Friday, June 26, 2009

Draft Debriefing

A month ago, I would have been unequivocally upbeat about getting Jeff Teague, possessor of both significant offensive talent and significant, realistic room for improvement, with the 19th pick of the NBA Draft. Last night, though, as it became apparent that the possibility existed to draft DeJuan Blair, that the possibility may even have existed to draft Blair and Teague, Blair and Lawson, Blair and Holiday, or Blair and Collison, but the Hawks ended the night with just* Teague, my excitement waned. The Spurs are the Spurs and the Hawks are the Hawks and last served as an obvious example as to why had the recent respective trades for Richard Jefferson and Jamal Crawford already faded from memory.

*No disrespect to Sergey Gladyr, but if he's ever coming over it'll be when he's not the player he is now and the Hawks are not the team they are now.

Teague's an excellent long-term prospect but I'm not bullish on his immediate impact. He does not possess the full arsenal of point guard skills. An optimist should feel free to add a "yet" at the end of the previous sentence. I suspect he'll be able to score at a decent rate from day one but while adjusting to the NBA while also constrained by the Hawks' half-court offense he's unlikely to score those points as efficiently as he did in Wake Forest's up-tempo system.

I don't think 2009-10 will be a wasted year for Teague. Unlike that piker Acie Law IV, Teague can get to the rim without the aid of something so complicated as a ball-screen and Teague is a far better jump shooter. Still, Teague is not a good defender and is unlikely to get the free pass on defensive lapses that Mike Woodson grants veterans and starters.


It's rather pointless to speculate as to where in the backcourt hierarchy* Teague will fit until free agency commences. His best hope is that he might, even as rookie, look very good in comparison to Jamal Crawford. It may not happen this year but I doubt it will be long before Teague proves himself a better shooter than Crawford, a more aggressive player on both ends of the floor than Crawford, and a better rebounder.

*Mike Woodson is lobbying against having to make adjustments:
"When we ended the season I made it clear to ownership and [Hawks general manager] Rick [Sund], you win 47 games, it would be nice to get everybody back and see where we go next season. But the way we ended the season, it was hard to evaluate our team. So to bring all of those guys back and give it another shot means a lot to me, because with a healthy team we would challenge Cleveland with the way played this season."
Last night, I pegged Teague as developing into a player somewhere between (both in terms of size and talent) Nate Robinson and Gilbert Arenas. He will almost certainly be a lead guard rather than a point guard. This morning I realized that a better comp (in a best-case scenario) might be Jason Terry, a small scoring guard who struggled as a rookie but has followed that with nine above average to excellent seasons most of them (unfortunately) away from the Hawks who too often focused on what Terry wasn't before trading him away for little return as part of a plan that came into include building around a player who's arguably no better than Terry.

20 comments:

rbubp said...

Nate Robinson and Glibert Arenas are good names to throw around. Here's another: Allen Iverson. Where is the comparison? They are all combo guards--the kind who dribble and shoot a lot and pass a lot less: score from the PG position. Dominate the ball.

One other thing about combo guards: they suck at playing with other teammates. They suck even more at winning games.

Bronn said...

That quote from Woodson is 100% vintage Woodson. I shouldn't have expected anything less.

"We won 47 games, so I'd like to have everyone back so I can just do the same things and hope for better results."

thirdfalcon said...

If he's a hermit shut-in version of Nate Robinson I'm happy

Trashing Teague because he's not Steve Nash is seriously BS. You guys are the smartest Hawks fans on the net, Did anyone really think we were gonna get the Monstar version of Gary Payton in this god awful draft?

rbubp said...

Call me crazy, but I am a fan of defense, passing, and rebounding, three things that were not always great with last year's team. I don't see us making choices that upgrade those factors; and in fact we have made some choices that may hurt them.

I hope I'm wrong. We all were about Flip Murray.

Bronn said...

Anyone else worried that those who are in decision-making positions for the Atlanta Hawks got the wrong message from Flip Murray's success last year?

"We need more guys like that!"

Bret LaGree said...

If Crawford is a replacement for Murray, I think it's a good sign up to the point that they're skeptical about Murray repeating his 08-09 season.

Spending $9 million to try to replicate that production doesn't seem the most ambitious strategy to me.

rbubp said...

I agree with Crawford as MURRAY's replacement (versus Bibby's). But why draft Teague, then? He looks like Crawford with a better first step. Is the idea that either Bibby or Flip is gone? or both?

And in either case, our choice of guards suggests we don't care about perimeter defense.

I just don't know what to think. Blair was sitting there...

Bret LaGree said...

I'm confident the Hawks won't enter the season with just three guards on their roster. I'm not confident guessing the identity of the fourth and fifth guards.

thirdfalcon said...

Idk the whole "no ACL's" thing? that sounds pretty rough. I wouldn't have a huge problem rolling the dice on him, but I can see why the Hawks had one.

I know your right that it could have been a mistake though. Anybody would have been a risk with that pick, and rebounding was a team weakness last year

As far as the Murry/Bibby/Crawford thing goes, I believe Sund's ideal plan is to resign Bibby, and let Flip walk. But there are always factors that you can control.

It would suck to lose Bibby, but what if someone offers him something crazy like 4 years for 40 million? If that happens then we flat out should not match that offer. You should not overpay guys unless you think it's gonna put you in contention for a championship. Especially When you aren't rolling in benjamins, as the ASG is certainly not.

In that scenario I would still be glad we made the Crawford trade, because I think a backcourt of Crawford/Joe would be better then Joe/Murry next year. Even though it would be worse than Bibby/Joe was last year.

bonitis said...

i dont think that that teague is a no-talent assclown--just that hes not the right "point guard" for a team with JJ, crawford, and bibby/flip in the backcourt.

with this crowd of shoot-first guards, i see teague lowest in the pecking order. since he probably doesnt project as a great distributer, i regretfully imagine him standing around while the chuckers go to work.

if we had drafted/acquired a true pure point guard, i could dream happily about him setting up our shot brigade.

jrauch said...

I love reading quotes from Mike Woodson.

As soon as I'm done reading the last crazy missive — and thinking he can't get anymore delusional about the horrible coaching job he's done for entirely too long in this town — he gets just a little nuttier.

Translation of the quote in the post: "We were an average team benefitting from the down years of several prior playoff contenders. This has reflected positively on me, even though I've done nothing different, and haven't adjusted anything as coach of the Hawks, despite a shifting roster and changing skillsets for players over several years. I have an ownership group too busy trying to back-stab one another that mediocrity looks like improvement, so bring this all back again and I'll deliver mediocre again. I keep my job and people feel like the team is on the upswing. Progress."

God I hate Woodson. I'd be a testicle they don't draw up a single play for Horford this year.

Michael Katz said...

I agree that Teague seems a bit too much like a mini jamal crawford. But dude can throw down. I was at the comcast center in college park (MD) for his monster yam over the Terps Dave Neal

And as for Crawford. He can def break folks down off the dribble, and at least he's happy about joining the Hawks.

Steve said...

I think the Jason Terry comparison is very apt. Teague's no.1 move I think is getting to the front of the rim and shooting a two-handed shot, much like Chris Paul. Terry's got that in his arsenal as well. More than that, the size, quickness, the shooting ability, the ability to score from in close and from deep are very similar.

I do think Teague has more of a possible point guard mindset than Terry. He looks up the floor and passes the ball ahead, which is something that Terry never does. It says to me that when Teague gets the ball, he doesn't instantly look to see how he score all the time but looks out for his teammates.

If Teague had finished strong rather than weakly, he would've gone much higher. Look at Johnny Flynn. Before the big east tournament, he was a late first round pick, someone as likely to return for his junior year than enter the draft. Then with a strong final four games that gives substance to his physical ability and personality, he goes no.6.

rbubp said...

Regarding Johnson vs. Terry, this where stats meet their limit.

JJ is a much better defender, for one. But on the offensive end, his physical superiority against other guards forces the other team to treat him differently. They must play a big on him or double-team him. He does have the ability to draw defenders in a way Terry does not, forcing the defense into compromised adjustments.

Of course, all of this is for naught if Joe holds the ball too long. He does have his days of being a distributor, fortunately, even if in crunch time his inclination is to try to do it all himself.

Bret LaGree said...

I'd agree that Johnson is almost certainly a better player than Terry in terms of talent but I think the stats support the argument that there's not a lot of difference in production between Johnson, when overwhelmed with responsibilities, and Terry, when used appropriately.

I still get upset thinking about how the franchise couldn't accept that Terry was a good player rather than focus on how he didn't fit the ideal of either differentiated guard position. The Hawks have really never suffered from a surplus of good players.

thirdfalcon said...

It's one thing to light it up off the bench, it's another to be an effective scorer when your handling the ball, defending the other teams best guard, leading the team, and are the focal point of the other teams defense.

Joe is the best player on the Hawks (and twice the player Terry was), because he does all those things, while Terry made an attempt to distribute the ball and scored. We were simply not deep enough to Use Terry the way Dallas does (although it would be sweet to have him now).

All these stats are not meant to be viewed in a Vacume. It's one thing to post a 22% rebound rate in 13 minutes a game, and quite another to do it over 40. Some players post better per minute stats in short minutes and some can keep it up when they get long minutes. Exhibit A for why Jammal Crawford is a better player than Flip Murry ever thought about being.

TL/DR version; It would be sick if Teague is a Terry clone, but he's proably not :(. And your crazy if you think Terry is as good as Joe, But i still wish we had JET.

btw, Does anyone remember what we got for Terry, or did we just let him walk in free agency?

Bret LaGree said...

Terry, Alan Henderson, and a first-round pick for Antoine Walker and Tony Delk.

thirdfalcon said...

Right I remember now, it was a salary dump, ^winces^

rbubp said...

Good points, tf.

Bret LaGree said...

It was a salary dump and a fleecing.

Also, ditto to rbubp's last post.