Friday, May 11, 2012

Another early exit fo the Hawks...

I think this blog has an annual May entry, as the Hawks bowed out early in the NBA Playoffs for the 5th straight year.  For those that don't know, the Hawks history in the playoffs is not impressive to say the least.  This year isn't unlike the others, but before we dive in to what happened and what now, I want to get this out there...not giving excuses, but I am 100% sure that the following things are true:

1)  If Paul Pierce made the same move against Joe Johnson that Joe made against him at the end of Game 6, there would have been a foul called.
2)  If Rondo/Pierce/Garnett/Allen had been fouled the way Al was at the end of Game 6, a flagrant foul would have been called.
3)  If the Celtics had lost Game 6 in Atlanta to lose the series and had a player fouled clearly before an in-bounds pass, we would have had multiple experts telling us the Celtics were screwed and it would have been a topic on PTI, Around the horn, etc, and Bill Simmons would have written a column on how bad the officiating was in the series, specifically Game 6.

But I digress...it was a disappointing series loss, but the problem is traced to Game 2 when the Hawks lost at home to a Boston team that was without Allen/Rondo, and had a double-digit 3rd quarter lead.  This team looks outstanding at time, and completely no-shows others.  I want to think that this core can do better, but it just doesn't seem likely.  That being said...

The only thing management can do for the betterment of the franchise is keep this core intact.  Breaking up this team, i.e. trading Josh Smith, will make this team much worse.  Believe me, if I thought the Hawks could get multiple players/picks/etc for Smith, I would be for it, but they simply won't get equal value in a trade.

If ASG and Sund think the team needs to trade Smith to improve the team and appease the fan base, the move would go against everything the front office has said the past few years, which is that this core can advance past Round 2.  If they break up the team, they will likely go the route of the franchise 15 years ago when Pete Babcock caved in and got rid of Mookie/Smith/Deke and others in order to get younger and more athletic (bringing in Isaiah Rider)....

Truthfully, the way to win titles in the NBA is to get an All-Timer (Kobe, LeBron, Dirk, Duncan) and surround him with solid pieces and hope other stars choose to join him.  The easiest way to get one of these guys is to have a Top 5 draft pick, which would likely be coming the Hawks way if they blow up the current core.

The likely scenario:  Management renews Larry Drew for another year or two, Sund keeps some of the veterans, brings in some new veterans, adds a 1st round pick, and ASG sells the city on seeing what this team can do when healthy.

The scary scenario:  Management panics and trades key pieces for less than equal value and this is a 35 win team next year.

My suggestion:  Scenario 1 without renewing Larry Drew.  Lets bring in someone that has won before and would have the players respect.  Flip Saunders was just fired for not being able to win with an awful Wizards roster, but is just a few years removed from 3 straight conference finals series. 

There is a time to blow up a roster, but with the contracts this team has and the current trade market, now is not it for the Hawks.  The Falcons sold me on "Hey, it will be better with the same players if we get better coaches", it's time for the ASG to prepare the same pitch.

4 comments:

William Satterwhite said...

Do you really think Drew is a problem? As opposed to Woodson whose basic coaching philosophy seemed self-limiting, I've not seen anything from Drew that says he can't get the best out of whatever group of players you give him. It seems to me the best thing for the Hawks to do is try to be a third wheel that helps facilitate a larger trade or two (for example, jump into whatever Dwight Howard talks there may be not with the goal of landing Howard but rather helping someone else land him by taking on some useful baggage). The team is at a point where a little bit of creativity could go a long ways.

Jeff said...

If Sund or whoever replaces him can get creative, I am certainly for it...I just don't know of a scenario where we can get much better by moving our top assets (Smith, Horford). I also don't think that Drew is a problem, but I think the franchise would be best suited by bringing in some new life, as Drew was an assistant on those Woody teams. Drew did a decent job, but I don't think he got the best out of this years team.

Rob said...

I struggle with the "what if" factor regarding a healthy Horford during the season and a healty Zaza in the playoffs. Would Horford have added 3-6 more wins during the season? Probably not with a 66 game season but this would have improved the chances of a 2nd rd appearance with a higher playoff seeding for sure.
Regarding Drew.... is there a coach out there capable of maturing Josh and making a leader out of Joe? This to me presents the greatest upside for the Hawks. X's and O's isn't a glaring problem for the Hawks although one would have thought Vlad Rad could have made a bigger impact if given the chance in the Boston series. Their biggest problem still continues to be lack of will and heart. Horford is my favorite player because he possesses both of these.
For me personally it's harder to see a continual 1st and 2nd round playoff exit than it is to rebuild for 2-3 seasons with at least some light at the end of the tunnel. I don't ever see this team in it's current state ever making a conference finals or championship run. I would loove to be proven wrong though.....

Rob said...

I wish there was a feasible scenario to trade Joe or Josh (preferably Joe) for a lottery pick. I don't looove Anthony Davis but isn't there upside if you bring a superstar to Charlotte or NOLA with the "win now" mentality? The Hawks sign a rookie deal and get in the running for another big name veteran with the extra cash. If you're MJ don't you jump all over something like this? His franchise is struggling and winning now seems like a huge upside as I don't think any lottery picks on either of these two teams presents a playoff run.
How far off base am I?