Monday, April 16, 2012

Initial Feedback: Joe, Are You Ready?

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.


Joe Johnson: Johnson has made some half-hearted attempts to call out his teammates to the press, but his comments after last night's humiliation at the hand of the Raptors took the cake. Joe claimed that Hawks players were "not ready" in a game in which Joe wasn't even ready to check in after a dead ball, leaving the Hawks with 4 players on the court. It's not known if Joe included himself among the players who were "not ready." It seems nobody asked Joe the simple question, "Joe, were you ready?" Between the homer broadcast team and the fragmented print coverage, it's hard to know anything about the Hawks (see Ivan Johnson below). No Magic City in Toronto. Joe goes for 18. 6/10

Jeff Teague: The fact that Teague is capable of 2 points and 2 assists one night and then 19 points and 10 assists the next night against the same badly-depleted team does not speak well of the organizational culture of the Atlanta Hawks. 6/10

Kirk Hinrich: Scored 6 points with 1 assist in 27 minutes. With news that Zaza may be lost for the season with a foot injury, the Hawks will need to finally get a return on its investment in Kirk. 2/10

Josh Smith: Showed up two nights in a row. 6/10

Jason Collins: The Hawks' optimal lineup at this point is Ivan starting at center, Josh at power forward, Marvin back into the starting lineup at small forward (to add rebounding and size to help replace Zaza's production), Joe back at shooting guard and Teague at point. Look for Collins to start the rest of the way. At least it gives the Hawks a better chance of dropping to 6th and avoiding the Celtics in the first round. 2/10

Marvin Williams: Maybe he wouldn't be so apathetic if he hadn't grown up on a team with Joe Johnson as its team leader. 6/10

Ivan Johnson: Toronto Raptors color analyst Sherman Hamilton said during the broadcast that he had spoken to several people within the Hawks organization to ask why Ivan Johnson was suspended. He was told that Ivan "got into the entire team" about effort during a timeout in the loss at Boston. As you can see, this isn't a message the Hawks need to hear, thus the suspension. Thank you, Raptors broadcast team. We don't get that type of coverage here in Atlanta. 10/10

Tracy McGrady: Scored 11 points with 4 rebounds and 4 assists in 21 minutes. With Zaza lost for the season, we "should" be seeing what T-Mac has left in the tank. That is unless Larry Drew decides to give Collins 30 minutes a game. 5/10

Vladimir Radmanovic: Will likely be seeing a lot of minutes at power forward, despite his distinct incapacity to play the position. Shot 1-for-1 on 3's. The Hawks will need him to hover around that percentage in future games. 3/10

Jannero Pargo: Marked present 2/10

The head coach
In light of what Drew suspended Johnson for (essentially to protect the egos of guys like Joe Johnson who has a max contract and doesn't want his effort questioned by a minimum-salary rookie), I retract every positive comment I have ever made about Drew. Any competent head coach would have immediately made Ivan a team captain. Also, as noted above regarding Teague, competent NBA head coaches get consistent performances from their teams without undrafted rookies having to preach effort. 1/10

A thought regarding the opposition
As I told National Post writer Eric Koreen in an email last weekend, "Glad to see [Dwane] Casey getting props... wish he was in Atlanta."


Chuckman said...

If that is the reason Ivan Johnson was suspended, then it proves this team has no true leadership from the top on down. Just a group of pro players going through the motions.

Buddy Grizzard said...

Agreed Chuckman, not that we haven't seen evidence, but this is the most compelling evidence so far. Corrected Ivan's rating, by the way. 4/10 was a typo... I may give him 10/10 for every feedback from now on now that I know what he was suspended for.

Throwback Soul said...

Bravo....I want it on PTI...

Unknown said...

So we are really going to take the word of the Raptors broadcast team as fact in regards to the Johnson suspension?

It was an internal matter that was handled and wasn't any different than the Josh Powell situation a year before. I have no problems with the Hawks not elaborating on the situation. The important thing is he is back and playing well.

Bret LaGree said...

I find it perfectly plausible that Ivan Johnson was suspended for "[getting] after the entire team" both because that went against the team's culture and because Johnson's manner of doing so could be reasonably deserving of a one-game suspension.

I'm far more confused about a broadcast team demonstrating an interest in knowing more about the opposition. That's a thing?

As to Kris's last point, the Hawks are never going to elaborate about any situation ever. Consciously or not, they generally take huge advantage of the lack of media scrutiny usually responding only to the superficial, poorly-informed scrutiny they get for a couple weeks each Spring in the playoffs. The Hawks are a non-story and that's to ownership and management's advantage.

Unknown said...

Given the limited amount of people that travel with the team to one stop place like Toronto I find it very hard to believe that anyone with knowledge of Johnson's situation would share that with the Raptor's broadcast team.

The Hawks are never going to elaborate on an internal matter like this and no team would. A lot of teams have players who would make comments about the situation but the Hawks haven't. It may make our job more difficult at times but the Hawks PR department does an excellent job in my opinion.

Bret LaGree said...

To be clear, I'm not talking about the team's PR department. Of course no PR department would issue a press release explaining why a player was suspended for one game.

I'm talking about the existence of members of the media doing reporting, having sources that are willing to talk (on or off the record), media outlets wanting to publish/broadcast stories about the Hawks, and an audience that wants to consume those stories.

One person covers (very well, I might add) the Hawks as a beat reporter. That's it. No one else is asking questions of the organization on a regular basis and Michael Cunningham has to exercise some discretion in that regard in order to do his job on a daily basis.

I haven't had reportorial experience or the available time to develop those skills which was a far larger factor in my mostly not being credentialed to cover the Hawks than the team's evident disinterest in credentialing me.

It's great that you're credentialed and have a good relationship with the PR department, Kris, but it's not for me. I would make, at most, slightly more use of a credential than I would the team's press releases were they all of a sudden to start sending them to me.

Buddy Grizzard said...

The AJC has split coverage of the Hawks among Cunningham (whose work I have consistently praised), Chris Vivlamore (who was on duty when the incident happened in Boston) and AP coverage on west coast trips where they decided to save money on plane tickets.

Thus the comment about the "fragmented" print coverage. It must be easier to blow one of the two beat writers off when neither of them fully has the job.

As for Kris Willis' contention that Toronto's color analyst simply made this up before saying it on NBA TV, I find that fairly implausible. I look forward to someone from the Hawks press corps to actually ask the Hawks organization if the story is true. I won't be holding my breath until that happens, however.