Thursday, April 02, 2009

HoopsTV: Al Horford Interview

An couple of excerpts from HoopsTV's long interview with Al Horford:
HTV: I understand you have emerged as the true leader of this Hawks team. How do you feel about that label?

HORFORD: All I make sure is to come out and let my game speak for itself. If I have something to say, I speak up, so I guess you could say that (he is a leader).

HTV: Is there any individual that you matched up with this season that you have been impressed by and after the game maybe you said to yourself, "Man that guy really got better."?

HORFORD: Paul Millsap. I was really impressed with his game. You can tell he's been working a lot to improve in all areas and he did that. So I was impressed with him.
I really do think that taking Solomon Jones over Paul Millsap will be the Billy Knight draft decision that I never, ever get over.


Unknown said...

over Shelden WILLIAMS? I'm with you on the fact that they've turned out bad, but the chasm in talent btw Roy vs. Willams and Millsap vs. Jones is still tilted toward Roy at a position we actually scheme for. I'm thoroughly convinced that Millsap might not be the Millsap we see playing for the Jazz if he had to sit on the bench with Mike Woodson for 3 years. I'm even more convinced that if Solomon Jones played for the Jazz - he'd be a rotation player (not a great player), but he'd be in the rotation. I have that much faith in Jerry Sloan and that little faith in Mike Woodson.

Bret LaGree said...

This is the difficulty of ranking the draft misfires--they're all at the extreme end of the spectrum and you're right that Paul Millsap was better off playing for Jerry Sloan than Mike Woodson.


One could make a reasonable argument that Shelden Williams could be a useful NBA player. Worth the 5th pick? Better than Brandon Roy? Of course not, but useful? Yes.

That you could evaluate--as your job--Paul Millsap and Solomon Jones and, for only the cost of the second round pick, choose the gangly goof over the guy who can play basketball boggles my mind to a greater degree than the first round pick that year where I can kind of see how someone could talk themselves into such a dreadful pick.

jrauch said...

All of the draft debate is skewed by the fact the Hawks coaching staff doesn't even border on competent.

Would Brandon Roy be one of the ten best players in the league here under Woody and Co.? Probably not.

If Acie Law were somewhere else, would be a serviceable (not great, but serviceable) PG? My money says yes. Heck, Al Horford would likely be a borderline 20-10 guy somewhere else right now, rather than playing the Trash Man.

Honestly, Ryan Cameron should change his nickname to "The Garbage Man" or something similar, since that's a far more accurate description of his on-court role in Woody's "system," and I use that term very loosely.

Part of the reason for Millsap's success is the system he plays in, and having a coaching staff that maximizes his strengths while minimizing his weaknesses. The Hawks coaches simply don't do that.

Being a three-year season ticket holder, seeing firsthand the lack of development from any player on the team is shocking.

But take a look at the Hawks picks throughout this decade, noticeably in the second round. Passing on Monta Ellis, Trevor Ariza et al for such notable talents as Donta Smith and Salim Stoudemire.

Personally, I can't wait for Rick Sund drafting a 7 foot foreign stiff in this year's draft. That'll be fun.

Bret LaGree said...

I probably shouldn't say this in public, but I still think that Salim Stoudamire should have been a good fit in a reserve role in the backcourt playing alongside an isolated on the left wing Joe Johnson.

That would have necessitated some creativity w/r/t rotations and there are certainly numerous situations where having Stoudamire on the court would be harmful than beneficial but I thought he was a decent second-round pick.

I would have missed on Monta Ellis too as I've an aversion to 20-year-old high school seniors with bad knees.

Also, the nadir of Mike Woodson's use of young players really must be Boris Diaw who looked like he had never played (and possibly had never seen a game played) basketball before while with the Hawks before blossoming under Mike D'Antoni and becoming a central part of Larry Brown's rebuilding effort in Charlotte.

jrauch said...

The biggest issue with Salim (and maybe this stems ultimately to Woodson as well), is the guy just simply couldn't shoot.
Not a good trait for an under-sized guard who can't dribble.

But I think in large part his issues with shooting, for someone who led the NCAA's in 3 pt. percentage his senior year at Arizona, were minutes and confidence from the coaching staff.

Can't tell you the number of times Salim would brick a shot in the first two years I went to games, and Woody would immediately pull him for the remainder of the game.

Course, he hasn't stuck with the Spurs either. So maybe Woody was onto something.