Saturday, April 14, 2012

Initial Feedback: Who Cares About Winning?

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: On a night when Jannero Pargo made his first 5 3-pointers to blow the game open, Teague's 3 points and 3 assists in 14 minutes were window dressing. 3/10

Joe Johnson: Larry Drew's defensive schemes against Orlando in last year's playoffs are generally cited as the difference in the Hawks' series victory. Orlando's lack of sufficient defensive talent on the perimeter to guard shot creators Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford probably factored equally. This deficiency was on display again tonight. 6/10

Josh Smith: Pargo's outside shot was falling, Marvin's shot was falling, Smoove's shot was falling... Orlando's playoff seed is falling. Everything was falling.7/10

Zaza Pachulia: Speaking of falling, even as the Hawks win they manage to shoot themselves in the foot as Marvin rolled over Zaza's ankle, limiting him to 8 points and 4 rebounds in 16 minutes. Fortunately X-rays at halftime were negative and it is only a sprain. 6/10

Kirk Hinrich: Started and helped anchor the second unit that took care of business. Scored 8 with 5 assists but led the team with 3 turnovers. 4/10

Marvin Williams: You know you're missing something from your interior defense when Marvin Williams is free to drive and dunk. His form on his jump shot looked better than normal with no unnecessary horizontal movement or leg kick. 6/10

Tracy McGrady: As I read Atlanta Journal-Constitution Hawks beat writer Chris Vivlamore's report earlier today about the Hawks suspending Ivan Johnson for one game for an incident on the bench in Boston, I found one thing encouraging. Larry Drew told C-Viv that he had a good conversation with Ivan before he boarded a plane back to Atlanta and that the punishment was no different than he would have given to any other player.

I've been concerned that Drew might be the type to hold a grudge. For example, consider T-Mac's time in the dog house this year after he complained to the media about playing time. A game like this shows that Drew will still utilize a player he's had past difficulties with. It also shows that T-Mac can still help the Hawks in the playoffs, especially if Orlando is the first-round draw. 5/10

Vladimir Radmanovic: Probably wouldn't have played if Ivan was available, and you can't expect much after all the time he's missed. 2/10

Jannero Pargo: The President of the Atlanta Hawks Streak Shooter Committee, Pargo is not a shot creator like Jamal Crawford. His struggles handling the ball have been well-chronicled on these pages. One thing he is, however, is a shot maker. 8/10

Jerry Stackhouse: Scored 11 points in 13 minutes as he toyed with Orlando's bench in garbage time. 6/10

Jason Collins: Marked present. Incomplete

Erick Dampier: Marked present. Incomplete

The head coach
Drew was thoroughly out-coached in Wednesday’s loss in Boston, but I still feel like the team is coming together. Doug Collins and Stan Van Gundy could both learn a few things from Drew about personality management. Not much coaching was required in this one.

A thought regarding the opposition
In the immediate aftermath of Van Gundy revealing that Howard asked for his removal as head coach, Miami Herald columnist Israel Gutierrez appeared on an ESPN First Take segment titled “Whose Side Are You On?” Gutierrez opened his remarks by saying, “I don’t see how anyone could NOT be on Stan Van Gundy’s side.” He went on to elaborate that Van Gundy was under no obligation to protect Dwight Howard’s reputation.

I can understand why you would be more concerned with shaping people’s perceptions of players if you are a newspaper columnist, but if you are an NBA head coach, shouldn’t you be more concerned about wins and losses? In what way does Van Gundy improve the prospects of the Orlando Magic by revealing Howard as a coach killer and sending his reputation just South of LeBron James? As mentioned previously, Van Gundy had the opportunity to coach the best center of a generation in two consecutive generations and failed to win a championship with either one. He’ll make a great commentator though.

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