Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This Week's 5 Truths

Last week's 5 Truths had so many page views that we had to bring it back.  The people have SPOKEN.  So, let's get to it.

As always, all criticisms come after blaming the Atlanta Spirit Group first, management second, and then coaches and players.  Those criticisms come through the prism of winning championships (or the things that result in championship team building).

Truth 1.  The Hawks Trade Was A Net Negative

So, since everyone wants to hedge their bets on this trade of Bibby, Evans, Jo. Crawford, and a first round pick for a moderately above average point guard and a below average post player - let me be the most clear about what this trade means.  In a nutshell, it's simply further proof that the Hawks organization either is financially motivated in the most inept way possible OR it's the most clear evidence that our scouting dept is the worst in the NBA. It's really indefensible to trade the things you need to upgrade your team.  I'm not sure why the writers and fans are not in full blown panic over this trade.  While other teams are adding depth or cornerstones to their future growth, the Hawks do NEITHER.  Yes, Hinrich for Bibby is an upgrade, but it's not a seed or playoff changer by any measure.  It doesn't save you money, it doesn't prepare you for the summer of '12, it doesn't inspire confidence that Jamal Crawford will leave town for a player who can score and not be scored upon at will, and it mortgages your future in absolute terms (unless Pape Sy and Ceyk are the future for this team).  So, in young people's parlance, WHO DOES THAT?  Yep, the Hawks do that. Oh, did I mention that we showed Zaza that we don't believe in him at the same time?  It is a business, but if you are going to conduct it - at least get rid of him vs. having it fall through and have to deal with how to get your best backup post presence to believe that you believe in him.

Truth 2. Buyouts show that the Hawks don't buy in.

Well, another round of bolstering the team depth - whether to fill a need or to buy insurance against injuries - go by without the Hawks addressing their biggest issues.  Competent post presence to help Horford and Smith. Help at small forward. Leadership. Toughness. None of those are going to be addressed by our top 8 players.  So, why not get a player who wants to help a team get over the top?  And what better team than one with open roster spots and space in the rotation (unless Armstrong, Collier, Thomas, Powell, and D. Wilkins are getting in the way of that)?  The only explanation is that we don't spend money wisely OR that we are viewing the title contenders as making trades and acquisitions because they are scared of the Hawks and their firepower. Choose one.

Truth 3. Teague is proving what I already knew to be true.

Basically, in 3 games, Jeff Teague has proven what many of us already knew to be true.  That's that - at worst, he's a worthy backup point guard who can at the very least defend well enough to prevent the sieve like defense on tap when Crawford and Bibby were in the game and at best, he's your future point guard.  Sure, he needs seasoning in the ways of running a team and having the confidence to determine when to take his shot and get others theirs (that's, of course, hoping he can make his shot), but to be clear - nothing has happened over the past 2 years other than show that Teague's CONFIDENCE is what's been sorely lacking, not his ability.  There's not a player in the league that could be jerked around in terms of playing time while watching other players held to a different standard and do much better. Never playing with starters, never playing in critical situations, never being trusted to make a difference in winning and losing. That will destroy any player's spirit, confidence, and impact.  If there's any major criticism of the Drew era, it should be a former point guard's inability to see that and to coach him up appropriately to make a difference for this season.

Truth 4. Defense wins championships

Lots of complaining in the first 3 truths, but this one isn't.  Bottom line, we are damn happy to see the Hawks defending. There are other issues inhibiting the Hawks from winning titles (see opening salvo for review), but it certainly is comforting to see the Hawks respond to the trade by doing more to defend.  It's by no means perfect, but in spurts - it is a sight to behold. (Baby steps, baby steps)

Truth 5.  The West Coast Trip Confirms It

Check out this article, then read this truth.  It's nothing we haven't already discussed with regards to our leadership, but it stinks to high heaven to have the coach and the players lulled into this sense that this road trip was OK in any way.  Sure, I'm probably being harsh considering 2 weeks on the road and a trade that changes the team dynamics, but if you're trying to convince me that winning vs. the Pistons, Warriors, and Blazers is an acceptable road trip for a team that hopes to make noise in the playoffs - consider that a mission failed. Being dominated by the Lakers without a semblance of fight and losing in short order to the Knicks and Nuggets are not signs of promise.  The language of this team still reaks of mediocrity acceptance and so, queue up the excuses we're bound to hear come May after our first round loss.

Bonus Truth:  The injury excuse won't fly.

We hope Josh Smith doesn't have a serious injury.  We hope Kirk gets well soon.  We trust that the rest of the team (the backs of Horford, Williams, and Crawford, Joe's elbow, etc) stays in great shape, but even if we don't - the injury excuse doesn't fly anymore.  The fact that we're 7-8 deep and then, have 5 NBDL level players on the roster after that is the fault of the organization and it needs to be dealt with accordingly.  The 'we're still young and are growing as a core' has been obliterated.  Thank the Nets, Knicks, and Heat for that...

And that's the triple truth, Ruth...

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