The Atlanta Hawks had the second best offense in the NBA last season. You wouldn’t know it by watching them — and certainly not by watching them in the playoffs — because certain Hawks have a tendency to do absolutely maddening things with the basketball, but they did. And that offense, potent in the regular season but solvable in the postseason, has the potential to become omnipotent under Larry Drew. A few injuries have made Drew’s task of revamping the already vamped offense more difficult than it should have been, but Atlanta is showing real offensive progress nonetheless.
Sebastian Pruiti broke down Atlanta’s O for NBA Playbook, and several of the clips he showcased are very promising. In Pruiti’s first analyzed clip, the Hawks run a heavy-motion set straight out the flex playbook, and while Drew won’t be running the flex full-time a la Jerry Sloan, this is still the type of play-calling innovation (innovation by Hawks’ standards, anyway) that can make even better use of Atlanta’s talent. They may have had the second best regular season offense in the league last year, but isn’t it startling to think that they may only be scratching the surface of their offensive potential?
So much of Atlanta’s offense will again go through Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford, and the team’s success in their new offense will depend largely on both of those players’ tendency to break plays. Isolation possessions will inevitably rear their head, but “give the ball to Joe and watch” is no longer an acceptable offensive sequence. It’s early yet, but this could be a new day for the Hawks.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.