Archives For August 2013

As you may have heard, Ivan Johnson will be playing in China next season.

My simple question is… why?

It was my understanding back in late-June/early-July that Ivan was unlikely to be brought back due his outwardly rebellious nature. I mean, this is the guy that is banned from the Korean Basketball League. While Ivan’s behavior in the NBA hasn’t been as noteworthy, he was still a guy that was continuously in Coach Drew’s doghouse for things like showing up late to meetings, practices, games, etc.

So even though I didn’t anticipate seeing Ivan in an ATL uniform for the 2013-14 season, I did think he would make it with another team, even at a price tag worth more than the veteran’s minimum. His per game averages of 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds may not sound that game changing, but consider that Ivan was only playing 15 minutes a game. Those are per-36 averages of almost 16 points and nine rebounds. On the more advanced side of stats, he had a PER of 15.7 and a true-shooting of 54.6%, which is higher than the league average. He’s also a positive defender that is capable of defending all three frontcourt positions. Even if he can be a little rough on a team’s PR department, those are still good enough stats and attributes to be in an NBA team’s rotation.

The good news for Ivan Johnson fans is that his agent hints they may be back in the NBA once the Chinese season is over. The Chinese season ends in March and Ivan will still be eligible to sign with any team. With this being the case, I could definitely see Ivan getting looks from some of the league’s contenders in hopes of adding an impact bench player before the playoffs. (ala Tracy McGrady with the Spurs… except that Ivan would probably get real playing time)

Let’s take a look back at some of Ivan’s best moments as a Hawk. (WARNING: NSFW language)

On Tuesday, Lou Williams dropped his first mixtape “Here Goes Nothin’.” Being that it’s August and we are starved of anything even remotely basketball related to talk about, Cole Patty and I, HawksHoop’s resident amateur hip-hop critics, had a lengthy email conversation about the mixtape. You can listen to the mixtape here. (Also, please spare us the “He should be in the gym” comments. Lou spends an inordinate amount of time in the gym. He’s allowed to have a hobby, especially when he’s good at it. AwesomeThanks)

Robby: Cole, the day we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived: LOU WILL’S MIXTAPE DROPPED! We’ve been talking about this for what, a couple months?! After listening to it for the first time, I must say that it was worth the wait. A 16 track mixtape was a lot more than I expected, and I was impressed by the quality of the tape top to bottom. I expected it to have a few solid tracks, but wasn’t sure he could produce a full tape. I gotta say I’m impressed.

Cole: Yea, Lou definitely picked up some of the tricks of the trade from his fellow Philly native Meek Mill. Also an interesting part of the mixtape is how these songs are grouped together. It isn’t just a random collection of songs that sound exactly like the single “Playin,” it is more set up with an album that features both tracks where LouWillville swags out and songs where we see the emotional side of Lou Williams. As funny as it was when Williams drops the “I use to rap about bitches and money and now I rap about… bitches and money” line, it was also cool to listen to him rhyme a tribute to the late Lil Snupe – which Lil Snupe was one of Meek Mill and Williams’ better friends.

Robby: I’m glad you brought up how it felt more like an album than a mixtape. Mixtapes tend to be unorganized and have one singular tone throughout. “Here Goes Nothin” had a lot more depth to its content than I anticipated, and like you said bounced around from bangers to slower, more emotional tracks.

Continue Reading…

5-on-5: Offseason Grades

Bo Churney —  August 20, 2013

Since most roster acquisitions should be done by now, the HawksHoop crew got together to give out their grades on how Danny Ferry did in his second offseason as General manager.

1. How would you grade the Hawks’ signing of Paul Millsap? (1-10)

Nubyjas Wilborn: 7. Milsap’s stats are comparable to Smoove’s. No, he won’t be as exhilarating, but he won’t be as infuriating either. It was best move Hawks could considering the circumstances. 5-on-5
Chris Barnewall: 10000000000000000. The Millsap signing was the steal of the offseason by contract value alone. When you lose a guy as good on defense as Josh Smith is, it’s very hard to replace that. Millsap isn’t as good on defense but he can manage thanks to some very quick feet and his shot selection won’t drive Hawks fans to a chorus of “NOOOO”. Millsap is a player who is best when next to a good defensive center and the Hawks have that in Al Horford. Great great GREAT signing.
David Vertsberger: 9. Signing Paul Millsap for under $10 million a year was one of the steals of the summer. The former Jazz forward will fill the gap left by Josh Smith with improved offensive qualities – less long twos, better spacing (35% shooting compared to 19% from 10-16 feet) and higher efficiency (TS% of 55 compared to Smith’s of 50%). While the defense takes a bit of a step back, simply looking at the value of this deal makes this a 9. Continue Reading…

With the Atlanta Hawks’ roster all but finalized and the new season drawing nearer, fans are running rampant with debate, predictions, and most of all – excitement. The Hawks have rebuilt themselves from ground up into practically a fresh organization, and a summer full of questions is approaching it’s eclipse. The only unsolved queries are to be solved on the court, where an unfamiliar mold will look to compete under the pressure of expectation. Undoubtedly, like every basketball team before them, the 2014 Atlanta Hawks will find themselves on the brink of win or loss in the final stages of a ball game. It is in these moments when they will have to cement themselves as a formidable opponent, but just how are they going to do so?

Head coach Mike Budenholzer hails from San Antonio’s coaching staff, one heralded for their excellence in maintaining a dominant basketball team over a resounding stretch of time. One thing Budenholzer brings to the table is his knowledge of the Spurs’ play sets, and what particularly interests me is which ones he can borrow from his days in the Lone Star State and use down the stretch in tight contests. Continue Reading…

Nogueira to Stay in Spain

Bo Churney —  August 12, 2013

The AJC’s Chris Vivlamore has reported that Lucas Nogueira will spend this season playing in Spain.

This isn’t an unexpected move. Lucas still has a lot of developing to do and Elton Brand and Gustavo Ayon will act as suitable alternatives until Nogueira can come over.

Atlanta’s second-round pick, Mike Muscala, will also play in Spain this season. Dennis Schröder has already been signed by the club. For some analysis of Nogueira’s play with the Hawks’ Summer League team, click here and here.

The Ferry Transition

Bo Churney —  August 12, 2013

Not all sixth-seeds are created equal.

As has become commonplace recently, the Atlanta Hawks appear to be a middle-of-the-pack playoff team heading in the 2013-14 season. This is a place they frequented over the past several seasons of the Josh Smith and Joe Johnson era.

In the past, a playoff berth in the East was Atlanta’s floor. As long as they had Joe, Josh, and Al Horford, the Hawks were a safe bet to play postseason basketball. This construction was passed off as a blueprint for success and, in a sense, the team was as competitive as anything that had ever been put out on the court in the ATL. The Joe Johnson era Hawks were capable of the occasional burst of inspiration, but were largely an upper-middle class squad designed for an annual first- or second-round exit each spring.

Though it might be hard to distinguish between past seasons and the Hawks’ current course, Danny Ferry is following a radically different path. Continue Reading…

Just a few days go, the NBA released the 2013-2014 season schedule in it’s entirety. For our Atlanta Hawks, you can view their full schedule by clicking this link. However if that doesn’t suit you, I went ahead and did a breakdown of the upcoming Hawks season, featuring all of the schedule details you really need to be aware of. Continue Reading…

Hawks’ Schedule Released

Bo Churney —  August 6, 2013

The entire NBA schedule was released today. Here is a link to the Hawks’ schedule.

The Hawks will open the season at Dallas on October 30th. Their first home game will be on November 1st against the Toronto Raptors.

Among other important things: the Hawks will have at least six nationally televised games. They will not play Brooklyn in Atlanta this year, as their only “home” game is one of the league’s scheduled games in London. The Hawks will play at home against the Miami Heat on MLK Day (January 20th) and on April 12th. Oklahoma City plays here on December 10th, with the Lakers playing here shortly after on the 16th.

Once again, another link to the schedule release.

The Hawks signed forward DeMarre Carroll today according to Carroll’s twitter account.

The deal is assumed to be worth two years, $5 million.

Carroll last season averaged six points and 2.8 rebounds per game last season. With the Hawks, he’ll probably see a lot of time at the 3 but will be able to play the 4 if they wish to go small. Carroll’s primary role will likely to be a wing defender.

With the signing of Carroll, the Hawks have also waived Deshawn Stevenson. This is a good move, because it clears over $2 million off the books and gets rid of an aging Stevenson who did not play well last season.

The Hawks announced today that Mike Budenholzer has added Jim Thomas to his staff as an assistant coach. Thomas will join Quin Synder, Kenny Atkinson, Taylor Jenkins, and Darvin Ham on the coaching staff.

From the Hawks’ press release:

Most recently a college scout for the Oklahoma City Thunder for the last four years, Thomas was previously with the New York Knicks (scout, 2005-07), Indiana University (assistant coach, 2001-04), and Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach (1996-99) and scout (1994-96).

“We’re pleased to add Jim to our coaching staff,” Budenholzer said. “He’s been a part of a number of successful programs, and his coaching and playing experience will blend well with our group.”

Selected in the second round (40th overall) of the 1983 NBA Draft by the Pacers, the 52-year-old Thomas appeared in 161 games over four seasons with Indiana, the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota, averaging 8.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 20.9 minutes (.471 FG%, .763 FT%). He also spent time playing in the Continental Basketball Association, World Basketball League and with Baloncesto Murcia in Spain.

Thomas played collegiately at Indiana from 1979-83, where he was the starting shooting guard on the Hoosiers’ 1981 National Championship team. He was also a 10th round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in the 1983 NFL Draft as a defensive back. He grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.