Tag Archives: Marvin Williams

Layups, Oct. 14

Sign we’re at the beginning of the season: Larry Brown is upset! He hates how his bigs are playing. Giving that he’s talking about Nazr Mohammed, DeSagana Diop, and Alexis Ajinca, I don’t know why he’s surprised. Anyway, watch him continue to complain about his bunch in Charlotte for the next little while until they start consistently playing good D, at which point he will gush about them.

Milwaukee is trying to decide whether to pick up Joe Alexander’s first option year. As Sham reminded me this morning, Milwaukee picked this guy over Brook Lopez and Anthony Randolph. This is a sad story. The guy is athletic (and damn well should have been in the dunk contest last season) and, I guess, he has some potential in him. Still, how is he going to realize it in Milwaukee? They’re not a great team, but I don’t see minutes for him. He’s a 3/4, just like Skiles’s defensive darling Luc Richard Mbah A Moute. Carlos Delfino is going to get minutes at the 3, too, and Michael Redd could as well if Skiles decides to go small. At the 4 spot, I find it hard to believe he’s going to get minutes unless one or two of Hakim Warrick, Kurt Thomas, and Ersan Ilyasova get injured. I’d say they should trade Jumpin’ Joe, but he has next to no value right now.

Finally! It looks like, after a summer of bickering to my friends and to random message-board people, I’ve found people (besides Kelly Dwyer) who actually agree with me about Marco Belinelli. Michael Grange of The Globe and Mail isn’t sold on him, as he thinks using possessions on Belinelli rather than other, more effective players is a bad idea. Mark Ginocchio of Nets Are Scorching points out that just about the only statistical thing he does well is shooting. This is what I’ve been saying for a while now. He’s a pretty damn good shooter, and he actually has a well above-average feel for the game. The problem is that he can’t guard anybody, he doesn’t take care of the ball, and he lacks athleticism. He’s skilled, but he’s quite a bit overmatched in the NBA. Point guard might actually be the best position for him, but then again, imagine him trying to stick Chris Paul or Rondo. Oof.

Den Feldman of Pistons Powered has a warning for people around the league buying into the new-coach hoopla. Very nicely done, that, although I think Pistons fans have reason to be excited about Kuester. While Curry had just a few years of assistant coaching experience since his playing days ended, Kuester has been in the coaching game since 1980 and in the NBA coaching game since 1995. This man served as Cleveland’s offensive co-ordinator last year, where he turned the NBA’s 20th-best offensive team into its 4th-best. I think Dumars chose the right guy this time.

Sekou Smith is talking about Marvin Williams’s aggressiveness in Atlanta. Here’s what I said about young Marv back in August: “Marvin Williams needs to get the ball more and he needs to be more aggressive. He’s an efficient young player, but he doesn’t assert his will on the game often enough.” It seems they’re recognizing this in Atlanta, and I really hope what they’re saying now translates into how they play in the regular season. Colour me skeptical, though, ‘cause with Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Mike Bibby, Al Horford, and now Jamal Crawford, that’s a lot of mouths to feed. If Williams is going become a bigger part of their attack, both Marvin and coach Woodson are going to have to do their parts.

Finally, if you haven’t read Adrian Wojnarowski’s excellent piece on the Warriors, you absolutely have to. This is normally where I try to add something, be it an extra piece of evidence or some criticism, but I’ve got nothin’ on this one. Just read it, he nailed it. Can’t stand seeing young talent continually wasted in Golden State.

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Filed under Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Coaching, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Layups, League-Wide Stuff, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors

Looking Forward: Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks were pretty good last season. By pretty good, I mean they finished with a 47-35 record, which was enough to net them home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They were 10th in offensive efficiency and 11th in defensive efficiency – a solid, but not elite club. They beat the Miami Heat in the most unwatchable 7-game playoff series in NBA history and then were handily swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

We all knew they had no chance against Cleveland. The Cavs were dominant in the regular season and were the favourites to win the title. Atlanta, being a sub-elite team, shouldn’t have been expected to win a game against any of the legitimate title contenders last year. After the moves they’ve made this summer, I don’t expect things to be any different next year.

Let’s look at these moves then, shall we? The Hawks re-signed Mike Bibby, Zaza Pachulia, and Marvin Williams; they acquired Jamal Crawford for Acie Law and Speedy Claxton; and they drafted Jeff Teague out of Wake Forest. What do I think of all of this? Blah. Blah, blah, and blah. Okay, fine – I love that they held onto Marvin Williams, but the organization really hasn’t done anything exciting here.

It’s not that they won’t improve. Joe Johnson should sustain; Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Marvin Williams should get better; Crawford should be a slight upgrade over Flip Murray; and Teague should be better than Law. Being a better basketball team than last year doesn’t guarantee they’ll win 47 games again, though. Orlando, Cleveland, and Boston all could win 60-plus games next season. Washington, Chicago, and Toronto could make significant leaps from where they were last season. Philadelphia, Detroit, and Indiana could make minor jumps, too. The Hawks are capable of getting that 4th seed in the East again, but they’re going to have to work for those wins.

If the Hawks are going to make a big splash next season, it’s going to be because of superior play from their young core. Marvin Williams needs to get the ball more and he needs to be more aggressive. He’s an efficient young player, but he doesn’t assert his will on the game often enough. Al Horford is also an efficient guy, but he needs to improve his post game – offensively and defensively. He did improve in his sophomore season, but didn’t make the jump some people that he would. Now is his time. As for Josh Smith, um… He needs his own paragraph.

Josh Smith is one of the most intriguing (and exciting) players in the game. He has ridiculous athleticism and displays extreme aggressiveness at times when he attacks the rim like a crazy person and blocks shots with the strength and power of a dunk. At other times, though, he settles for low-percentage jumpers on the perimeter. He does have some guard skills and he seems to like the ball in his hands, but on a team like this, surely he’s most effective on the inside. With all the ball-handlers on the roster, Mike Woodson and his coaching staff need to make a commitment to teaching Smith how to play off the ball and play the pick-and-roll game. I have no doubt that the Hawks will improve if he plays more like a young Amare Stoudemire than a Chris Bosh-type, offensively.

I’m not sure whether to bet on the Hawks improving or not. If we see some growth from within and an inspired coaching effort, then it’s possible. If not, then it’s going to be the same old story and, if I was a Hawks fan, I’d be demanding some bigger changes next summer.

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Filed under Atlanta Hawks, Free Agency, Looking Forward, Trades