Sunday, May 06, 2012

Initial Feedback: Whoo Boy

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
: When the ball is taken out of his hands when he's playing exceptionally well, as in Game 3, I have some sympathy for Teague's efforts to force matters when things are going terribly poor and the guy who dominates the ball when Teague is keeping the team in the game, as in Game 3, shies away when the going gets tough. There's no suitable explanation for Teague's role, nor that of any of his teammates, in the defensive performance. Consider that assumed in every comment below. 3/10

Joe Johnson: Put in his place by Paul Pierce. A complete non-factor everywhere except the balance sheet. 2/10

Kirk Hinrich: The team-wide meltdown rendered the discussion of minute distribution between role players and bench players moot. That the game got out of hand while Hinrich was on the bench is the best thing one can say about his night. 2/10

Josh Smith: Deserves credit for playing hurt but was clearly limited in every facet of his game. That he was still the team's best player says more about the healthy Hawks and their head coach than Smith. 5/10

Jason Collins: It says more about Boston's limitations that it took four games for Jason Collins to be an obvious liability. 1/10

Marvin Williams: Marvin Williams ineffective in playoff game is the "dog bites man" of Atlanta Hawks analysis. 2/10

Jannero Pargo: He was on the court when the game got out of hand. Surprising no one other than Larry Drew. It's tough to score 8 points in 8 minutes and have your team go from 8 points down to 19 points down. Pargo managed the feat. 2/10

Al Horford: Despite the outcome, it is nice to have him back. After a very rusty first stint, he didn't look half bad if one considers the game context and his long lay off to negate each other. It says multitudes about both Horford and the organization that, in the playoffs, having missed four months the immediate question following the game is whether he's the best or second-best player. 5/10

Tracy McGrady: Continued in the ineffective vein of the bulk of his Game 3 performance. Were he to acknowledge his current limitations, he might be an effective role player when physically able. He does not and he mostly is not. 1/10

Willie Green: Even in a series between two mediocre playoff teams at less than full strength, Green looks out of his depth. 2/10

Erick Dampier: Garbage time All-Star. 2/10

Vladimir Radmanovic: Garbage time Non-Star. 1/10

Ivan Johnson: This is how the Atlanta Hawks reward a good regular season. If you want minutes in the playoffs, come back when you're in your thirties, take more jump shots, and don't fight through screens. 2/10

The head coach
Larry Drew pversaw a complete and utter disaster which only makes the previous games' missed opportunities more bitter. After writing about this team for five seasons, it's somehow appropriate that the game Drew decides to stagger rest for Johnson, Teague and Smith is the one the Hawks trail by 13 after one quarter, 23 after two quarters and 27 after three quarters. It's not a risk to take in close games, but rather a desperation move to ride your best players whilst one is playing hurt, one is criticized after playing the best game any Hawk has played in the series, and one is retreating into his shell. This game, unwinnable part-way through the second quarter, is the game Larry Drew rested his best players for during Games 2 and 3. 1/10

A thought regarding the opposition
Not enough good can be said about Paul Pierce's dominating offensive performance, Rajon Rondo far surpassing his triple-double performance in Game 3, Kevin Garnett's activity on both ends of the floor within the team concept, and the entire roster's defensive performance. Where the Hawks looked like the legacy of Mike Woodson's man-management with Larry Drew's tactics, the Celtics looked like the legacy of Tom Thibodeau's defensive tactics with Doc Rivers' man-management. Such an investment in coaching is not possible in Atlanta.

Pierce, Garnett, and Ray Allen were all better than Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, and Al Horford will ever be. Perhaps I underrate the ability to draw on past greatness when the occasion arises, but there appears to be a cultural difference between these two evenly-matched teams. The Hawks experience the events of the game, where actions good and ill seem at the periphery of their control. The Celtics recognize they can't control events to the degree they once could and focus on how they can overcome their newfound limitations to win games.

For the Hawks the outcome of the game is in doubt and that's just the way it is. For the Celtics, the outcome of the game is in doubt and they hate that fact.


Chuckman said...

Your statement "reguarding the opposition" is on the money.

This group of players don't play as a team and I don't care how much talent you've got, they can't win unless that happens. Maybe its a combo of coaching and chemistry. I can understand getting beat by a more talented team in a hard fought game, but this wasn't the case tonight. They quit.

Eric said...

There is a huge team chemistry problem. The Hawks are paying 100M+ to a guy who is NOT a leader. Josh Smith is not the world's greatest teammate. And we invested in a bench that would have been amazing 7 years ago. My suggestion: keep Teague & Horford. Trade Williams, Smith, and Johnson (if there's a taker on his mammoth contract). This team will never win with Johnson as a "leader" and the poor locker room culture.

Bronnt said...

Did Josh Smith earn an extra point or two for playing hurt? 6 turnovers are a lot for any player who plays only about 30 minutes, and it's a ton for someone who shouldn't be handling the ball a lot. And many of them were of the egregious, head-scratching variety that is so typically Josh Smith.

Giving Pargo a two just makes the scale seem broken. The team is really, really bad defensively when he's on the floor, and he's also being asked to play the role of distributor, a role in which he's extremely unsuited.

Chuckman said...

You are on the money. Those two give the Hawks the best chance in the near future with what they have to work with

Bret LaGree said...

Yes, Josh Smith got extra credit for playing on one leg (Horford got extra credit for coming back early, as well).

As for Pargo, I'm not docking him for being in the game for an eternity-seeming 8 minutes and 40 seconds in the first half (that decision is reflected in Larry Drew's rating) and he did make as many field goals as any Hawk in the first half.

jrauch said...

Its Groundhog Day in Hawks land. Same old mind boggling coaching choices -- could anyone map out Larry Drew's rotation if their life depended on it? -- and our highest paid player is now more or less a spot-up wing shooter. Ray Allen, who's ankles are decaying right in front of our eyes, gets easier shots than JJJJJJJoe.

Embarassing performance all around. I would like to see them amnesty Johnson, but I know in the end they'd just use the space to sign Allen Iverson to a max deal, because he was awesome a decade ago.

Where was this motion offense Drew promised us? I see more of Iso-Joe now than ever before.

Santhizar said...

This team seems to have a game every playoff where they just give up and stop caring to run the offense. Joe puts on a cape we never should have given him, and things fall apart. That's being compounded by our zombie bench not playing defense.

In your opinions, is there ever a point where it makes sense to Amnesty Joe, flounder for a year while we rebuild, and try to come up with a more solid team around Teague, Horford, and Smith? Do we pay a man to go away from our cap?

There's no scenario in my mind where we become a legitimate contender without doing something to clear the ledger and get some younger, not-washed up depth. And with the way he's playing (partially due to us asking the impossible), no one's going to take a trade on him.

A better coach might maximize this team's potential, but that potential, even if we were disciplined every game, would not get us far enough against the Heat and Bulls to make it through the second round without injuries being a factor. (On another note, no Rose in our path? This was our chance, and we blew it!) We are a team and fanbase in limbo, waiting for someone to make a decision to change things.

Bret LaGree said...

Santhizar --

Amnesty options (#1 no longer relevant at this time) discussed in this post.

khodithelight said...

This team needs to be scrapped. Scrapped, dismantled, disassembled, all of it. The coach has NO idea how to win with what he has got. The team has NO desire to win. Joe Johnson has NO business making that much money. Cliche maybe, but sweet god almighty, how can Joe Johnson not be nationally labeled as the biggest waste of money in the NBA?

I don't want to wait 5+ years for a playoffs caliber team to be assembled but I cannot take another year of this "aww shucks, we lost" Hawks squad.

Knox said...

"I would like to see them amnesty Johnson, but I know in the end they'd just use the space to sign Allen Iverson to a max deal, because he was awesome a decade ago." -Jrauch

Funny, but possibly too true.

Buddy Grizzard said...

Just went back and read the Amnesty options article from November. This quote stuck out:

"Williams' market value is at an all-time low right now."

Have we reached the bottom yet?