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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hawks Season Recap


Well this is my first entry into the blogosphere (spell check doesn’t like that word). I’ve certainly had many a discussion/argument with MLT about sports and edited his previous articles (it was rough), but never put my own words out there. I’m going to focus on analysis and hopefully I can add some relatively humorous remarks, but don’t hold your breath.

The Hawks season hit its climax during Game 6 of their playoff series. Going into the playoffs, no one thought much of the Hawks’ chances since they had the worst record of all the teams in the playoffs, but they were able to eek out 3 wins at home. As for the rest of the series, it is telling that the Celtics averaged 12 more points per game than the Hawks… and that is factoring in the three wins. In other words the Hawks got killed on the road. That was to be expected though, considering Boston’s home record (35-6) and Atlanta’s road record (12-29). Not a pretty combination.

All in all the season was a step forward in that our record improved, the players improved, Woodson actually started to use our athleticism on the fast break, Knight drafted well (I’m still convinced Law will be a good point guard), and we made the playoffs. Unfortunately the season also revealed that our players still do not play as a team, but, rather, as a group of individuals. We were able to get into the playoffs due to talent of those individuals, but to take the next step they have to start playing as a team.

It’s just frustrating to see a core of players that have been together for 3-4 years STILL has no clue how to play together as a team on offense or defense. And you can’t chalk it up to having young players either, because there are college teams that are more cohesive than the Hawks. Our players have no clue how to defend the pick and roll, our help defense (other than Josh Smith) is still atrocious, and we still have no offensive sets. I’m going to tear my hair out if I have to see the highlight of Garnett rolling to the basket, unguarded and with no one attempting to help, and dunking again. And how many times do I have to see the play I like to call the pick and double team on the offensive end. You know the one. It’s where Zaza, or some other player with no outside shot, sets a pick for Joe Johnson. At that point the player with no outside shot will roll to the basket while the two defenders stay on Joe. At this point Joe will back up and not pass the ball to the rolling player. Just think of the complete opposite of the pick and roll you see in a Utah game.

At some point the blame has to go to the coaching staff, whose job it is to get the team to play as one. Woodson glaring and/or gaping at the players after an error is not going to cut it. With the resignation of Billy Knight today it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Woodson and the Hawks.

Next post will be my attempt to assess what the Hawks should do this offseason.