Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Warriors 135 Hawks 118



Say you've got two young, talented post players on your team. Say neither one is a good spot-up shooter. Say one of them is, to be blunt, a terrible yet enthusiastic spot-up shooter. Say the team you're playing is putting four or five guards on the court at a time. Say the team you're playing, when they only have four guards on the court is using a poor post defender as the fifth player.

Do you then...

A) Post up one of your young, talented post players at every opportunity since the other team has no one on the court who can effectively guard either of them?


B) Post up a guard who, talented though he may be, can be reasonably well guarded by two or three opposing players individually and, of course, draws extra attention because no one has to pay much attention to the young, talented post players as they stand around on the perimeter?

If you chose A, you're possibly qualified to coach in the NBA. If you chose B, you're probably not. If you chose B and also chose to play your two young, talented post players a combined total of just 6:18 in the second quarter for no apparent reason, and sat your Rookie of the Year candidate (and at worst, third-best player) for over seven straight minutes of the second half because Austin Croshere made a three-pointer, you could only be Mike Woodson and if you possessed a shred of dignity you'd resign before further embarrassing yourself and further crippling a frustrating, dysfunctional franchise.

Monta Ellis played almost 46 minutes. Stephen Jackson played 44 minutes. Baron Davis played almost 41 minutes.

Even ignoring his willingness to put unusual groups of five on the floor, it was clear Don Nelson was trying to win the game because he played his best players a lot.

Joe Johnson played 42 minutes (and was again mis-used in the second half but so far, so good from a playing time perspective). Al Horford played almost 32 minutes. Josh Smith played just 30 minutes. Marvin Williams played 36 minutes. Mario West and Jeremy Richardson combined to play 15 of the least productive minutes you could witness.

That's an odd allocation of playing time if you're trying your hardest to win the game. What was Mike Woodson trying to do?

If I asked him, I doubt he would have an answer. My guess is he just makes decisions without even disturbingly faulty reasoning to back them up. His decisions are purely reactionary and based entirely on fear. He took Al Horford out of the game because Austin Croshere made a three-pointer. Like a bad golfer who sees only rough, sand traps, and water hazards, Woodson saw the Horford/Croshere matchup only as one where Horford would struggle to close out to the three-point line when defending the pick-and-pop rather than one where Al Horford could score or draw a foul close to every time the Hawks had the ball. Not to mention that you'd (were you the Hawks' head coach) probably be fine with Golden State running their offense through Austin Croshere for awhile seeing as how no one on your roster is capable of guarding either Baron Davis or Monta Ellis.

Speaking of which, Chris Paul plays against the Hawks tonight. There's not enough Ryan Bowen in the world for Byron Scott to cling to to negate the offense Paul will create.

Ballhype: hype it up!


Drew Ditzel said...

i had a similar, less smart reaction in my neck of the woods.

You have to admit though Woody does not stick with a single way of losing. He comes at it from a variety of angles. which i respect.

Anonymous said...

For me, that was one of the most deflating losses to date. It seemed like nobody would even try to defend the paint. Everybody just stood around waiting for Josh Smith to block everything while Warrior after Warrior swaggered to the basket for an easy dunk or lay up.

The reality has finally sunk in: the Hawks are who their record says they are -- a terrible team. I look at the roster and can't figure out why they aren't a lot better than they've played. Hopefully a new coach and GM will get a chance to try something new next year.

Matt said...

Good analysis. I have to admit, though, for the portions of the 3rd quarter that I watched it look like Joe Johnson wanted to run those post up plays through him.

Bret LaGree said...

Matt, I go back and forth on whether or not to include Joe Johnson when assigning blame for the offense. I guess my official position is that even if Johnson is demanding the ball in inopportune circumstances, a good coach would overrule him and demand that the ball go to a player with a favorable matchup.