Thursday, February 10, 2011

Al Horford Doesn't Expect to Play Saturday, Hawks Probably Not Going to Change

Ken Suguira, subbing for Michael Cunningham, reports from practice:
Al Horford said that, as of Thursday, he isn’t planning on playing Saturday. Said Horford, "It’s not really getting any better." Horford tried to shoot at Thursday’s practice, but was still sore. He’ll give it another try Friday.
Larry Drew began the process of backing off his mildly provocative comments from yesterday:
Horford’s injury will preclude coach Larry Drew from implementing any lineup changes that he has talked about since the 34-point loss to Philadelphia Tuesday. “It is definitely still weighing on my mind,” Drew said. “The decision has not been made yet.” The team scrimmaged but didn’t have any out-of-the-ordinary lineups, Mo Evans said.
and:
Drew said the team is not actively pursuing a trade but is in a stance of keeping its ears open. Said Drew, “We’ll continue to talk about different things, look if there’s something that could potentially make us even a better ballclub.”
Just a reminder of what Drew said yesterday:
"We have, in my opinion, fallen into a bit of a comfort zone with everything. It may be time to do something just to rattle the cage a little bit.

I am not one to react on emotions but I have had this feeling for a little while. I have been in situations where it has been like this, where a team has had to do something just to shake the cage a little bit. It’s something I’ve been thinking about. Will I do it? I have a couple days to practice and make a decision.

I don’t think at this stage . . . at least I don’t feel comfortable, totally comfortable with where we are after 52 games. We have had some bad losses here at home. That may be a sign, I don’t know. I never want to throw out the possibility of making our team better.

At the end of the day, regardless of what happens [with trades], we still are going to have to go out there and improve our club. After last night’s loss, I do believe we do have to look at our situation very seriously and possibly look at a lineup change, possibly doing something that will jolt this team. Because I don’t want this team to get into a comfort zone. The minute we get into a comfort zone, what happened last night, that is the end result."
I joked yesterday that "comfort zone" might be code for "allowing Josh Smith to take horrible shots in great quantity on a nightly basis." At The Heat Index, Tom Haberstroh describes how Erik Spoelstra addressed Chris Bosh's shot selection:
While doing his homework on Bosh, his new $110 million power forward, Spoelstra noticed something in the data: Bosh was more effective on the right side than on the left. It was a simple observation but one that would eventually send ripple effects through the team. Spoelstra knew Bosh could play on the left block, but the third-year coach also understood the value of Bosh's anchoring the Heat’s offensive sets on the right side, where he could play to his strengths.

But how would Spoelstra persuade his five-time All-Star to essentially give up one side of the court?

He set a meeting and showed him the hard evidence.

“Stats are stats, man,” Bosh laughed. “I couldn’t say anything. I was like, 'I can post up over there [on the left side].' They said, 'Well, this says you can, but it's not the same [as the right side].'"

Bosh obliged.

“I didn’t fight it. I like getting the ball in the post, so to keep that going, I just said ‘Coach, that’s fine.’”

Spoelstra says this isn’t the first time he’s used advanced stats to organize his offense. He did it last season with Jermaine O’Neal, sending the big man to the left side of the floor after seeing the numbers.

What numbers does Spoelstra use?

“We use a little bit of Synergy and then we charted it out on our own,” Spoelstra said. “I have these moles in the dungeon -- video guys -- all they do is chart.”
A far cry from:
"Someone read a stat about his percentage on stand-still shooting, he ranks high in the league."
or:
"I do feel very comfortable with Josh Smith taking the jump shot, it’s when he takes it that I have a problem with, but he and I, we’re going to battle that all year long, but we’re on the same page. We’re on the same page with it."

3 comments:

atkenner said...

Hawks Probably Not Going to Change.....What we have here is the perfect example of "what you see is what you get." There is not much to really expect from this bunch. We have a very good 4 playing 5. We have a 3 playing 4 but nobody told him he's playing 4 cause he still acts like a 3, too many jump shots. We start a point guard who plays no defense, and hasnt sniffed the paint since we signed him. Lets not forget about our maxed out superstar, who JUST started averaging 20 points a game last month. Top it all off with a bargin basement coach that couldnt coach himself out of a brown paper bag, and I give you Ladies and Gentleman...(drum roll).......My Atlanta Hawks. We are built to fail. We are talented enough to make the playoffs because of our conference, but we will lose 1st or 2nd round as always. So you can replace the word "probably" with the word "are" in your title because the Hawks ARE Not Going to Change.

Adam said...

What's frustrating to me is that this all moved from predictable to certain the moment the team extended Joe Johnson. To be sure, Larry Drew has compounded the team's problems by not coaching to their strengths and, more importantly, minimizing their weaknesses. But neither the team's recent troubles nor their inability to change course should surprise anyone.

That said, if Sund/Drew really ARE surprised by the recent "complacency," then there are no words. That's probably even worse than the cynicism we all assumed was behind the Johnson contract. I always thought that management just took fans' stupidity for granted, and so aimed to keep the status quo, but now it's really starting to look like management is in fact dumber than your average fan: Larry Drew might really believe the Hawks' problems begin and end with effort.

lukas said...

Can we trade Joe for Spoelstra?

Bret, the only good that's come from the Hawks' wildly erratic season is the opportunity it provides you to surgically eviscerate the team's make-up, management, and coaching.

Adam, nice comment, bubba. You hit the nail that management has been driving into my skull squarely on the head.