is? I know that there are all kinds of things to consider - Woody's extension, Joe's signing, Al's re-signing, the Spirit's coffers, Teague outright sucking when the lights are turned on.

To me, the sooner we find out the answers to those questions, the better, but only one can be addressed now and that's Teague's minutes. I think we got some agreement that Teague should have more minutes and we can debate whether that has to happen at the start of the game or not. The funny thing is - if many want to see him play with the starters, then why does it matter whether that's to start the game or not? Is that really affecting the course of each game? I'd make an argument that that's the time when you are least affected by it. I've been clear about saying starting doesn't mean 30 minutes a game and that I'm not asking for 4tr qtr minutes. I'm asking for more minutes with the players he is supposed to lead.

How is this something that's laughable? I have ZERO problem with disagreeing with my answer of Evans and Teague to solve some of our defensive and offensive balance issues. I have ZERO problem with you highlighting what problems this creates. But I have problems with skewing the actual stats (all of them) and not having an answer that addresses the roadblocks in the way of us winning a title. We can't win a title without better perimeter defense We can't win a title without being able to run a better halfcourt offense, particularly in the 4th quarter. We can't win a title if we don't play to our strengths (transition, athleticism, etc). We can't win a title with only 8 players. That's really what is underneath my post - and if you aren't playing by those rules - fine, but just know you're playing a different game than me.

My game and goal here is to talk about the things that matter regarding our ascension to NBA titlist. So, nothing has changed from when I was asking for minutes from Law, from Shelden, from Josh Smith and Childress, cutting Mario West, or any move that isn't about a title. So, a championship seeking move is moving Teague into the starting lineup - which should be confused with me saying that's GOING to win us a title. I just know what isn't going to win one and that's having Bibby as a main cog in the program. And the vitriol thrown my way (not by PH) for suggesting this only suggests what I already know - Hawks fans are so happy to be winning again that they don't want to tamper with that regardless of whether it means we'll lose in the 2nd round for the next 2-3 years or not. They don't want to upset the apple cart, but what Sund should be saying is - we still have more work to do on this roster.

He almost said as much in our interview with him - that he was SURPRISED that we're doing as well as we're doing. He knows that we have more work to do. I wonder if the fan base realizes this as well.


rbubp said...

The fan base at PH has some actual idea that upsetting the apple cart for something as low-impact as Teague's development right this very moment (versus later) can be much more destructive than you appear to understand. You argued for Law; he sucked. You argued for Sessions; he sucks. Now you argue for a rookie who can't shoot and turns the ball over too much, not because you think it will mean wins but because you think it's ok to sacrifice this year.

Let's talk about change in the NBA-- How much has Elton Brand helped Philadelphia? How have Detroit's changes worked out for them? How much difference has Andre Miller made for Portland or Baron Davis for the Clippers? How about Turkoglu to Toronto?

The vast majority of actual, real, substantive change in the NBA happens by drafting or signing a true superstar (or stealing two of them, in the Celtics' case). The Hawks have just plain gotten lucky the last few years, that's it. And you think it's trivial and easy to tinker with that?

Obviously it has to be done eventually, because a championship IS the goal, but please do not insult everyone by acting as if they have no idea what they are talking about regarding this issue.
Your own track record suggests you be a sh*tty GM, by the way.

Vishal said...

I actually agree with you. We need to find out if the rookie is a starting caliber point guard or rather if he can be a starting caliber point guard on a championship team...sooner rather than later.

A few points I disagree with you on though:
If you put teague into the starting lineup now you are kind of throwing away this season. I know you said the hypothetical is that it doesn't affect team chemistry but lets be honest it does. The starting spot holds a certain're telling me this doesn't affect bibby? and considering that he's a popular guy in a leaders role in the locker room that in turn it doesnt affect the team?
I know the odds of us winning the championship are slim to none...well v.v.v. slim to none. Still I'd like to see how this team does. We might not even have the same team next year.

Secondly, I don't get why starting teague is important? What's wrong with letting him start the third quarter if bibby's not doing well?or giving bibby a few more games rest against the bad teams and THEN starting teague. PLus obviously extending teagues minutes.

Now you might say woodson wont give him enough minutes unless he is starting and I will in turn say woody would never start him. My point being if you can imagine a hypothetical where teague starts, I can imagine a hypothetical where he gets more minutes with the starters WITHOUT starting the game.

Bottom line: I don't think it's necessary for him to start to see what we want to see about teague. And starting teague is not going to be a short term improvement because our first quarter play has not really been a problem!

thirdfalcon said...

What Rbubp said

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

my good friends rbubp and thirdfalcon...I love that you finally had something to say, rbubp. The funny thing is - you still haven't addressed ONE thing that I mentioned. You didn't work with the terms I offered up, but it's cool. No worries - I didn't expect you to. rbubp, it's interesting that you didn't mention all the parts of the discussion. So, I have no problem with saying you're right about some things this offseason..Brand hasn't changed their fortunes. Toronto, on the other hand, has been one of the hottest teams in the league over the last month, so I don't know what Toronto will do. I don't care what Andre or Baron have done for the teams they are playing for now - I only care about what they could do for us, so what's your point.

Interestingly, I have said nothing about the only thing of substance that you said which is about how change happens - I never debated that with you. I simply spent the offseason talking about what might make us a better team. On Jamal, i said I was wrong. On other players, I'm not sure we can call me wrong. Or you right. Blair is a better player than Teague based on what we've seen. We don't know if Sessions is a better backup or starting option yet, do we? So, your he sucks answers are meaningless. Point being - where are you guys on the things that I have said - which is Bibby isn't the answer? Period. I was right about that in the offseason. Signing him to a 3 year contract - is that the answer. Let me know, so you aren't just Monday morning QBin' on this.

My only insult is that you haven't said anything about what you think makes us a championship team. I have been in the fight. I have said LOTs that calls out that I know SOMETHING. I ain't a GM, never said I wanted to be one. But if I was - I would have put the ball in Al and Josh's hands a while ago and what have they done with it - ALL STAR SHIT! So, don't come at me with the things I'm wrong about and then forget what I've been right about. Say - hey, I think Teague should be used in this way or Bibby should be used in another. I have no problem with that. I made my point and I have no problem with disagreement, but come with alternatives, not BS like you normally do. Just criticism for criticism sake b/c I don't agree with your points. I can disagree and still respect that you have a plan. Since I've met you, I can't say that I get your plan, but I know that my plan still has merit b/c the plan that you seem to be on board with isn't winning us a title, so it's ok to say - hey, Larry - I respect what you say, but I don't agree and here's MY answer, but just saying shyt for the hell of it and cherry picking times to speak up is weak. And that's just how I see it...If I'm missing something, call me out on it. I can take it, but don't come on my blog or PH's and try to make it seem like you have a plan. I never said sacrifice a thing - I said Bibby can't play D and isn't shooting, so put in a player who is supposed to be your future and let him show us that he's just that. You can make the argument that he can't shoot, but you then lie and say he turns the ball over too much without any data to prove that and say I said sacrifice this year.

That's not what I said and you know it, but it sounds good to say. So, that's why we butt heads - not because you can't make an argument that would make me think, but because you aren't really trying to have a true debate - you want me to believe what you say is true. I don't want PH to take my words and believe them and I don't want you to either. I want you to hear it, then provide a cogent, lucid clear counterargument. That's it. When you do that, come see me.

Jesse said...


Are wanting Teague to start the rest of the yer, or are you wanting Teague to get a few starts to see if he can handle it? I'm in favor of option b.

The Casey said...

The Hawks' this year have the 3rd-4th seed and about a 10% chance of making the E. Conf. Finals whether they start Bibby, Teague, or sign Ilgauskas and start him at the point. The suggestion isn't for this year, but I don't really see what you're sacrificing by starting Teague. I think we all agree that Teague needs more minutes, and whether he starts or not, it's easier to get him those minutes early in games, because then you have more time to make up for a bad performance. Alternately, if he plays well, Coach Woodson can extend his minutes.

Of course, this is all moot because we all know that Teague's only going to get minutes if someone gets hurt or if the seeding is set and Coach Woodson is resting players.

rbubp said...

Atl_hawk_luv, You know that if I had addressed your points one by one you would have told me that I wasn't reading your blog fully and that I shouldn't try to separate out your comments--just like you told Xavier about two days ago.

One thing I'm going to note is that, again in one of those posts I don't read and shouldn't try to comment on--unless you tell me I should, like today, of course--you mention that the Hawks have no shot at winning a second-round series. I'm not sure I am confident they will win, but saying they have no shot at all doesn't strike me as accurate either. It would seem that your entire argument is based on this assumption.

Now, does that count as addressing one of your points, or should I stop trying to pull things out when I haven't read 100% of your spew?

rbubp said...

By the way, I really do enjoy the lecture on how I need to learn to properly read this blog whenever i come here. It is so very helpful. Does the blog come with an instruction manual?

RivBoatGambler said...

I like the idea of Teague playing with the starters after running Bibby the first few minutes. Both Teague and Bibby need to be played with a short chain depending on performance. Let performance determine the minutes.

Vishal said...


ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Interesting comments folks...I think we've wrapped up this debate, so I leave my final salvo for the always classy rbubp.

So, there's no lecture - I'm just calling it out for what it is. So, I argued for a point that I believe if two issues continued. I continue to believe it to be true. Some of your arguments could actually mean something, but you spend too much time being an asshole and bringing up things you think would make me feel like I'm not more attuned to what happens in the NBA than any other Monday Morning GM vs. just making your points.

So, if it's clarity you want about a point - just ask. The answer to your one good question is - am i basing this entirely on whether we lose in the 2nd round? I am not. I actually believe we could improve as a team this year by making changes to the starting lineup. I think we could be BETTER. Now, that said, it is a major factor in my argument. You are right the Hawks have a shot to win a 2nd round series. I'd be a fool to say that they don't, but REALISTICALLY speaking - I didn't spend time on a percentage shot - I just said we aren't winning it, which is what I believe, so let's get on with the next step. Now, I get that if you don't believe my caveats to be true, then I've acknowledged that you shouldn't do what I'm saying.

In fact, not one person yet who has disagreed with my hypothesis has even disagreed on the grounds that I set for except for PH to a certain degree. The rest have simply said this is ridiculous and then mentioned things I said were the caveats necessary to make this successful. So, let's stick to just debating merits and have fun being Hawks fans.

No instruction manual should be necessary for that.

Vishal said...

One last question, and I think i asked this but it went unanswered. Or maybe you,ve already answered it and I missed it but why not start him in the third? or you know generally give him more minutes with the starters? Is making him a starter important? Why?

rbubp said...

Actually, many people have disagreed with the assessment that the Hawks should "move on" because they aren't winning the second-round series this year--in spirit if not in specific vocabulary. I think it was AtlPaul on PH rather vehemently disagreed with that (among several).

Atl_HawkLuv, would you start Teague if you knew it would hurt the team's chances of winning a second-round series if you also knew making the finals was impossible? Please consider the money the Hawks stand to make from playoff games in your answer.

rbubp said...

"would you start Teague if you knew it would hurt the team's chances"

I'd actually like to be more definitive here: If you knew it would cost the team a second-round series, but they wouldn't have made the league finals anyway...would you still start Teague?

rbubp said...

Also, by the way, as to this point:
"I actually believe we could improve as a team this year by making changes to the starting lineup. I think we could be BETTER."

You're aware that Teague significantly changes the offense when he is in, and he is inability to shoot outside allows the defense to sag in on Al and Smoove. In addition, the inability to shoot outside means that JJ would have to be the perimeter guy, because no one else could stretch the D that way, and that kind of takes away two of JJ's biggest strengths--posting up smaller guards and driving into the lane for a short jumper.

So you feel that with 21 games to go in the regular season, the team is going to be improved despite this--knowing that the threat of Bibby shooting 3's is crucial to the other players doing what they do, and that Bibby's poor 3 shooting the last two months has likely been the single biggest factor in the Hawks' dip in scoring and offensive efficiency?

rbubp said...

Among this obvious issue with Teague's shooting, the question remains: Why did the Hawks again draft a poor (or non-spot-up)-shooting slashing PG? Obviously this kind of player might be ok if they lose JJ, but they would still need someone else to shoot spot-up threes.

I still don't get why they didn't take Toney Douglas, who seems like so much better of a fit with this team. But there is no place in the league for guards who can drive but not finish but also not shoot 3s and long 2s. Teague needs to get better at that quickly. Maybe the Hawks can pry Curry away from the Warriors (lol).

Rondo isn't that good either, Atl. He LOOKS good because he plays with Pierce and the others. Yeah, he's great on defense, but he is still an offensive liability who would be totally exposed on most other teams.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@Vishal, My bad on the missed question. First, the MOST important issue is to get Teague minutes, so I'm not going to say that he HAS to start. It's my cure to the fact we've never really had a point guard since Mookie Blaylock who controlled the game and ran plays. I do believe that to be a crucial component to this team if they are to be titlists. You can get away with not doing that if you have a transcendent talent like Kobe or LeBron or Wade, but every other team that's won - has had a great point guard who knows how to get the team into and out of plays.

I don't believe Bibby is that kind of point guard and so, I want to see if Jeff Teague can be that type of point guard. Not only that, I do think we need a shift in the way the offense is run in order to win a title. So, we need the rookie to gain the respect of the team. That's important. Jeff is going to have to wave off Joe Johnson when it matters, what spots not to pass Josh the ball, etc. And that's why I wanted him starting, so he assumes the role of 'leader' of the offense. Now, I know that it doesn't happen overnight, but it would be the symbolic shift. Now, that's a secondary benefit in my eyes, not primary. As I would say about Law, he was never given the reigns to know if he can handle the team offense. Teague could be worse than Law for all I know, but I want to see him in the role before I definitively say that about him.

So, I don't want to speculate that he sucks based on garbage minutes and spotty reserve time. So, that's the point. Again, not primary and would settle for enough minutes, but I do like the prospect of making the shift happen now. Not married to it, but that's why you write a blog and flesh it out...

rbubp said...

"And that's why I wanted him starting, so he assumes the role of 'leader' of the offense."

That's a nice sentiment, but there is no way that happens with Joe johnson on the team--which it should not, because Jj is the one Hawk who commands two defenders when he gets the ball in position to score. THAT is a necessary factor for a championship--putting the other team's defense at your will by having one guy who cannot be stopped by one defender (and that guy has to be willing to defend a bit too to win it all). Having a PG who drives to the basket is NOT a requirement to win a championship.

The only exception I can think of for winning a title without a two-player offensive presence is Detroit '06 or whatever it was. That teams was exceptional for a lot of reasons (the only team in the last 25 years to win it all without an all-star). Logic dictates that that way is NOT how you win it all despite their one success. I submit that this is why Larry Brown has not won more NBA titles too despite being a "great" coach.

But a team that won without a slashing PG, well, you only have to go to last year to find that. And, oh, well, Phil Jackson's teams have NEVER required that--when is the last time the Lakers went after a Chris Paul-like PG?--and he has won a few titles.

These reasons are why losing Joe Johnson will right off the bat take the Hawks back to a .500 team. The other players cannot command a double-team (Crawford maybe, but he has other flaws) and create opportunities for others. It has nothing to do with Teague at all. In fact, Teague GETS IN THE WAY OF THAT.

He was another poor draft pick and will be gone by the end of next year if A. the Hawks keep JJ; B. teague cannot learn to shoot better.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@rbubp, Love your comments this time (not being condescending)...ok, in short order:

1. I think you misunderstood what I was saying - I'm not saying several agreed that they should move on. I'm saying that because they didn't agree that we can't win the 2nd round series - they aren't even talking about the same premise I am. That's all.

2. I would support Teague starting if it lost us the series and we aren't guaranteed getting out of the next round. Now, I want to keep saying this b/c it doesn't seem to sink through - there are several players that start basketball games who don't play much more than 15-20 minutes and several that play starter minutes and don't start. That's the suggestion I'm making - I'm not making the suggestion that Teague is leading the team at all times or even as a primary guard in the playoffs.

3. Quickly on the money - If I thought the money would change our philosophy of 13 on the roster or that we'd do what we could to go after Wade or LBJ or whatever, then that would be a consideration, but I don't think the money does anything but help the ownership. And that may be a consideration for them and why Teague wouldn't start, but not for my point of winning a title. Great point for why it may not happen, but not a point for the goal of title in my eyes.

4. Changing the offense - for the minutes that he's in the game, I won't doubt that some of your points made, but I'd also say that this is mitigated (at least in part) by a few things - Teague can break down the defense in a way that Bibby can't. Teague can play defense in a way that Bibby can't, so I don't think you can mention all the negatives (real and perceived) without mentioning what positives come with it. And in 15-20 minutes, I don't think it's the death kneel at all.

5. Using Rondo, first, I agree that Rondo is effective because of who is around him, but that's the case for the vast majority of players in the league. Most have weaknesses, but you can't dismiss Rondo's assists, rebounds, and defense. He was the best player for the Celtics vs. the Bulls in that series - his triple doubles were critical. Now, he's not a franchise PG. He's a very good one though. I'd LOVE for him to be our point guard. You seem to only focus on the negatives without discussing how the positives might impact the game and the team. So, you're right about Rondo's jump shot, but to say he's not good is an oversimplification that makes our debates so fun.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@rbubp, Also - I would say you're right about whether Teague is the right point guard to be chosen. Collison and Douglas look like better fits, though I'm not sure that they will be better than Teague ultimately.

I do disagree that you can't learn to shoot better. I've seen too many players improve their games to the point that they can compensate for their shortcomings. Teague can make open jump shots - I do believe he'll get better, but your point is taken.

Final point - I don't want you to confuse what I said. I didn't ever say that it was a requirement to have a slashing PG - I said you need a good one and for our offense, I don't think JJ's game is championship worthy as the #1. He has been shut down by every good team defense, so without more dimensions - JJ doesn't win us a title with his strengths, so part of this is that we've got to disconnect from this thought that JJ is going to win us a title as the best player on the team.

So, figuring out how to get JJ and other players involved with the offense is the only way it works. So, it may not happen (you're right about JJ not wanting to cede that role), but we NEED it to happen. The Detroit method is the only way we'd win a title with our personnel. We know it's unlikely, but JJ isn't good enough to be that guy, so while your model works - the player you have pegged for that role doesn't. One of the things I noted last year and still believe is that JJ can win a title as a Hawk, but only if Josh and Al surpass him as the best players for this team. If they become more effective and better than JJ, then JJ becomes more effective and efficient for us.

I don't fear losing JJ - I fear not having a philosophy that works in the championship rounds. Final note - using Phil Jackson's method is probably not very applicable for the Hawks. JJ ain't Kobe or MJ. Woodson ain't Jackson. Or anywhere, you have to account for that. I didn't say that the Lakers need a point guard, or Cavs or the Heat. They don't. WE do. JJ isn't that good to make up for that. He doesn't get to the free throw line or other things that compensate for that. So, I hear you, but you'd have to use a team that's closer to what the Hawks are - that's why Portland has been looking so hard for a PG - they don't need a superstar PG, but they need someone to make up for the fact that Brandon Roy (while great) isn't Kobe or MJ or whatever.

But I enjoy the convo when we aren't trying to cut each other to size. keep it coming...

rbubp said...

Atl, I'm not saying that the Hawks will win anything with Joe. I've seen those isolation sets in the 4th like everyone else, and Joe's inability to get to the line combined with unwillingess to pass out of the double-team are well-documented.

What I am saying is that replacing JJ will be tough. Despite this late-game flaw, he has everything else you need in that crucial #1 guy--plays D (pretty well, actually); gets others involved; scores from anywhere on the court against any single defender in the league; forces the defense to compromise itself in ways that lead to shots for lesser offensive players. But he doesn't get to the line in crunch time, so I don't know what they can win with him--I just know that they are a very good team with him that will be very bad without him if they cannot find a comparable player to take his place.

Regarding this--"Teague can break down the defense in a way that Bibby can't"--that's true, but it is not a valued factor in the current offensive system. What IS a valued factor for the PG is making 3s. Yes, Teague and anyone else can improve their shooting or whatever else in their game. Let's hope Jeff improves his pretty fast. I like what he can bring if he can do that.

If he can't do that I'm afraid his speed is a bit wasted on this team, which Woody already sees, I'm sure.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

@rbubp, I can dispute anything you said. The only thing that I would probably say is that (and I'm not a JJ hater or disliker) I'm not in favor of selling our future short with Bibby or Johnson if we KNOW (and I get that you may or others may not believe we 'know' anything - my dismissal of Jamal's impact on the team is one example of just how much I don't know) that they can't take us to the title.

So, I agree that the changes do have to come with smart replacements. As an example, the decision to blow up the Hawks in 98 wasn't a bad one - it was trying to resurrect them with JR Rider that was a bad one. It wasn't a bad idea to stockpile draft picks to build the Hawks with - it was a bad idea to not select Deron Williams or Chris Paul or Brandon Roy.

So, I think we agree that Joe is a wonderful player. He's not good enough to roll out there and follow the superstar championship plan. We have to follow the all parts are better than your superstar part method as we are setup and when that's the case I'm saying that if Bibby can't shoot 3s - he's USELESS. I understand your point about Teague and evidence says you're right, but I also think that opportunity and confidence speak to Teague's inability to finish and shoot as much as straight up skill.

That's where my suggestion came from. Not a hardened attempt to blow anything up or to make it seem like I don't understand the ideals you've represented. They are real, but they also have downsides. Any downside for me that doesn't come with a championship ceiling is one I'm willing to forgo. To me, if taking a step backward to go forward is your answer - I can embrace it. ONLY if it is an attempt to go forward though, so I am with you - I don't want change for change sake. I want to see more Teague b/c I think the upside could be worth it (while acknowledging that it could be an epic fail).

If there's anything I have tried to stay away from, it is using this to criticize Woodson, but I think you put your finger on this when you say - player's strengths are of little use in this offensive system. I want my coach to be able to use the talents of all the players. The fact that a player can't make 3s (I won't give Teague a pass on making open jumpers and finishing at the rim ultimately) doesn't make a player bad. Tony Parker doesn't make 3s, but he's a wonderful player. So, that's where I said a benefit of this strategy could be that it makes Woodson either show up as a coach where he manages minutes and styles better OR it exposes him as ineffective.

Anyway, I think agree on more than you realize. I just have some stronger feelings as it relates to what to do if your team isn't trending to a title. I don't care if we are a lottery team or are in the Big 4. I'd rather BE a lottery team to get a better piece than just languish as the 4th best team little ability to get better. So, your points can well taken - I think if you recall..I said that I wasn't happy about our selection of Teague in the offseason. It doesn't matter why other players are now producing, but I'm very concerned when I see Darren Collison putting up 30pt games multiple times. I know why he has more experience, but we should be seeing similar flashes to determine if Teague is even a keeper or do we need another point guard to help Bibby through these last few years. That's all..

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

oops, meant to say I CAN'T dispute anything you said - rbubp...let's not let that turn us backwards.

The Casey said...

You're not giving up on us, are you? Just because some people disagreed with you about one thing? Come on back, man.