Archives For October 2013

Elton Brand isn’t what he used to be. A former year-in, year-out 20-10 option, Brand tore his Achilles in his last year with the Clippers, signed with Philadelphia, and never returned to the All-Star form he once had. This led to the former Duke product’s demise with the franchise as the 76ers eventually decided he would be their designated amnesty player. Elton then spent one year in Dallas, as they won the amnesty auction for a mere $2.1 million. Surely, he wasn’t the desired commodity he use to be.

However, for everything Elton Brand is no longer is at this point of his career, he isn’t necessarily a bad player overall. His contract is actually quite a bargain. Brand came to the Hawks this summer on a 1-year, $4 million dollar deal, and that fits perfectly into what the Hawks are trying to do in the organizational build standpoint. With Lucas Nogueira waiting to make the leap to the NBA, Elton is the perfect stop gap measure. The question comes down to what Brand can produce on the court at 34-years-old.

Spacing is a very buzz-worthy concept in the NBA today, and for good reason; you can’t maintain a strong offense if four defenders can defend any given shot by one of your offensive players. There is a need to use every corner of the floor. With Elton, he brings spacing in a different dimension than what first comes to mind. Paul Millsap and Al Horford prefer the left side of the floor for their mid-range shots — though Al is strong on most angles, just is slightly better left — and they will be able to stay in their comfortable domains whenever Brand comes on the floor. Elton shot 40-82 on the right side of the floor outside of the paint, and his 48.8% mark on that side of the floor is more than enough to be considered a green area (high efficiency) on Vorped. Meanwhile he shot 37.9% on attempts outside of the paint on the left. For reference on how Al Horford and Paul Millsap favored the left side in comparison to the right. Al shot 48.3% on the left-side and a still-manageable 40.8% on the right, while Paul shot 40.2% and 38.7% respectively. It’s worth mentioning that while Paul’s numbers from a strict left-side, right-side basis don’t look strong (thanks Utah’s offense!), he was absolute money on non-baseline shots on the left-side outside the paint. Millsap hit 55.3% of these shots, which ranks in the upper echelon around the league. Continue Reading…

Per a report by VividSeats – a ticket sales site – the Atlanta Hawks are ninth in median ticket price for the upcoming 2013-14 NBA season. The report lists the media price at $111, trailing only New York, Los Angeles (Lakers), Oklahoma City, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles (Clippers), Brooklyn and Houston.

This comes as a surprise considering Atlanta’s attendance statistics over it’s recent history. Last year, Philips Arena was 26th in average total attendance and 23rd in attendance percentage according to ESPN. On top of this, the report also states that the Hawks aren’t one of the teams competing in this season’s 25-most expensive contests – where at the summit lies the Heat at the Lakers on Christmas Day.

The Hawks are relatively glanced over by the common fan league-wise, living among the depths of the league in popularity with lesser teams. The Hawks only have 5 nationally-televised games this season when including NBATV, but strictly between TNT, ESPN and ABC they have 3 games (tied for 18th in the league) that can be seen by non-League Pass owning fans outside of the Atlanta area.

However this team is in the middle of one of the most impressive rebuilding efforts in the league, perfectly walking the line between staying competitive and looking to improve on an incomplete core. As the team continues to grow and get better, don’t let the median ticket price be a scare. When looking at the average ticket prices in VividSeats’s report, the Hawks are tied for 18th in the NBA at $144 a ticket.

You can visit VividSeats at: VividSeats.com and follow them on Twitter: @VividSeats

2012-13 Record: 41-41 (10th in West)z-mavericks

Playoff Results: N/A

Key Additions: Monta Ellis (free agent), Jose Calderon (free agent), Samuel Dalembert (free agent), Devin Harris (free agent), Shane Larkin (draft), Ricky Ledo (#25DollarsOfFaith)

Key Losses: O.J. Mayo (free agent), Elton Brand (free agent), Chris Kaman (free agent), Darren Collison (free agent)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 34-48 (12th in West)*

What to Expect: Mark Cuban’s courage is noble; his cigar blowing plane rides, late-night trophy showcasing endeavors, his championship urinal trips are imperial. His eccentricity is what sets him apart from other owners: you know who Mark Cuban is. His honesty – for good or bad – is refreshing. His confidence is unparalleled. The world was shocked when the Mavericks – behind a number of heroic playoff performances from a number of players – snatched the throne from the hands of King James.

But Mark Cuban – in the midst of his vibrant celebrations – was already planning his next move. He is a natural business, after all. He let free agents Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler – both major defensive components of the 2011 championship run – walk away for nothing. He signed a plethora of players to one year deals and began eyeing the 2013 summer. Continue Reading…

Hawks took another brutal loss in what has been a tough preseason. The Pacers, led by 24 from Hawks playoff bugaboo David West, blasted the boys of the Highlight Factory 107-89.

Al Horford was the primarily guarded and was checked by West. Horford lost the battle shooting 6-14 for 12 points, while West was 9-for-16 with six of his 24 coming from the free throw line.

It wasn’t just West who balled out in the front court; Luis Scola came off the bench and poured in 20 points. Paul George also had 17 in limited action. One of the concerns coming into the season was how the Hawks would handle high scoring big men and tonight didn’t ease any of those concerns.

“It is a concern, but we are going to do the best that we can to finish the preseason and get to work in practice to get it together as best we can.” Horford said.

Of course, those concerns were compounded in the absence of Paul Millsap, who sat out due to a sore Achilles. However, the Hawks remain confident that once the season starts they will be in gear. Coach Budenholzer sees the 1-5 record as a short stumble for a long term benefit. Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks have cut their roster down to 17 players today, waiving James Johnson as the team continues on it’s path to cutting down their squad to the league’s maximum of 15.

Johnson played for 3 teams in his first 3 NBA seasons, and played for the Hawks for 4 preseason contests. In these games Johnson averaged just under 12 minutes a game – struggling to find a niche on the team with his total scoring equating to 6 points on 6 shots. He had more fouls than rebounds, assists or blocks as a tweener who has yet to find where he is best implemented.

The players that are still fighting for a spot on Atlanta’s roster (players with unguaranteed contracts per hoopshype.com) are Eric Dawson, Royal Ivey, Shelvin Mack and Cartier Martin. The Hawks’ next preseason game is tomorrow against the Pacers at Phillips Arena.

Grizzlies 90, Hawks 82

Bo Churney —  October 20, 2013

Bad news for the Hawks: they lost.

Good news for the Hawks: Jerryd Bayless likely won’t be hitting everything he throws up when the regular season starts. Bayless scored 22 points on 8-for-9 shooting (5-for-5 on threes in the first half) to lead the Grizzlies to a 90-82 victory in Philips Arena.

“Jerryd Bayless, I don’t think he ever missed,” Coach Mike Budenholzer said.

“He was shooting lights out,” Jeff Teague said. “When guys get hot like that it’s hard to stop them.”

Bayless was the only Grizzlies starter to have success on offense, however. The Hawks played very stingy defense on Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, limiting Gasol to 10 points and Randolph to only four field goal attempts.

“They get the ball inside, it’s an emphasis in their offense,” Budenholzer said, “so for us, to get tested like that in the preseason and for Al [Horford] and Paul [Millsap] and everybody to defend the paint and to defend the post pretty decently… I think we’ll learn from that.” Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 57-25 (3rd in West)z-nuggets

Playoff Result: Lost in First Round

Key Additions: Nate Robinson (free agent), J.J. Hickson (free agent), Randy Foye (free agent), Brian Shaw (coach), Tim Connelly (general manager)

Key Losses: Andre Iguodala (trade), Corey Brewer (free agent), Kosta Koufos (trade), George Karl (coach), Masai Ujiri (general manger)

Projected 2013-14 Record: 36-46 (9th in West)*

What to Expect: “So much of coaching is you cheat your family,” George Karl muttered solemnly to a room full of reporters. He paused, fighting back tears, “This is not about me. This is about a lot of people.” Karl, the 62-year-old head basketball coach of the Nuggets, was accepting his 2013 Coach of the Year award. Less than a month later, he was fired by the organization that he had just led to a franchise record 57 wins. His firing is a cold reminder that the NBA is a business. And when winning regular season games doesn’t equate to playoff victories – Karl was 21-38 in the playoffs with the Nuggets, only escaping the first round once in nine seasons – the nature of business, that only the strong survive, takes over. Continue Reading…

2012-13 Record: 45-37 (5th in East)z-bulls

Playoff Result: Lost in Second Round

Key Additions: Derrick Rose (from injury), Mike Dunleavy (free agency), Tony Snell (draft)

Key Losses: Nate Robinson (free agency), Marco Belinelli (free agency), Derrick Rose return date jokes

Projected 2013-14 Record: 54-28 (3rd in East)*

What to Expect: If there’s anything to expect from the Bulls, it’s lock-down, terrifyingly good defense. Derrick Rose, no Derrick Rose, Tom Thibodeau’s Bulls are an elite defensive team that makes a struggling Rose-less offense obsolete. Last year’s Bulls were 6th in DRTG per Basketball-Reference, the year before second and in 2011 first. But with Rose’s return this upcoming season, Jimmy Butler improving and Chicago adding a couple of floor-spacers, their stifling defense will likely now be backed up with a very star-driven offense – making for a scary prospect.

It would be unjust to say this team won’t be contending this season, with no real glaring flaws to be addressed. Spacing issues aren’t nearly as drastic as they once were with this team. The returning Rose has no rust to shake off, as far as we’ve seen in the pre-season. There are health questions, with Noah and Rose both with their fair share of injuries in recent years, but a lot of which are isolated incidents and in reality it could happen to any team. Continue Reading…

Mike Budenholzer and Gregg Popovich shared a hug at center court before the start of tonight’s preseason game between the Hawks and Spurs. It was the first time the two had ever been coaching on opposing sides of the court.

Advantage still belongs to Popovich and the Spurs after a 106-104 victory.

The two teams got off to poor starts, turning in 44-41 first half with the Spurs on top. However, San Antonio exploded in the third quarter, scoring 38 points to Atlanta’s 26 to take a decisive hold on the game.

“We let our guard down,” said DeMarre Carroll on the Spurs’ big third frame. “We have to play with more energy. For the most part, we did a lot of great things as a team. we just have to continue to keep finding ourselves.”

Until he could watch the tape, Coach Budenholzer left his review on the third quarter simple:

“We can’t have a 38 point defensive quarter.” Continue Reading…

Horford is still the highest rated Hawk. Shocking.

Al moves up one spot from his spring ranking (20th) and is up 11 spots from last season. (30th) This 19th ranking represents the highest a Hawks has been in NBA rank since ESPN started the series in 2011.

With what Horford did at the end of last season (19.7 ppg, 11.1 rpg after the break), you have to wonder: what is he capable of now that Josh Smith is playing in Detroit?

In our HawksHoop Hangout last night, we hypothesized what Horford’s stat line could look like and the results were extremely positive: we all thought that Horford will average 20 points per game this year, and that he could easily get to 10 rebounds and even up to five assists. I doubt Horford will reach all of these benchmarks, but it seems like he’s poised to do at least one or two of them. And, of course, he will probably be throwing in a block and a steal to that line.

Bottom line is this: if Horford stays healthy and plays at the level we expect him to this season, we could see him climb even higher the next time NBA rank rolls around.