Showing posts with label Joe Johnson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Joe Johnson. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Atlanta Hawks: 2012-2013 Season Preview

Here's the thing, this is exactly what I wanted.  For at least the past two seasons, I've been on the "let Joe go and build around Josh and Al" bandwagon. I'd seen enough of that group to know they had peaked. I appreciated all that Joe had done for the franchise, but it was obvious that he was never going to get them within striking distance of the Larry O'Brien trophy. Rick Sund obviously did not agree with my assessment.  The moment he was able to offer Joe a max contract, he did so without hesitation. I remember the queasiness I felt when I heard about the deal.  I have nothing against Joe, but as a Hawks fan, that was a pretty clear signal that ownership was content with being good, not great. While other teams were making big moves, the Hawks were chilling, acting as if they were a perfectly seasoned steak and a pinch of any extra spice would just ruin it.
They were insistent on staying the course. I can understand not wanting to go back to being a 13 win team if you're the Atlanta Spirit Group. Times are hard, and Atlantans would be hard pressed to spend their disposable income on an atrocious product.  I get it. Seriously. But, since I'm not financially invested in the team, I'm not afraid of the Hawks taking a step back.  If they have to go back to winning 13 games in order to have a legitimate chance to compete for a championship, I'm all for it.  Believe it or not, I'm a big picture kinda gal.
This past summer the ASG made some huge changes.  They replaced Rick Sund with Danny Ferry, and apparently gave him the green light to replace whomever he saw fit. He was able to undo the wrong Sund did a couple of summers before. HE GOT JOE OFF THE BOOKS!!!!!  Joe is scheduled to make a king's ransom over the next 4 years, and Danny Ferry made unloading him look easy. God bless him. Having already gained the adulation of many a Hawks blogger, he then got Marvin Williams off the books. At that point he was jut showing off. He unloaded a marginal superstar with a monstrous contract, and an underachieving player who's paid like an asset.  No matter how this season turns out for Atlanta, he should get some Executive of the Year votes.
After all was said and done, the Hawks brought in some decent players to try to replace Joe Johnson. Lou Williams, Devin Harris Kyle Korver, John Jenkins, Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson all have an opportunity to endear themselves to Hawks fans. As history has shown us in Atlanta, they don't have to be great, they just need to be good. The players on the Hawks roster who need to be great are, Josh, Al and Jeff.  Quiet as kept, Josh has been the most important player on the team for a number of years. His contract is up, so I fully expect him to have a career year. Al has been consistent, but if there's another level of productivity within him, this would be the perfect year for him to reach it. Jeff needs to show us who he really is. This is a make or break year for him as far as I'm concerned. I was clamoring for him to get the chance to run this team from the moment they drafted him. It's time for him to show us whether or not the point guard position is one that still needs to be addressed.
All things considered, I think this team will enjoy the element of surprise. I expect them to win around 47 games, and finish no lower than 6th in the conference. Go Hawks!




For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Joe Johnson: A Quick Look Back

The Joe Johnson era has officially come to an end..... It wasn't as anti-climactic as it appears. Joe helped make the Hawks relevant again. It only took $70 million to convince him to come to Atlanta and gain the title of "the guy who came to Atlanta when no one else wanted to." He definitely deserves that title, but people make it seem like he came for the veterans minimum. He was paid handsomely to come resurrect this franchise, and try to make a name for himself. Congratulations to him for doing so.
I personally will remember the Joe Johnson era fondly. It had its issues, but doesn't everything?  Sure the offense was stagnant at times, but that's not all his fault. He played many years with no point guard, and for a coach who would routinely say, "The offense will take care of itself." You've gotta do the best you can with the resources available. All things considered, he did a decent job.  He came to Atlanta and transformed himself into a 6x All-Star, and he got a group of dudes to pay him damn near $200 million. It would be silly to look at his time here as anything other than a success. There's no need to point out all of his shortcomings. That would just be nitpicking, and I'm not going to do that. I don't have time, and honestly, he doesn't deserve that. Joe handled the role of "very good player, miscast as a superstar" with grace and elegance. For that, he deserves applause.
I'm happy I got to watch some of Joe's best moments, up close and personal. He's no Kobe or LeBron, but dammit, he had his moments.
I wish him well in Brooklyn.



For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hawkstr8talk and Hoopinion,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Season Preview Review.

The Hawks still have at least one game left, but let's not kid ourselves, this season is over. Let's take a look at my Atlanta Hawks season preview from 6 moths ago. It was limited to Joe Johnson and Mike Woodson. I was right in spots about Joe. He's still basically the same player he was last season and while he did display selfish tendencies a lot this season, I can't say he did it at a higher rate than before. Mike Woodson is still Mike Woodson and my assessment of him was spot on in my opinion.

I honestly don't know what to expect from this team.

Everyone is so sure that Joe Johnson playing for a contract can only mean good things for the Hawks. I don't really see it that way. Quite frankly, I'm worried.
Joe already tries to do way too much. This season Joe will try to do even more. He's got to prove that he's worth more than $60 million over 4 years, which is debatable.
The one player in recent history who did not defer to Joe Johnson is no longer here. Flip, (yes I'm talking about Flip Murray) signed with the Bobcats since the Hawks let him go in favor of Jamal Crawford. He was streaky and on any given night he scared the hell out of me, but he was at least proactive about getting his shot. This team needed that because the rest of the guys are far too content with just standing around watching Joe dribble 17 seconds off the shot clock only to end up with a contested jumper. Not that all of Joe's shots are of that nature, but as I pointed out last season, Joe takes bad shots often enough that its noticeable. There was a time when a Joe Johnson contested fade away jumper was a better option than a wide open jumper by anyone else. That is no longer the case because Joe's teammates are better, he just needs to trust them. Will he sacrifice his stats for the good of the team this season? Not in a contract year.......
Joe has never been described as a "selfish player", but I'm willing to bet he will display a lot of "selfish player" tendencies this season. I guess we'll have to wait and see what position that leaves the team in when it's all said and done.

This is also a make or break season for Mike Woodson. He's gotta prove that he's capable of producing more than one winning season. Is this a championship contending team? I'm leaning towards no, hoping for yes, but leaning towards no. Having acknowledged the fact that playing in June is an -unrealistic- lofty goal, Mike Woodson will not be excused if this team gets swept in the second round again. At least I hope he won't. I admire the Spirit for honoring his contract and etc., but honestly, they already know what kind of coach Woody is. If Rick Sund can acknowledge the ceiling for all of the players, then he should also acknowledge the ceiling for Woody. He's reached it and he is not going to get any better, mainly because he's not going to do anything differently.
Every off-season he makes declarations about getting this player more minutes, or that player more touches and once the season begins he makes no noticeable effort to do any of the things he tells Sekou he's going to do. At some point they just have to accept who he is and make a decision as to whether or not that's good enough for them.
This preview is limited to Joe and Mike because they are the two most important people involved with this team this season. Joe is the Hawks best player and Woody is the man pulling the strings. Their effectiveness is directly related to the team's success.
It's not that Mike, Josh, Al, Za Za, Jamal, Jeff and Marvin aren't important, but they aren't as important as the guy who dominates the ball or the man whose offense allows him to do so.






For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hawks 76, Heat 94 or Where Jamal and his agent should be drawing up those contract extension papers right now.

I don't ask for much from my favorite team. Do I hope for much? Sure, but I don't ask for unreasonable things from them. One of the only things I consistently ask of them is that they don't lose to teams that they should not lose to. Well, they did exactly that tonight against the Miami Heat.
Myself and a handful of other Hawks bloggers were given the opportunity to chat with Rick Sund prior to tonight's game. I won't get into too much about the chat because there was only one revelation he made that was relevant to this game. He said Jamal Crawford would not play because of a shoulder injury.
When he said that, two things went through my mind. The first thing was a feeling of "aw shucks" because I knew there would likely be no four point plays. The second thing that went through my mind was that the Hawks would probably not pull away from the Heat until the fourth quarter. The thought that they might actually lose the game never crossed my mind, because I assumed the Hawks knew they were better than the Heat. I assumed incorrectly.

Now we've come to the portion of the recap where I read way too much into one loss.

This loss tells me one thing for certain about the Hawks franchise player, he's not really a franchise player. When a team is faced with injuries to role players, their superstar has to do something extra. That's the position Joe was in tonight, but he didn't do anything extra. He started the game 4-4, then proceeded to go 3-17 the rest of the way. That is unacceptable on every level. I have always been of the thinking that Joe Johnson does not deserve a max contract. This game just reinforced my beliefs. First of all, he can't get to the free throw line. Did he have a couple of drives where there was contact? Sure, but he also shot eight 3 pointers. He didn't exactly force the refs to make a call in his favor. What it boils down to is if Joe's jump shot isn't falling he can't score. We already knew that, but this game highlighted it.
There is no second of all.
LeBron James lost damn near every guard on his team to injuries, yet the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the midst of a 12 game win streak. He is doing something extra. I do not need to be reminded that Joe is not as good of a player as LeBron. However I do need to remind you that Joe wants to be paid like LeBron. If you want franchise player money, then you need to have franchise player performances when your team needs you most. You need to not lose to the stinking Miami Heat! You bitch and moan about the crowd not showing up for the games, then 17,000 people come out and you lose to a team who had lost something like seven of their last ten games. I wouldn't blame the fans if they never came back. Here's a fun fact: Three of the Heat starters combined to go 5-22 and the Hawks lost by 18......
Josh put up good numbers. Al got his usual double double with his usual limited touches. Hell, Bibby even scored 12 points. It all comes back to the franchise player. He didn't do that something extra to make up for Jamal being out. Is it fair that the bulk of the responsibility for the outcome of this game falls on Joe? Well, as the highest paid player on the team, hell yes. His contract implies he is the best player, so he needed to do something extra to make up for the absence of Jamal. He didn't, so the Hawks go into the All Star break on a low note.
Go Hawks.



For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk, Humanhighlightblog or Soaringdownsouth

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grow A Pair

Prior to the season starting, I was the only person I know who wasn't convinced that "contract year Joe Johnson" was a good thing for the Atlanta Hawks. In my season preview I wrote the following:


Everyone is so sure that Joe Johnson playing for a contract can only mean good things for the Hawks. I don't really see it that way. Quite frankly, I'm worried.
Joe already tries to do way too much. This season Joe will try to do even more. He's got to prove that he's worth more than $60 million over 4 years, which is debatable.
The one player in recent history who did not defer to Joe Johnson is no longer here. Flip, (yes I'm talking about Flip Murray) signed with the Bobcats since the Hawks let him go in favor of Jamal Crawford. He was streaky and on any given night he scared the hell out of me, but he was at least proactive about getting his shot. This team needed that because the rest of the guys are far too content with just standing around watching Joe dribble 17 seconds off the shot clock only to end up with a contested jumper. Not that all of Joe's shots are of that nature, but as I pointed out last season, Joe takes bad shots often enough that its noticeable. There was a time when a Joe Johnson contested fade away jumper was a better option than a wide open jumper by anyone else. That is no longer the case because Joe's teammates are better, he just needs to trust them. Will he sacrifice his stats for the good of the team this season? Not in a contract year.....Joe has never been described as a "selfish player", but I'm willing to bet he will display a lot of "selfish player" tendencies this season. I guess we'll have to wait and see what position that leaves the team in when it's all said and done.

I felt like this was worth revisiting because well, Joe is struggling. According to Hoopinionblog "Johnson has taken 66 shots in the last four games. He's made 23 of those shots overall, and just 5 of 19 three-pointers. That's an eFG% of 38.6. He's also turned the ball over nine times while earning just 10 assists in 157 minutes while getting to the line for a grand total of five free throw attempts."

Look, I have not the time nor the desire to go game by game to point out the shortcomings of one Joe Johnson. Just know that even in some of their impressive wins, he's shooting a lot. In their losses, he's shooting a lot. Is he shooting 30 times per game? No, but he's shooting around 18 times per which isn't that bad, but he's only making like 5 shots. That's where the problem arises. Joe has the ability to shoot the team out of the game and everyone seems just fine with it. It's like they've all decided hey, if Joe isn't playing well, then we don't deserve to win anyway. Okay maybe it's not that extreme, but it seems to me that outside of the Philly game, they are content to let Joe shoot, and shoot and shoot even when he's not making shots. No one has the balls to tell him to stop, or at least take the damn ball out of his hands. Early in the season I thought it was odd that Jamal was sort of playing keep away from Joe, now I totally understand why he didn't pass him the ball. Joe has always tried to do too much, and there was a time where that was cool, that time has passed. There have been several games where Joe didn't have it going, but his teammates did and yet they all seemed to be content having to win the game in spite of his bad shot attempts. It's one thing to have to win games in spite of bad coaching, but it's going to be very hard to win games in spite of poor decision making by your "best player".

Someone on this team has to reign Joe in. We all know its not going to be Mike Woodson. He's the same guy who draws up plays for the struggling Johnson out of timeouts, and he wonders why he wasn't extended in the off-season. It's not going to be Joe, because while he's great at pointing out flaws, he rarely acknowledges where he contributes to the struggles of the team. Shooting and shooting and shooting when you aren't hitting shots won't help your team win games. I haven't heard him mention this in any post game quotes. Maybe we should get the ball in the hands of the guy who's actually making shots. He's not said anything like that either.

My point is that it is not okay for Joe to shoot the Hawks out of games. Someone has to stop him, yet no one seems to know how. The logical answer would be for the coach to bench his ass, but since that's not going to happen, the other 4 starters damn well better figure out a way.

Will he play well again? Of course, but in the meantime he needs to find ways to help the team win without shooting.

For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawstr8talk or Humanhighlightblog

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hawks 110, Lakers 118 or Where Mike Woodson cares not about the flow of the game

I'm not going to recap this game because it would be disingenuous of me considering I was flipping back and forth between it and the World Series. (The Yankees are my favorite team) I did watch the first quarter and most of the second quarter and it reaffirmed one fatal flaw of Mr. Woodson, he does not make substitutions based on the flow of the game. He only makes substitutions for 2 reasons, foul trouble and the predetermined substitution patterns he had planned prior to the tip-off. There was absolutely no reason I can think of for him to sit Joe Johnson after the way he opened up the game. He had 18 points in the first quarter, so forgive me if I'm a little salty that he finished with 27 for the game. As Drew points out, he was on pace for 90 before Woody inexplicably sat him.

I'd love an explanation for why he felt the need to cool off his own player, but I know we'll never get one, because no one ever asks the questions that people want answered. Obviously that is not the only reason the Hawks lost. It's probably not even one of the top ten reasons, but when you sit your most productive player when he's playing at an insanely high level it certainly doesn't help matters. I just wanted to Vent about that.

For more thorough Hawks analysis visit Peachtreehoops, Hoopinion, Hawkstr8talk and Humanhiglightblog

Monday, April 27, 2009

Game 4 Preview: Joe The Basketball Player, Step Up


I really hate to do this, but here's a quote from Joe Johnson prior to the playoffs starting.

"You get that type of respect for how you perform during the postseason," Joe Johnson said. "During the regular season, you get your name out there, you get known. But the postseason is where legends are made."

Well Joe, it's time for you to have THAT game. You know the one I repeatedly beg you to have in many a posts on this very blog?
That, "there's no way in HELL we are losing this game on my watch tonight".
I know you are going up against one of the players who has perfected that type of game, but still.
If it's in you, you have to bring it out tonight.
This is the season.
Be Joe The Basketball Player tonight.

Monday, April 13, 2009

REST THE STARTERS, AND ZA ZA

I want Joe, Josh, Al, Mike and Za Za sitting comfortably on the bench in something like this for the next two games. Thanks in advance Coach Woodson.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The NBA: Where Tony Parker is Unimpressed by the Hawks Home Court Win Streak


Random thoughts about last nights loss:

1. You could look at Tony Parker's 42 point 10 assist night and easily come to the conclusion that Mike Bibby did a horrible job defending him, but you shouldn't look at it that way. Let's be honest, no one expected Bibby to contain Parker (if you did then you clearly don't watch Hawks games) we only hoped he'd do an admirable job. He didn't, but that's fine because like I said no one expected him to do so anyway. It's not all Bibby fault. The Hawks front line did little to hinder Parker's layup drills.
2. We/Everyone raves about Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Steve Nash as great point guards and they are very good, but Tony Parker's name should be mentioned among if not before them. Parker is really good when he has Duncan and Ginobili alongside him. Parker is borderline great when he's missing one of them. He may not average double digit assists (although 7 assists is nothing to hang your head about) but I defy you to name a point guard who can get to the rim and finish as well as Parker. The thing that sets him apart the most from his peers is he has several championship rings and a Finals MVP. I'm sure he'd rather win another championship than win the adulation of the media, so people can go ahead and continue ignoring him.
3. Joe needs a killer instinct. He sorta has one sometimes, but not really. He has to realize when certain players just can't guard him. Each "offensive set" took him about 9 seconds too long to come to the conclusion that he could take Ime Udoke off the dribble pretty much at will. He needs to recognize these things sooner. That being said, he missed a ton of shots that he probably wouldn't miss any other night. He still finished with 30 points on 13-23 shooting. Somehow he had a +/- of -10. See why I don't pay attention to +/-? I don't understand it.
4. When I thought about this match up as Al Horford's chance to go up against the player I hope he turns into one day, I wasn't talking about Drew Gooden........ Al's 2-9 shooting does nothing to help my case that the offense should run through him. But, much like Joe he missed shots he'd normally make so I won't fret.
5. One of the security ladies noticed Tim Duncan wasn't playing so she wondered why the Spurs were winning. I explained to her that it's because their coach is far superior to our/most coaches. He actually had what we'll just call a "game plan" and he went about getting his team to execute it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hawks Unimpressed By Opponents Win Streaks


Five Quick thoughts about the Hawks taking down the Jazz:


1. Joe The Basketball Player is back. Joe is the most appreciated slightly unappreciated Hawks player. He scores 31 points and I'm like eh...... One of the most charming things about Joe's game is how effortless he makes it look. It's also one of the things that makes us pay more attention to the other haves and have nots on the team. It's not like we don't notice when Joe is struggling. We need only look at win/loss totals over the past 2 months or so to really appreciate how much this team's success is directly connected to him.


2. Someone may want to tap Mike Bibby on the shoulder and remind him he is playing for a contract. Not necessarily a contract with the Hawks, but a contract nonetheless. He's struggling. Like for real struggling. We all want Acie Law to get more playing time, but not because we are getting next to nothing from Bibby. We'd just like him to be a part of the rotation because most successful teams have a backup point guard as part of the rotation.....


3. Marvin's injury is a blessing in disguise. Don't get it twisted, I never want to see a player injured (unless it's a Celtic) but this injury (like a few others in the past four years) forces Woody to use other players. Most coaches know they need to not only play 6 guys, but sometimes this fact eludes Woody. When I saw Mario West in the game in the first half you could have knocked me over with a feather. I'm not saying he deserves to play 20 minutes, but games when the Hawks have little to no energy he should definitely be an option because he plays hard. How about the dunk last night? So adorable.


4. The Hawks really are about entertaining the fans, that's why they don't blow anybody out. The Jazz are a good team, but the Hawks came out in the second half and played nothing like they did in the first half. I mean what actually goes on in the locker room to make them come out so lethargic? I'm convinced they just want to make sure the fans are interested in the waning minutes of the 4th qtr.


5. The Hawks absolutely must secure that 4th seed. They NEED home court advantage in the first round. It's a must. Dwyane Wade is doing everything in his power to get the Heat there. I actually think it's a good thing that Miami is right behind them. They know they have to play hard. There's no room for error anymore. I'm extremely confident they will get the fourth seed. I'm extremely terrified of the concept of them playing Wade in the first round. We all know the officials love him. ;) If/when he has a 20 free throw game against the Hawks in the playoffs, my head might explode. I'm already in the process of padding the walls in my condo..... That's weeks away though.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Joe Johnson Is OUT!

So let me get this straight, we get Al back tonight, but we lose Joe.......
Great way to start February.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let the cliches be our comfort.


Okay, so the new year has not been great for our Atlanta Hawks, but I will not fret.

It's a long season.

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

You have to crawl before you walk.

Don't put the cart in front of the horse.

They just have to take it one game at a time.

Okay enough with the cliches. You get my point. It's only January and the regular season doesn't end until April. They have been playing poorly of late, but luckily for them they started off so wonderfully that they can afford to have a few bad nights.

Their biggest obstacle going forward is going to be health. Al has missed several games due to a bone bruise and there is no telling how long Marvin is going to be out after that nasty fall he suffered during the Warriors game. It's not like Marvin was completely healthy before that concussion anyway.

Acie got hurt during the second quarter of today's game against the Raptors. He hasn't historically been a regular part of the Hawks rotation, but in the last few games he has gotten some positive minutes. Let's hope he bounces back quickly.

They have 7 games left in the month of January and all things considered they shouldn't finish any worse than 4-3 (IMO).

Oh, Coach Woodson has been going with a 4 guard lineup waaay to much. I'd like to see some size on the floor especially towards the end of the game when they need rebounds. Josh Smith cannot be the tallest person on the floor. He just can't.

Congratulations to the team for being selected as the game of the night (chosen by the fans) on NBA TV this Tuesday.

They've come a long way.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Say It Ain't So Joe.


I felt sick when Joe missed that possible game tying free throw, so I can only imagine how he felt.

The officials were just ridiculous in the third quarter, but of course no one will mention it...... except Drew.
I have never seen a player fall down (Paul Pierce) and an official call an official timeout instead of a travel. Ever. Ever. Ever.
I have never seen someone dribble and then dribble again (Garnett). and then get a foul call against the Hawks.
Something Rajon Rondo said that couldn't be more true... "If they played everyone else the way they play us they'd be a top five team."
I have to mention a few things about Josh Smith and the fans view of him. It's no secret that I'm a Josh Smith fan. Not the delusional type, but I do want him on this team. That being said, sometimes I'm sure I can come off as sort of a Josh Smith apologist. That's not what I'm going for at all, but I think he takes an unfair amount of blame for a lot of the things that are wrong with the team.
Do we want Josh out there jacking up shots outside of 12-15 feet? No, but it's going to happen from time to time. The problem I see is that fans seem to only have a problem when Josh takes a bad shot. No one says anything when Flip is out there shooting at will. Everyone just accepts that this is what Flip does. What's that about? I could go on, but the point I want to make is that Josh is not the only player on the team who takes bad shots. He has plenty of company in any given game.
Every shot Joe takes is not a good shot. I know that may be a hard pill for some folks to swallow, but when he has two guys on him and he has to spin and fade away just to get the shot off, not a good shot.
And, if the Hawks ran some semblance of a fluid offense Josh wouldn't even be in a position to take some of the bad shots he takes. They dribble too much, way too much and the play doesn't even develop until there's only a few seconds left on the shot clock. That alone leads to a lot of the bad shots that numerous players on the team take.
I'm not making excuses for Josh, but it does irritate me that people look at him as one of the biggest problems on the team.
It's like the inconsistent rotations, poor clock management, bad play calling and other countless offenses have nothing to do with what plagues the team.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, ALSO KNOWN AS THE SILENT KILLER


Josh Smith makes me happy, but Joe Johnson makes me really happy! Joe is a silent killer, kinda like high blood pressure. From now on I'm going to call Joe High Blood Pressure, or The Silent Killer. Let's try em both out and see which one rolls off the tongue the easiest. High Blood Pressure was as cool as ever in the Hawks comeback win against the Sixers tonight. That's right my boys came from 23 points down to beat Philly. The Silent Killer put in 35 points with none more impressive than a long 3 with 11 seconds remaining. He was cold, but I'm telling you I had no idea High Blood Pressure had as many points as he did. I looked up at the player's scores late in the game and I was shocked to learn he had so many points. He does it so effortlessly you can't help but be impressed. Unfortunately with The Silent Killer you don't realize you're watching something special until after its over. But, you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.