Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mike Woodson Needs An Intervention

Sekou Smith wrote a fine Sunday morning story for the AJC about the raised expectation the Hawks have for themselves: 50 wins, homecourt advantage in the first round, etc. The story contains fine, representative quotes from...

...Josh Smith:
"This is definitely a change for us. Really, it’s a blessing to be in this position, considering where we’ve come from. I knew it was going to come all along, but I didn’t know when. It feels good to be on the winning side and being able to fight for home-court advantage during the playoffs, and know that every night we step out there we’re treating every game like a playoff game, like a must win."
...and Mike Bibby:
"We’re obviously trying to do better than we did the [in the first half]. The main thing now is you’re just trying not to lose two games in a row. That’s another big thing. You lose one, you have to get the next one no matter what."
Unimpeachable sentiments that take responsibility for the team's success going forward.

One guess as to what Mike Woodson brought up:
"The priority for us was set after our playoff series against Boston. You have to put it right on their head. If you can take Boston to seven [games], there is no reason why you can’t be one of the top teams in this league if you come in and compete on a night-in and night- out basis. There’s just no excuse. The only way you get there is by taking every game serious and you compete for 48 minutes on a night-in and night-out basis. You do that and you put yourself in a position to win games."
Once again,
  • The Hawks lost the series.
  • Boston outscored the Hawks by 84 points over the seven games.
  • In none of the four games in Boston were the Hawks ever closer than 13 points during a fourth quarter.
So, the priority was set based on a seven-game stretch where the Hawks did not compete for 48 minutes and did not put themselves in a position to win in four out of the seven games and failed most thoroughly and dramatically in the decisive game seven. And here I was thinking that the Hawks have a chance to win 50 games because everybody's having a career year in terms of making three-pointers. I'm must be naive.


Unknown said...

Look, I've tried to give you a shot as a blogger on the basis that TrueHoop linked to you as a trusted Hawks blog. I just really wish that you would try to be more positive about the Hawks than you are. It seems like every post you write is condescending at best and outright hateful at worst regarding some aspect of the team. For example, I realize that you don't like Mike Woodson, but that doesn't mean that you need to mention it in half of the posts every day.

The reason that I come to read any sports blog is to get more in depth coverage of the teams that I enjoy watching and to hear from people who are really passionate about the team that I care about. So far, I really can't tell if this blog has either...

Unknown said...

I think I'm probably in the middle on this. I think a more insightful point would be to highlight that this is the ONLY thing Mike Woodson has been able to use to show his team that they can be better than they have been.

And if that's all he has and it works - so be it. I think we have to give a little credit (and I think you know that I've been on record with regard to the fact that I don't believe Mike has an offensive philosophy, isn't an in-game strategist, isn't able to develop players, and doesn't know how to motivate his team) for the fact that he hasn't messed up enough to keep us from the #4 seed in the East. So, it does stand to reason that we might want to look for the things that Woodson has brought to bear in doing so...namely, he kept the bald head. Mike with the box cut was both terrible and had a losing record. Mike with the bald head - a winning record. Let's look at the bright side on this thing...

M said...

i agree with warren... give me some access that sekou is not.. it seems you are just taking sekou's articles and then trash every quote by the hawks and woody -IN EVERY POST..and then even if the hawks play well you bring up some negative aspect and tell us how it will doom us in the future... constructive criticism is good, but straight up hate in every post is a turn off.. We are in 4th place in the East by the way... just sayin..

Bret LaGree said...

I think it's interesting that Mike Woodson chooses not to talk about the very real success that this year's team is enjoying in order to bring up repeatedly last year's playoff loss.

Had the team continued to play defense as they did before Josh Smith's injury, I think it would be clear that the team had changed in a profound way. Since they haven't, the only real difference between this and last year is that they're taking and making a lot more threes (and everyone save Joe Johnson is surpassing their previous career high 3PTFG%) and getting fewer offensive rebounds.

Since the head coach is reluctant or unwilling to discuss this year's team, I'm at a loss as to whether the one positive change is down to him or to Mike Bibby or to Rick Sund or to Mark Price. It's almost certainly a combination thereof.

Long term, it does worry me that the head coach who has continually had run-ins with his players seems incapable of expressing a coherent thought to the media. Maybe he's playing with the media, and, in turn, with us. Fair play to him, if so.

Warren and M, I appreciate both that you're reading Hoopinion and the specificity of your criticism. I don't expect to please everyone with every post and I certainly won't be right about everything. Given that, I would like to see beyond my own biases and be, at the very least, on the right side of the truth. If I'm not, that's probably not something I'll recognize about myself first so criticism is valuable. I hope you both stick around. Without dissent, this place would be, well, worse than you already think it is.

More optimism, though, may be tough given my natural disposition.

bonitis said...

the pessimism is clearly married to your voice here. and though i would categorize myself as a little less pessimistic, i agree with most of your negative sentiments, especially with regard to mike woodson.

it should be noted that you give credit when credit is due to the players. usually, when i disagree with the negativity, its in regards to player discussion. i think woodson has earned every bit of criticism he gets (and then some).

if someone has spent the last few years watching almost hawks game (as i have), i find it nearly impossible to not be pessimistic. i imagine our recent history also has quite an effect on your attitude.

nevertheless, i remain excited about the team and hope for another fantastic playoff experience this year (attending those atlanta cames certainly took the sting off the boston losses).