Archives For 2012-13 Season

2012-13 Rewind: Josh Smith

Bo Churney —  June 24, 2013 — 1 Comment

smoove2

Josh Smith nearly averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds in the 2011-12 season. He was already known as a great defender and with Al Horford and an array of three-pointer shooters, it appeared as if he’d be able to play to his strengths more than he had ever had in his career.

Smoove was also in a contract year and still had the stigma of being snubbed from previous All-Star games. Those things seemed to be coming together in a perfect storm to create what should’ve been a great year from a rising player…

But it crashed and burned.

It all started at media day. In Joe Johnson’s place were Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, and John Jenkins. Jeff Teague, Devin Harris, and Al Horford could all play on the perimeter and let Josh dominate on the block.

Instead, Smoove nicknamed himself “mid-range shawty”. Oops.

What we got was 674 jumpers, which accounts for more than half of Smith’s field goal attempts. Smith took a career-high 201 three-point attempts and barely broke the 30% shooting mark from that range. To top it all off, Josh apparently forgot how to shoot free-throws, putting up a career-worst 52% from the stripe. So much for all of that money he was hoping for…

Josh Smith

There’s still some good stuff in that stat sheet. As he’s always been, Continue Reading…

Los Angeles Clippers v Atlanta Hawks

Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Coming into this season, Jeff Teague had a lot of expectations that he was expected to reach. With Joe Johnson out of the picture, would he be able to run the offense? Could he take that “next step” that is so often talked about of rising players?

While this was Teague’s fourth season, something was often forgotten about Jeff: this was only his second season as a starter, and really his first where he would be operating on a larger leash. Even if he had Devin Harris – and Lou Williams for the first half of the season – to back him up, Teague would still be expected to be the team’s leading playmaker and one of the leading scorers.

Jeff Teague

In many ways, Teague lived up to these expectations. Continue Reading…

NBA Preseason Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

For an NBA team, spacing is a helluva drug.

When the Hawks traded for Korver last July, it signaled the ultimate end of isolation plays. Sure, you could say that trading Joe Johnson did that, but this deal was more of the final nail in the coffin. You see, you can’t run an isolation offense when Korver is on your team; he’s simply too good at what he does to let you do that. (as evidenced by his 73-straight games with a three-pointer) With Korver on the roster, the Hawks quickly became one of the most flex-heavy offensive units in the entire league.

Kyle Korver

As I harped on all season, Korver was always Continue Reading…

tolliver

Tolliver had almost no expectations of doing anything coming into this season; he was the last one to make the roster over Damion James and James Anderson. However, due to injuries, he found himself in the rotation for most of the season and was actually a positive asset for the Hawks in the playoffs.

Anthony Tolliver

The stats aren’t really kind to Tolliver and there’s a reason why: he wasn’t exactly a star player. For most of the year, he struggled with his shot and wasn’t a good enough of a rebounder to warrant him getting more minutes. At the time, the Hawks were mostly healthy in the front court, meaning his minutes were few and far between.

After Zaza suffered his Achilles injury, though, Tolliver’s minutes increased. Before the All-Star break, Anthony only played in 34 of 51 possible games and was only averaging 12 minutes per game when he did play. After the break, he played in almost every game and was averaging 20 minutes. Continue Reading…

devinharris2

There was a time where I hated the Devin Harris trade.

It was early in the season. Devin had quickly wowed the Atlanta crowd in his first game, scoring nine of the team’s first 15 points. He did, however, finish that game with just nine points.

That was the start of what was a rough couple of months for Devin. He couldn’t hit a shot, was clanking free throws left and right, and quite plainly looked like he just didn’t fit in the rotation. Then he got hurt, missed about a month, and it seemed quite clear: the Hawks could live without Devin Harris, and may have actually been better off with Marvin Williams.

The problem for Devin is that his role on the team was still unknown at that point. Between Jeff Teague, Anthony Morrow, Lou Williams, John Jenkins, DeShawn Stevenson, and Kyle Korver, minutes weren’t something that were always guaranteed. At some points, it felt like he’d be the one left out of the rotation.

However, injuries started to effect the rest of Atlanta’s guard rotation. Korver had back spasms, DeShawn started having problems with his knee, Morrow was falling out of the coaches’ favor, and of course, Lou tore an ACL. All of these factors led to an increase in Devin’s minutes and a more defined role: the team’s second ball-handler and primary guard defender. Continue Reading…

According to Yahoo! Sports, the Hawks are in conversations with Spurs’ assistant Mike Budenholzer to become the next head coach of the team.

As of 4:10PM, AJC beat writer Chris Vivlamore reported that the Hawks have indeed hired Budenholzer.

This could be considered a coup for the Hawks. While GM Danny Ferry did used to be under the employ of the Spurs, it was unknown if he would be able to lure Budenholzer away from San Antonio; Budenholzer was supposed to be the successor to legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Budenholzer had been with the Spurs since Popovich’s first year in 1997.
Continue Reading…

NBA: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks*Daniel Shirey – USPresswire

Lou was signed in the offseason to a 3-year/$15 million contract and immediately became a fan favorite. Not only was he from Atlanta, but he played the part well; he worked within the community and had the guys doing public practices in HS gyms. In about a month, he had probably done more in Atlanta than Joe Johnson did over a seven year span.

His first few games in an Atlanta uniform only added to his status. In his sixth-man role, he was ready at any time to become the team’s number one option on the court. Unlike the passive Johnson that he was essentially replacing, Lou let his emotions be seen on the floor and his fearlessness in the paint gave something that the Hawks desperately needed: a guy that could live at the free throw line. Unfortunately for Lou and the Hawks, his season ended about halfway through the year, when he tore his ACL in Brooklyn against the Nets.

Lou Williams

While his per-36 numbers are great for a third option on a team, the overall Continue Reading…

In their first round loss to the Indiana Pacers, the Atlanta Hawks disappointed across the board. A stagnated offense and a Swiss cheese defense doomed Atlanta in the first two contests, but after a change in head coach Larry Drew’s strategy, hopes for a Hawks upset rose in two straight home victories. Eventually, they collapsed and the team inevitably fumbled early into their postseason. Plenty of the team’s failures can be placed on individual players, and one of the most appalling of disappearances in this first round defeat was of Jeff Teague, the starting point guard of the Hawks.

Although he’s yet to make himself a big name in the league, (an infuriating trend for talented Hawks players) Teague’s performance in these playoffs was far less than desired or expected. Teague’s season has shown improvement in his facilitating game when compared to previous exhibitions, yet when the playoffs started, Jeff floundered. This comes as a shock to any of Teague’s followers, as he’s been known to enter “Playoff Teague” mode once the regular season ends. This essentially means he takes on an increasingly aggressive role, upping his game to new heights.

This wasn’t the case here in 2013, partly due to Indiana’s strong defense, but also to Teague’s reluctance to attack the paint. Indiana ranks 11th in the league in fewest points allowed by opposing point guards, and fifth in lowest opposing point guard FG%. This strong point guard Continue Reading…

For all three seasons under head coach Larry Drew, the Hawks have failed to extend a playoff series to a decisive Game 7. In each series, Drew made at least one egregious, inexcusable decision that cost the team a chance to extend the series. However, Larry Drew’s greatest shortcoming in his nine years with the Hawks organization has been his failure to teach Josh Smith how to play basketball.

With 2:13 remaining in Game 6 and the Pacers leading 76-73, Roy Hibbert drove to the basket on Al Horford and lost the ball. While this action was taking place on the strong side, Smith was guarding David West on the weak side. As you can see at the 3:45 mark in NBA.com’s highlights for Game 6, not once during this sequence did Smith turn his head to track West’s location.

If the Hawks had collected the loose ball, the team would have been down three with a chance to tie or draw within a point. Instead, Smith allowed West to gain rebounding position where he collected the loose ball and laid it in. The same scenario happened Nov. 30th in a humiliating home loss to Cleveland. Smith was ball watching and allowed Alonzo Gee to gain inside position where he collected an errant shot and laid it in for the decisive basket. You’d think Smith would have learned his lesson and kept track of his man in a much more important game. Sadly, learning is not a strength of either Smith or Drew, as we will discuss in further detail below. Continue Reading…

FINAL
Pacers win series, 4-2

IND(4-2) 81 – 73 (2-4)ATL

Key Performers:
G. Hill (IND): 21 pts, 2 reb, 7 ast
A. Horford (ATL): 15 pts, 7 reb, 3 ast
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Robby’s last grades started with “that was pitiful”, and I really wanted to keep that as the first sentence. The Hawks looked like they had given up at one point, going 1-for-15 in what was probably the ugliest quarter of basketball that I’ve ever seen. They ended up rallying back behind the cheers of the fans, but the team wasn’t able to overcome the Josh Smith jumper frenzy.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Al Horford: He was the leader of the rally at the end, scoring seven points in the fourth quarter. However, he was pretty awful before that point. He couldn’t get post position, was missing open jumpers, and at times was completely out of offensive sets. That’s not really his fault, but I think he needs to assert himself more to the next head coach of this team so something like that doesn’t happen. 6/10

Josh Smith: This was the ultimate Josh Smith game. He was taking silly jumpers, throwing extremely risky passes, and making a habit out of unnecessary dribbles. He did make all of his free throws, though! The conclusion to the Smoove era in Atlanta was scripted beautifully, though. Down five with about 40 seconds left, Smith took matters into his own hands. Instead of going with the play Larry Drew had drawn up, Smith hoisted a contested 3-pointer, which was blocked by David West. Atlanta wasn’t able to recover. With Smoove’s history of shot selection, this ending was just too perfect. 2/10

Johan Petro: Hibbert was getting position on him all night, which really opened up the floor for George Hill to operate. On offense, he was awful, unless you count him hitting one of the most awkward looking floaters you’ll ever see as a “success”. 3/10

Jeff Teague: As bad as Josh has been this series, at least he plays defense. Jeff, though? Not so much. He was as passive as ever, and really played the role of Josh Smith’s enabler by constantly passing the ball to Smoove out on the perimeter. Teague looked like he had no intentions of attacking at all tonight, meaning that Atlanta was left without a fastbreak point until the second half. Would have been cool if Jeff had decided to show up for games 2-6 this series; the Hawks probably could have won under those circumstances. 2/10

Devin Harris: With Jeff essentially doing nothing out there, Devin tried to take some of that responsibility. He wasn’t exactly successful at it, but hell, at least he was trying. That’s worth something. 4/10 Continue Reading…