Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hawks 116 Grizzlies 99



Through the better part of the three quarters I thought the primary thing I would take away from the game was that Marvin Williams seems to have remembered how he can be an effective offensive player. Halfway through the fourth quarter all I could think about was how much work must be done this off-season.

It's confusing to be deflated following a 17 point road win. It's odd to win a game in which you allow the other team a 32-6 run or when you score 15 points over the final 14:47 of the game. On a night when each of the top 6 Hawks played very good basketball, the rest of the team could not play competently enough to coast to victory over a 19-54 team they had down by 38 points.

The Hawks only have six good players (Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby, Al Horford, Williams, Josh Smith, and Josh Childress). Two of those (Smith and Childress) are restricted free agents and there are reasonable concerns about the organization (partly stemming from questions as to who would make the decision) re-signing both of them. They have two more guys (Law and Pachulia) who one hopes could useful bench players on a more functional team. Other than that there's nothing.

They must hire a competent head coach. They may hire a new general manager. Other than signing Zaza Pachulia, Billy Knight has shown no ability to find cheap, useful bench players. A second round pick in his hands turns into Salim Stoudamire, Solomon Jones, or about a season of Anthony Johnson. Budget free agent signings consist of (in addition to Pachulia) Speedy Claxton, Mario West, and Jeremy Richardson.

And that's how you build a bench that can't hold a 38 point lead against a bad team. If the Hawks, as is looking ever more likely, sneak into the playoffs it'll say more about Pat Riley, Isiah Thomas, Larry Harris, Michael Jordan, Jim Paxson, Rod Thorn, Larry Bird and others than anyone involved in managing the Hawks.

Ballhype: hype it up!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think I must be a hopeless optimist. Earlier this morning I was searching the schedule for Washington and Toronto, trying to see if either had five losses remaining on their schedule so the Hawks still have hope of avoiding a first round sweep at the hands of Boston or Detroit.

In short, it would take a near total collapse by one of these teams to allow the Hawks to pass them. The assumption is that Atlanta can beat Boston and Orlando on the 12th and 15th, respectively, because both of those teams will be resting their regulars to prepare for the playoffs. At the same time, we'd want Boston, Detroit, and Orlando to each defeat Washington and/or Detroit to beat Toronto. And that's still counting on these teams to lose to Charlotte, Chicago, and perhaps even Milwaukee. Not entirely hopeless, but just unrealistic enough that I won't be getting my hopes up only to be crushed when Atlanta inexplicably loses to Miami on the last day of the season.