"I thought their bench was the difference tonight against our bench."Can't disagree with the head coach on that point. For once, it wasn't his fault. He didn't whiff on the 2006 draft. (Solomon Jones, 33rd pick in that draft, amply demonstrated his rare combination of bad hands and bad feet for the 2:11 he was on the court. Paul Millsap, 47th pick in that draft, contributed 8 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block while playing solid defense for almost 21 minutes.) He didn't take Marvin Williams second overall rather than trading down, gaining a pick and drafting a point guard in the process. It would have been nice had he not wasted a roster space on Mario West all season so that someone like Jeremy Richardson who might could play hasn't been around long enough to know what he's supposed to be doing.
Utah didn't play well last night. Atlanta's starters (with the exception of Marvin Williams) played when they were on the court. It wasn't enough to steal a victory but there's reasonable evidence to believe that the offense will be better with Mike Bibby and he's not demonstrably worse defensively than the players he's replaced.
There are still wasted possessions: running plays to post up Marvin Williams against Millsap or Andrei Kirilenko; coming out of the timeout with 46 seconds left, down 4, and ending up with Josh Smith taking and missing an 18-foot baseline jumper (his only miss from the field in the 4th Quarter) with 10 seconds left on the shot clock. There's ample evidence that the only thing Marvin Williams does well in the half-court is make open jump shots. There's ample evidence that the only thing Josh Smith does poorly in the half-court is shoot jump shots. Yet the Hawks piss away a handful of possessions every game further demonstrating the above.
EDIT: I think the 4th Quarter against the Warriors shows that feeding Josh Smith in the post isn't going to turn the team into an offensive juggernaut. However, even though the Hawks struggled to score for a couple of significant stretches in that quarter they never appeared completely out-of-sync and Golden State never managed to take control of the game. Atlanta made them work defensively and, in refusing to become stagnant offensively, the Hawks better maintained their defensive energy and awareness.
The offense is going to look especially bad, in terms of design, when directly contrasted with Utah's. Joe Johnson gets double-teamed in the post and his best option is to back out to the three-point line, either shooting a contested jump shot as the shot clock expires or passing the ball so someone else can. Deron Williams gets double-teamed in the post and his best option is a simple pass to Kyle Korver wide-open behind the three-point line.
Anybody know if Phil Johnson has any interest in a head coaching job?
Josh Smith Jump Shot Log
February 23, 2008 vs. @Utah