Monday, June 28, 2010

What the Hawks Can Do To Win Me Back

I've been thinking about this all offseason and here's what I came up with since we have reached a time in my Hawk Fandom where I need to 'won' back. I said it last year and I'll stick with it - only almost 30 years of Hawks love is between me and wanting to be an Oklahoma City Thunder fan. Yep, my heart of all hearts is dangerously close to moving my allegiance to a team that was STOLEN from Seattle. That's how bad this has I had to come up with some things that would make me feel the warm fuzzy that was always my feeling for my Hawks through good times and bad.

1. Hire a promising, up and coming coach OR hire a coach who has been successful with other franchises (i.e. Van Gundy or A. Johnson). (This test was failed!)

2. Set a value for Joe Johnson that is based on allowing yourself the wiggle room to bring in the pieces necessary to take the next step in your ascent to a NBA title and do NOT exceed it. (This means essentially that you will LOSE Joe Johnson because the value for Joe Johnson is about $10M to the Atlanta Hawks and their budget). Many people want to talk about whether or not we want to keep Joe Johnson, but that question is not nuanced enough. The key is to explain to the fan base that the question should be - would you rather pay the price to sustain your position in the Eastern Conference in the short term OR would you rather focus on raising your ceiling with the understanding that you may have a short term dip to do so. I strongly side on the latter instead of the former.

3. Make a significant push to be a defensive minded team with results. The Mike Woodson era was not as much of a failure for the fact that our offense was limited, but more of a failure that it was masked as a defensive first team without any results to back it up. Simply put, I'd accept a similar offense if we ever had a lockdown defense...that means players have to play better and we actually have to get BETTER defenders.

4. Move to a point guard led offense. Meaning having a point guard who is respected as the leader of the offense and dictates the pace and purpose for the offense. This includes a lashing when the forward and center tries to lead the break or any lack of starting the play from the point guard position.

5. Ownership being honest with the fan base by saying that there is a specific budget for the team and that all parties - ownership, management, and coaching must do a better job within that budget. Which really means - we can't miss. That means you actually have to spend more on scouting and hire the best scouts you possibly can to ensure that you don't miss. Signing Mike Bibby is a miss, signing Marvin Williams for more than $5M is a miss. Letting Childress leave is a miss. Paying Crawford $9M is a semi-miss. The point here is that you have to get Wesley Matthews production from your undrafted free agent, not Mario West production. You have to get DeJuan Blair production from your 2nd round pick, not Pape Sy production. You have to make those pieces count, so that your 12 man roster is full of players that you actually can use. Your D-League usage should be full of players you actually can use to replace players within 1-2 years since you will have to let people go at the point that they will make too much money.

6. Larry Drew gets 45 wins out of a Joe Johnson-less team.

7. Rick Sund is able to get rid of Marvin, Mike, or Jamal's contracts this year in exchange for a useful piece for the Hawks.

This is what would make me come back. Let's go...


The Casey said...

I'm willing to give Larry Drew the benefit of the doubt. At least he's been able to get a good look at what the problems have been the past couple of seasons, and should already have a plan to effect change.

As far as Joe, I'm hoping for a sign-and-trade. I just really think that's going to be the best long-term option.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, I have been clear about saying that Drew could work out, but it's just hopeful...not based on anything other than a good interview. Not about anything that happened in 6 years of working for the Atlanta Hawks. And that's not my idea of inspiring and I would surmise that it wouldn't give anyone but Joe Johnson any reason to want to come here this summer.

So, part of the change is - as much as he knows how to change the team, they know what buttons to push with Drew to ignore what he's saying. I mean if he had so much effect and realized how much change needed to occur - he'd have SOME result for us to point to. So, that's where it is with me. I HOPE I'm wrong, but I hoped I was wrong about last offseason and I wasn't. So, I'm terribly disenchanted about what's happening right now.

Jesse said...

I'm not so sure about that Larry. Drew recently was quoted as saying that "the head coach had the final say" when asked about his offensive scheme so it sounds to me like Woodson had his thing and wasn't going to change it. I understand your point, but there's really no way of knowing that Drew was even given the opportunity to actually change anything on the court. In that sense, Drew is simply an unknown, neither good nor bad.

I will say this though. If the ASG really do intend to sign JJ to that max deal that is being reported, then you can forget about this team winning a championship for the next six years. They will be so financially strapped that they won't have any room to improve. Right when you thought the ASG had done everything dumb they could possibly do, they take it to the next level.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Well, I didn't say I was sure about anything with Drew. My point is he's an unknown hopeful selection, not an unknown commodity that has done things that portend to coaching goodness, so I have to also read btw the lines. What ELSE could he say and still get the job other than - I didn't get a chance to change anything on the court. But didn't he have a chance to change anything else - challenge their heart, find ways to motivate when Mike wasn't, keep the Josh level headed...etc.

So, I have to go to the things he said he was good at and that was player development and that the players came to him and he had great relationships.

My complaint would be - those relationships are so great that no one was getting better...Marvin regressed, Josh regressed during the season, Teague didn't get better (didn't get a chance either), and so on...nothing clicked for the team down the stretch, so I'm not saying that he was the cause, but I don't see ANY reason to give him the job when there is NOTHING demonstrative that he did in 6 years that he can point to. It is not a good endorsement for me to think that for 6 years he was ignored completely even by a guy as inept in my opinion as Mike Woodson. If I saw him once grab a player and say - hey, the disrespect of your teammates and coach is unacceptable, then maybe I'd believe in what you're saying, but I watched him sit on his hands each and every time I was behind that bench, hence my reason for saying - we need a WHOLE new staff and way of life, even on the cheap. It's not like Spolestra learning from Riley. This is like Terry Stotts learning from Bob Weiss.

Jesse said...

That's fine, but you and I both know that the hiring of Drew had nothing to do with skill or ability and everything to do with money. And as such, I'm willing to leave Drew out of it until he proves uncapable at the job.

Plus, this team isn't going to get better with a new coach so long as the team is the same. We need better players if we want to see sure-fire improvement.

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

That's a fair statement on the money deal, which is why I make one point about money and that is - why not just be transparent about the fact that we are running the team on a budget and that everyone is evaluated on their ability to mine talent, develop talent on the cheap, etc.

Kinda the Florida Marlins then just focus on winning in a window and then flushing the team and starting over again and you hire guys who are good at doing just that. So, it's a speculative plan for sure, but it's honest and focused on what we can do. Rather than do what we've done and that's to spend money on BAD things when we do spend money.

Max in Missouri said...

I hope Kobe doesn't rape anymore women. Offer Joe Johnson 5yr/65million.