Thursday, May 05, 2011

HawkStr8Talk: Honesty Corner's 5 Truths: Vol. 9

It's one of my favorite features in Hawks blogosphere, but I must take issue with Truth 2 even though I don't entirely disagree with it:
Every possession must be valued and Josh has proven that you can't trust him to make sound basketball decisions.

But here's the thing - we KNOW this about Josh. We take the good with the bad and yes, I finally advocate seeing if there is a package that includes Josh that can improve this team this offseason, but we also must take Al Horford to task. He's an All Star, our All Star - supposedly our heart and soul...and uh, he's not really dialed in this postseason. Yes, he's not completely missing in action like Marvin Williams, but we are used to Marvin being missing. We aren't used to Al not be a force. He has to be a force. We're winning game in spite of the fact that our front court is NOT imposing its will on anyone. I see this as a good thing in that we can get BETTER, but let's be honest - for everyone who is mad at Josh...uh, reserve about 80% of that criticism for Al too. He's supposed to be better than Josh and he's not doing much better.
Al Horford's not playing well but he's still clearly playing better than Josh Smith. Horford has the higher offensive and defensive rebounding rate, the higher assist rate, the lower turnover rate, and, though Smith has the higher steal and block rates, it's arguable that he's even playing better overall defense than Horford the day after Joakim Noah gets 19 points on 8 shots primarily matched up against Smith.

Plus, Horford's shooting a terrible percentage while using one-sixth of Atlanta's possessions on shots he has a history of making. Josh Smith is shooting a terrible percentage while using one-fourth of Atlanta's offensive possessions on shots he has no history of making.

Al Horford's not playing as well as he's capable in the playoffs so far. The credit for Atlanta's five post-season victories has rightly gone to Jason Collins and Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson and Kirk Hinrich and Jeff Teague before Horford gets a mention (if applicable). Still, Al Horford's playing better than Josh Smith. 45 shots outside of 16 feet in eight games?

5 comments:

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

Damn you and your statistical analysis!!!!! Yes, I agree that Al's playing better. I think my hyperbole was focused on the fact that I expect Al to be solid and he's not really been that solid and dependable. And I look at Josh now as a wild card, so expectations probably color how I feel about it. Josh is no longer a must be on the court for the Hawks to win player. He's a must have on the court when he's playing well player and when he isn't - he can do things to actually CAUSE a loss and should be benched player.

Now, maybe some of Al's woes are because the Hawks have gone back to making Al a 4th (or 5th if you think Jeff Teague has moved up the ranks in supersonic speed fashion) option. I buy that. Now, no more debunking the Truths with ... evidence!!! Let me be a birther if I want to...

ATL_Hawk_Luv said...

and you should take issue with my lack of grammar in that section - I had to go back and make too many edits (blaming the desire to get to Cinco De Mayo celebrations)...

Bret LaGree said...

Re: Al being a 4th or 5th option in the playoffs

That's of a piece with his evolution into primarily a spot-up shooter. It's clearly not ideal but it's far from clear how blame should apportioned between Al, the head coach, and his teammates. I mean, there's a non-zero chance that Al spotting up at 18 feet is demanding the ball in this offense. Hell, Drew started using him curling off screens to catch-and-shoot as the season progressed.

This is essentially a first draft of my season review post.

jrauch said...

This is assuming the Hawks offense uses all that much logic.

I still can't understand who drew up the play where Josh Smith, our presumptive power forward, dumps it into the post to Joe Johnson, our shooting guard, to play with his back to the basket.

Xavier said...

@jrauch I have no problem with Josh dumping a pass to JJ as long the offense rotates with Josh cutting through the paint. The bigger problem is JJ gets post position better than Horford. And he seals his man better to receive an entry pass where as I noticed at times Al tries to seal off his defender and the passer is either scared to pass it or not skilled enough to pass it where only Al can receive it. And I'm going to give some credit to the Bulls defense. They excel because they take away options on the offensive end.