Hawks coach Larry Drew said he was going to shake things up with his slumping team, but nobody saw this coming.
The Atlanta Hawks have suspended Josh Smith for their home game Wednesday against the streaking Brooklyn Nets, the team announced. He also was fined for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
“I’m disappointed that it came to that,” Drew said, via the Hawks official twitter account. “After tonight’s game, we will embrace Josh again. My focus right now is on the team and the organization.”
No details were given, but according to a tweet from Chris Viviamore with the Atlanta Journal Constitution Smith had been kicked out of Hawks practice on Tuesday.
Smith texted a statement to Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today who tweeted it out:
“Clearly I am competitive and was frustrated by our recent losses. I understand and respect the team’s actions and just want to get back on the court to do whatever is necessary to help my teammates. I apologize for letting them down and apologize to our fans” for missing Nets game.”
Sure, that’s exactly what Smith said. His agent or PR person didn’t write that. Why would you think so?
Zaza Pachulia will get the start in Smith’s place.
The Hawks are 3-7 in their last 10 with their defense having been dreadful and them on Monday night they scored just 58 points in an ugly loss to the Bulls. Smith has been part of the problem at both ends, but this has been a real team effort of embarrassment.
Drew was promising to change things, and if nothing else this sends a message.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.
Bill Bridges, a star as a Kansas Jayhawk who went on to have a 12-year NBA career that included being part of the 1975 Golden State Warriors championship team, has passed away, according to the University of Kansas.
Bridges was an undersized power forward at 6’6″ but he was a beast on the boards who averaged 11.9 rebounds a game for his career and more than 13 a game for six straight years at the peak of his career. That 11.9 per game average is still 27th all-time in NBA history.
A New Mexico native, Bridges was a three-time All-Star (all as a member of the Hawks), two-time All-NBA Defensive team, and was part of the 1975 Warriors title team. Besides the Hawks (St. Louis and Atlanta) and Warriors, Bridges played for the Sixers and Lakers.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.