Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Initial Feedback: Atlanta Hawks Blow Out New Jersey Nets In Season Opener

Initial feedback: A completely subjective and immediate response to the events of tonight's game, featuring a comment and rating, the latter on a scale of 1 to 10, on every player who saw the floor and the head coach, along with ephemera and miscellany as the author deems necessary.

Your ratings and commentary, dear reader, are welcomed in the comments to this post.


Jeff Teague: Under control without resting for a moment. Knocked down three of four three-pointers. What took so long for this opportunity? 7/10

Joe Johnson
: Can still get anywhere he wants on the floor, presuming where he wants to get isn't within 15 feet of the basket. 4/10

Marvin Williams
: Aggressive offensively and his seven trips to the foul line more than made up for poor shooting. Nine rebounds (four offensive) demonstrate his most direct path toward providing consistent value for money. 7/10

Josh Smith
: Early returns indicate that excess weight was not the cause of poor shot selection last season. Talented enough that his rebounding, passing, and defending can make up for four unnecessary jump shots. 5/10

Al Horford
: Fairly passive offensively overall but spared a moment to dominate Kris Humphries in the third quarter. As is typical, paired with Smith to anchor the team's defense. 6/10

Zaza Pachulia
: With this second unit, Zaza should continue to get plays run for him. 13 and 11 nights won't be a regular occurrence but the moody, disengaged Zaza could disappear entirely.7/10

Vladimir Radmanovic
: Perhaps sometime tomorrow night, someone will guard Radmanovic for the first time this season. His spacing was excellent, he knocked down open shots, and was active defensively. Can't reasonably ask any more of him. 7/10

Tracy McGrady
: Looks equal parts old and skilled. I suspect he'd be more useful complementing the starters than leading the second unit. 4/10

Jannero Pargo
: A good night for the inactive Donald Sloan. Pargo dribbles too much, lacks vision and was physically dominated by Sundiata Gaines in the second half. 2/10

Willie Green
: I don't look forward to him playing in a game where his minutes matter. 1/10

Ivan Johnson
: Congratulations on his NBA debut. Only disappointment is that 'Nique nicknamed him "9 to 5" due to hard work, not because Johnson's a huge Lily Tomlin fan. 3/10

Jerry Stackhouse
: To put a word in Pape Sy's mouth, "Seriously?" 1/10

The head coach
The Hawks defended Deron Williams effectively and held the rest of the Nets down through some combination of good defense and just letting them beat themselves. Wisely didn't give the bench heavy minutes until the game was decided. Josh Smith got The Horford Treatment. In tonight's context, it was a meaningless decision. 8/10

A thought regarding the opposition
I included the Nets among the ten teams trying to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference more for their willingness to improve the team than the current roster. As constituted, this team sorely misses Brook Lopez and Brook Lopez isn't very good.


Bronnt said...

Hmm, nobody gets even an 8 (aside from LD)? I think Marvin deserved one-as I observed in a previous comment, I believe that half of his misses came from offensive put-backs, so his inefficient shooting doesn't indicate wastefulness. Additionally, getting to the line 7 times in 22 minutes, and chipping in three assists as well make it hard to argue with anything. One or two of those put-backs falling in, and his line looks beautiful.

During the first half, even going into the second half, there was a long stretch before either Pargo or Green took a jumpshot. Watching them at that point, they looked like two very solid NBA reserves. Pargo was making some decent passes, Green was playing hard on defense and had an aggressive drive toward the basket. I doubt we'll see much of them looking like that, but perhaps being on the floor with guys like McGrady and Radmanovic, who can much better utilize offensive possessions, will lead them in the right direction.

I'd give an 8 to Marvin, a 5 to T-Mac, and a 4 to Josh (who was annoying in all the familiar ways). Beyond that, my ratings would be the same as yours.

Bret LaGree said...

Gotta leave some room for big individual performances against better teams.

Tmabry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

I love the soccer-style 1-10 ratings. Would like to see you describe Jeff Teague as a "pacey #10," but otherwise, it was perfect.

As I watched last night, I couldn't decide whether the Hawks were playing good defense or the Nets just suck at putting the ball in the basket. If this team has a path to surpassing last year's regular season performance, it would be through improved perimeter defense.

Thomas Sankara said...

This has to be the worst blog of any of the teams in the NBA and it sucks because I'm a huge Hawks fan. Why can't we get an actual fan of the team, someone who actually likes the team, to run the official blog? Everytime I come to this site you are either bashing our two best players, Joe & Josh, or just bashing the team in general. This is a really good team and Joe is the best player Atlanta has had since Dominique, treat him as such PLEASE. What does the constant pessimism help? I love the Hawks but Im embarrased to be a Hawks fan because of our overly pessimistic fan base. Other fan bases aren't like this, the T-Wolves blog is much better than this 1 for many reasons but mainly because of the lack of hate the guys who run the site have for their team.

Bret LaGree said...

Thomas --

I'd recommend reading Hoopinion either more or less often. Read it more often so you don't miss a post like this one from Monday, wherein I explicitly write that I'm optimistic about the Hawks.

Read it less often if you're so insecure that reading another person's marginally differing opinion about the Hawks adversely affects your enjoyment of the team.

Thomas Sankara said...

I just read your '2011-12expectations' article for the 1st time just now and what I got from it was that you expect the Hawks to be a .500 team and that you expect them to make the playoffs. I wouldn't categorize that as optimism when they've already done those things easily 4 years in a row with far-less experienced teams. There's a lot to be excited about with this team but it seems obvious to me that whoever runs this blog either wants the Hawks to fail or expects them too. Its not just this blog though, the overall sentiment among sports fans in Atlanta about this team is pretty much the exact same way it was before Joe got here when we were missing the playoffs every year. This is 1 of the 10 best teams in the league, they've been a top 10 team for a while now and they're playing better as a team each year. Specifically the way you undervalue Joe Johnson is just incredibly frustrating though. I can understand how espn and national media can overlook Joe because of the way he plays and his soft-spoken nature, but for the website that covers every Hawks game not to recognize how important and how talented this guy is and how he has changed the whole environment of Hawks basketball is crazy to me.

Unknown said...

Isn't the site motto "Atlanta Hawks analysis. Run on pessimism and truth"?

Whatever, haters gonna hate. Keep up the great work Bret. Some of the best basketball analysis on the web.

Hope we see a return of the bet it hit rim segments sometime this season

Bronnt said...


Considering that several major outlets predicted the Hawks to miss the playoffs, it's hard to read Bret's prediction as a downer.

I suppose there's some fun in reading homerish blogs that will shoot sunshine up your butt and heap praise upon every moderate achievement, but I think the novelty wears off really quickly. Which is why, Bret, I've always appreciated your frank analysis and level disposition. And it's fun to read after your predictions have been horribly wrong, too.

Thomas Sankara said...

Im not saying his prediction is a downer as much as Im saying that the overall attitude of this blog toward the Hawks is a downer for a Hawks fan. I know the motto for this site and I have no idea why you would chose pessimism as the main motivating factor. Seems obvious that it would turn off most real Hawks fans. 'Real' meaning people who actually like the team as presently constructed and who want to see this team succeed. The pessimism has definitely turned me off, my love for the team and the fact that this is the only Hawks blog that I'm aware of is the only reason I visit this site at all any more. I'm all for being objective but it seems pretty obvious that the guy who runs this blog wants to see the Hawks scrap everything and rebuild around Al Horford which is just a ridiculous proposition for many reasons, the main one being that we already have a very talented, experienced team with a real shot of winning the east.