Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Talking Off-Season With Drew of Peachtree Hoops

Drew took some time to talk with us about the Hawks. Make sure you check out Peachtree Hoops. It's a great Hawks blog.

1. This is from the Basketball Fiend (also see their blog): Who is a bigger free agent priority? Marvin Williams? Or Mike Bibby (written before he re-signed)?

Now that Mike Bibby is signed, I am going with Marvin. Sorry I am a slacker so that this question can be answered..

2. Do you think Mike Woodson can be the coach of a title winning Hawks team? I myself haven't loved him as coach and question if he's the right coach to lead them to bigger and better places.

Who is asking this question and where can I find their optimism? Just to answer it as a hypothetical makes me feel better about the Hawks. Most people would mock me for even bringing up the idea that the Hawks are only a piece away from contending let alone winning.

But in my wildest dreams where I suspend all kinds of reality (like the fact that the Cavs and Lakers exist) not even Mike Woodson can make it into this fantasy land. He simply lacks the capability to manage a championship roster. Woody has never shown an ability to take advantage of mismatches or motivate players in any way that millions of dollars and a loud crowd don't already do already. The forced entry into a final year of his contract after a great year last year does not bode well for his long term future with the team.

3. What were your impressions of the Jamal Crawford move (trading Speedy Claxton and Acie Law for Crawford)? Does this put the Hawks in major sleeper status in the East?

Woodson runs a guard heavy offense. I think Josh Smith sometimes jacks up threes in attempt to be part of the fun. (Oh I kid so not to cry). If Flip Murray does not return, Crawford can do a lot of the things Flip did with more size and stronger track record of putting the ball in the hoop come crunch time. His salary come 2010-11 scares me, but a slightly above average season for Crawford could be a serious upgrade in the back court for the Hawks this year. Plus anytime you trade your junk for a legit rotation guy, it is is tough to be anything but excited about.

4. Assess the Hawks offense. From what I saw, basically all they run are iso's and high pick and rolls. There really isn't lots of movement. Where does their offense need to change in order to make scoring easier for them?

Ummmm....Joe Johnson right and Joe Johnson left? Seriously, you are right. It is an extraordinary amount of iso's. Which as a general offensive strategy, I have no problem with. Lets be serous, the NBA is a lot of one on one basketball. The Hawks problem is that the isolation's are never dictated by match up advantages and rarely see quality ball movement out them when a double team comes. The Hawks athletic, long line up creates mismatches. If they can push the pace, give the front court more looks inside, and attack the mismatches with a willingness to pass out of them when the double team comes, the simplistic offense would actually work just fine.

5. From docfunk: Whats the long term plan for Josh Smith? Is long term measured in years or weeks?

At some point, all the talk about how good Josh Smith will be in a few years to what he is going to be as a player next week. Josh still drips with potential. He simply chooses to not take advantage of it leaving us Hawks fans to talk about how good he will be in a few years. In reality, it may take a new coach for the plan to have a true end date. If Mike Woodson could not get Josh Smith to stop shooting three pointers as a second year player, it is tough to believe the coach can do so now. But man does Josh just seem so easy to fix. Stop the jumpers, attack the boards with reckless abandon, and don't pout like a six year old. You can measure that stuff in weeks. Will it happen? Who knows, that is why we call him the Enigma.

6. Going on the same path as the last question, Smith really is a great talent. The question with him is dedication. Do you doubt him at all and what should he be working on this summer?

I do not question Josh Smith's dedication at all. I really do not. His work ethic is quite good. He goes hard every summer, and until this year, Josh has improved statistically every year (and even this year he set a career high in FG%). What I question though is his maturity and ability to focus on effort and not who got the offensive set run for them. Josh needed college. At least a year of it. He needed that structure and coaching. Instead, he got Mike Woodson. Can someone work on maturity? I hope so. Other than I would do some kind of Pavlov experiment where Josh Smith was conditioned to drive to the basket every time he thought about taking a jump shot or saw someone take a jump shot.

7. DJ_Rod, an Australian basketball fan asks: is there a chance we could see David Andersen with the Hawks this year?

He says he wants at least as much as he is making in Spain which would be around 2.8 million. Could the Hawks make that happen? Yes. Will they? Probably not. The Hawks need Zaza Pachulia back and will probably end up paying Marvin Williams QO for 7.2 million dollars that money just might not be available/willing to be spent on a late 20s guy who has never played in the NBA. I hope it happens though. Especially on a two year contract. I mean the Hawks signed Randolph Morris for two years.

8. How underrated is Joe Johnson? Compare his game to guys that everyone knows, like Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul.

Not underrated. He is a borderline all star and has been given the accolades and paid like one. The past few years that borderline all star has leaned toward being very much an all star, but Joe Johnson is not some MVP candidate hiding in the anonymity of Atlanta. He is a very good all around player who can defend, score inside and out, and defend with above effectiveness. He also shoots too much and lacks the athleticism to take over in any one part of the game. Teams without Dwayne, Kobe, Roy should love to have Joe, but he is not those guys.

9. Where do the Hawks need to add to their team? The bench?

I love the Hawks starting five. Especially if Jeff Teague can play above average point in a year. So yes, they need to add to depth, especially to the front court. But if I could choose one place to add, it would probably be the coaching.

10. Doesn't Al Horford deserve more touches than he gets? He's not the best low post scorer, but they don't throw down to the post much. Ties into their poor halfcourt offense.

More Al Horford. More Al Horford. More Al Horford. That is all.

11. So how far do the Hawks get next season? Second round??

Best case: Conference finals and compete. Worst case: 1st round exit.

Remember to check out Peachtree Hoops!