Tag: Larry Drew

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six

What the Hawks should do when the lockout ends

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Last season: Same old, same old? Progress and a step back? Stumbling backwards into success? There’s got to be some sort of ridiculous phrase to describe the Hawks’ 2011 season. Their offense took a serious step back, despite all the talk of getting out of Mike Woodson’s system. Larry Drew took over, and the Hawks plummeted from 2nd in offensive rating to 2oth. They were an afterthought, a peaceful reminder that there were some teams out there who didn’t have trios of superstars, just trios of very good ones.

Then the playoffs. The Magic, who should have wiped the floor with them. But the Hawks and newly acquired at-the-deadline Kirk Hinrich had different plans. They disrupted, confused, and chortled the Magic’s perimeter attack while telling Dwight Howard, “do what you must, freak.” Howard did, but it wasn’t enough, especially when Jamal Crawford went gonzo. So despite taking a step back in games won, despite looking terrible on offense even in the playoffs, despite no significant improvement on defense, the Hawks made it as far as they have with this core of players.

Go figure.

Then the Bulls came, and despite a good showing, the Hawks exited rather quietly.

Since we last saw the Hawks: The Hawks have nine players left on contract. Jamal Crawford’s gone to seek somwhere more fun to throw up threes without a conscience (and hit them in huge moments I might add). Kirk Hinrich’s entering a contract year. At nine players, the Hawks have $66 million committed in salary. That’s with Jason Collins, Josh Powell, Etan Thomas and Hilton Armstrong all gone in free agency, presumably. Yes, the two words here are “Joe Johnson.”

When the lockout ends, the Hawks need to: All of my answers are implausible. Amnesty Joe Johnson? Give up a huge chunk of your offense and a very underrated defender. Trade Joe Johnson? No takers. Fire Larry Drew? He just took them to the second round semi-promised-land. Feature Al Horford in the offense more? His efficiency would drop with the usage increase. Strap a device that sends an electrical surge through Josh Smith whenever he shoots from further than 12 feet? Illegal in most states.

The Hawks are who they are. The most likely scenario has them ditching Josh Smith to try and get multiple pieces to build around Horford and Johnson, which will then of course coincide with Smith “realizing his potential” on a bigger stage. Clearly Jeff Teague is the future at point guard, which means that Hinrich is a very expensive backup at this point, despite his excellent play in the playoffs (a contender would benefit from adding Hinrich’s defensive experience). They should keep Magnum Rolle because his name’s awesome. Other than that, their options are limited.

Finding an offensive system that works in any capacity should be the top priority. Everything after that can get figured out. But the Hawks better pray that Larry Drew has more than he had last season, because the playoff run felt awfully player-inspired rather than coach-devised.

Report: Atlanta Hawks considering trading Josh Smith

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks - Game Four

Atlanta needs to do something to shake up this team, because it is clear the current roster is a step or two behind the elite in the East. And while you can expect that Chicago and Miami will be better next season, Atlanta isn’t going to get better without some bold moves.

Like trading Josh Smith.

Which is something they are exploring and something the forward is good with, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

The Atlanta Hawks have started to gauge trade interest on forward Josh Smith(notes), and Smith isn’t averse to ending his seven-year stay with his hometown team, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Monday.

Smith hasn’t requested a trade, but has privately told league friends that the Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic are his preferred destinations should the Hawks decide to move him.

Smith had another good season for the Hawks — 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game — but he and coach Larry Drew clashed, and that reportedly carried over to the locker room. Drew wanted Smith to shoot fewer jump shots, Smith undercut Drew in the locker room.

Smith has two years, $25.6 million left on his deal, not an unreasonable one for a borderline All-Star. But the Hawks are going to want real talent back and that may not be easy at all. Especially where Smith wants to go — Boston plans to make another run with their core, Orlando and New Jersey do not have a lot of good trade bait to offer. With that, don’t expect a deal, if one comes at all, until after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in place.

But the talks seem to be out there.

Hawks Drew has issue with Smith’s shot selection. Now?

Josh Smith of the Atlanta  Hawks walks off the court against the Chicago Bulls during the second half of Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference second round playoff basketball game in Chicago

In the first half and the start of the third quarter, Atlanta’s Josh Smith was firing away jump shots — and he was 0-for-6 from beyond 16 feet. He made up for that with four turnovers.

All that frustrated coach Larry Drew, who saw that as playing into the hands of the Bulls defense, he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

“I want him flying all over the place,” Drew said. “I don’t want him sitting out there just shooting jump shots and trying to make plays off the dribble.”

Drew is right. Completely. We have just one little question:

Now you’re mad about this? Where was this anger during the season?

This season Smith averaged 6.3 shots a game beyond 16 feet and 5.9 at the rim (via Hoopdata). For the record, Smith shot 68.9 percent at the rim, 39 percent from 16 feet out to the arc and 33.1 percent from three.

Smith has killed the Hawks offense with jump shots all season — he has defied Drew’s motion offense and shot more long balls per game than he has at any other point is his career.

And now Drew is mad? He needed to curb this behavior long ago.