Friday, April 11, 2008

At This Point Mike Woodson's Just Pulling My Leg

From Sekou Smith's AJC article this morning:
Managing the minutes of his starters has been one of Hawks coach Mike Woodson's toughest tasks this season.
I'd go (or have gone) with something more along the lines of managing the minutes of the few players on his roster who can play NBA basketball has been demonstrably beyond the capabilities of Mike Woodson this season but I don't have to talk to Woodson on a daily basis and can thus be blunt without suffering any real consequences.
It happened Tuesday in Indiana. Horford picked up his second foul with the Hawks leading 20-18 with 5:46 left in the first quarter.

Woodson sat him and the next time he saw the floor, at the start of the second half, the Hawks had been outscored 49-32. They trailed by what turned out to be an insurmountable 15 points. So don't expect Woodson to yank his starters at the first sign of trouble Friday night in New York.
It's taken 78 games to figure out that the best players should play the most minutes? Or has it taken 78 games to learn that players (even rookies) are disqualified after their sixth rather than their fifth foul?
"Certainly, if you take him out, you have to bring him back at the seven- or eight-minute mark of the second quarter [rather than sitting him out until the third quarter]," Woodson said. "A lot of it depends on the situation in the game. When Al got his second Tuesday night it was still a back-and-forth game.

"But he came out and then they just took off. We couldn't even get out of the first quarter, so you don't want to risk that again going into the third quarter."
I've read the above several times and it makes little sense to me. I guess we can take away two things from that quote: 1) Mike Woodson coached the game in Indiana so poorly that even Mike Woodson can recognize how poorly Mike Woodson coached the game and 2) Mike Woodson can't form and communicate a coherent thought about how to deal with foul trouble (either real or perceived).
Horford's impact on the game, a 29-point blowout before a late Hawks rally, was non-existent. He finished with four points and five rebounds in under 20 minutes, an unacceptable performance for one of the Hawks' most important players.
Horford also finished the game with five personal fouls. It's disappointing that Horford had a bad game but nobody's going to play 82 good games. It's unacceptable that he sat for 17:47 of the first half with just two fouls and 10:46 of the second half with just four fouls.

Al Horford:
"After you sit that long it's tough to come back into that type of game in any kind of rhythm. I know I felt out of it at the start of the second half. We were already down big and it wasn't easy trying to get back into the flow."
See also, Acie Law IV's inability to improve as a point guard while playing 0 to 6 minutes a night; those minutes coming regardless of whether he plays well or plays terribly.

The season, and Mike Woodson's head coaching career, can't end fast enough.

Ballhype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

i read your blog regularly and i realize you are the king of negative nancy's... but for fucks sake we are on the brink of making the playoffs for the first time in 8 or 9 years or so.. smoke some pot and loosen up. everytime i read this shit i get depressed about the season.

Matt said...

Anonymous, you're right. I can't possibly contain my excitement! Getting your ass handed to you 4 games in a row by the best team in the league while your coach doesn't have any clue and half your team doesn't try because they hate the coach is the bee's knees! Oh, except making the playoffs isn't guaranteed because you just got smacked by the one team that could possibly take it away from you! Water under the bridge, right?

Our coach can't even think or talk- this isn't the first quote I've seen that didn't make sense from an English perspective, much less a basketball perspective. I'm a little miffed that Sekou threw Al Horford under the bus with that "unacceptable" comment.

Do you realize that Al Horford has only fouled out of 1 game this year? And in that game (Feb 20), he played 15 minutes more than Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, who each ended up with 5 fouls. That has to be some kind of insane stat, right? Your rookie starting center only fouling out of 1 game, and he played 43 minutes of that game?

Anonymous said...

Making the playoffs with 42-45 losses is not that much of an achievement. It's more of an indictment of the quality of the rest of the conference. If Woodson is back next year because his team backed into a playoff birth, it will only continue to retard the development of players such as Horford and Law whose playing time Woodson is pathetically unable to manage while he continues to start Marvin Williams and leaves him in the game even when he is failing at the one thing he does half decently, hit mid range jumpers.

Anonymous said...


i share your frustration about the foul situation. i never understood why he acts like you only get 4 fouls in a game. but my point was to quit acting like we have the talent of the celtics and we are underachieving. I dont think any coach is going to deter josh smith from shooting those j's, from zaza not jumping and fumbling the ball,etc.. i mean i dont care who the coach is with our team we cant compete w the top 5 in the east. i realize your blog is an outlet to air our frustations that someone like sekou is not allow to do... but also provide some freakin positivity once in a while .. hey at least we are not the knicks or heat! all in all i read your blog everyday so dont hate me too much

Bret LaGree said...


Thanks for reading and commenting. For Matt's sake, don't burden him with the responsibility of what I write.

I don't disagree that I'm negative. Watching the team (coach and players) make the same mistakes for the better part of 75 games is frustrating but if I've ever dismissed that making the playoffs is not an accomplishment considering where this franchise was that's a mistake on my part.

However, I think the organization has thrown away a chance to win 40-42 games, avoid Boston and Detroit in the first round, and participate in a competitive playoff series so as to avoid paying both the remainder of Mike Woodson's contract and the going rate for a partial season's work from a competent head coach.

It's hard for me to get excited about an organization that doesn't want to win as many games as possible.

I promise to be much more optimistic this off-season when speculating on how the team can attempt to fill its roster with actual NBA players. I make no promises as to how I'll react to the actual transactions, though.

Anonymous said...


fair enough. i look forward to reading about a good (hopefully) offseason.

Matt said...

There aren't many teams in this league in the same class as the Celtics (I can't believe I just wrote that), but I absolutely disagree that the Hawks don't have the talent to be one of the other top 5 teams. They were competitive in every game against Detroit this year and got jobbed at least once. They lost to Cleveland by 4,5, and beat them once by 9. They've taken 2 out of 3 against Orlando. They split the 4 games with Washington. Who says they can't compete?

The Hawks have the worst coach in the league in the worst ownership situation in the league. Some of us see what should be expected of this team and realize how far below those expectations the team has fallen. Seeing how well the offense has played at times in the last month with Bibby running the point has been the biggest NFS moment of Billy Knight's reign- of course they will be 10 times better with a point guard that isn't HORRENDOUS. Why the hell does the GM disagree?

Backing in to the playoffs with a losing records because you play in a terrible conference is nothing to be proud of. I'm sorry but it's the truth. It's difficult to root hard for the Hawks when some of the players don't seem to care. I will root for Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Josh Childress and Mike Bibby all day long, though.

Man, I should've written this on my own blog.