HawkStr8Talk's Honesty Corner's 5 Truths (minus 1): Vol. 8

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 24: Ted Turner waves a rally towel during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena on April 24, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Time for another Postseason Edition of the Honesty Corner, so let's get to it.

Disclaimer: As always, all criticisms come after blaming the Atlanta Spirit Group first, management second, and then coaches and players last.  Those criticisms come through the prism of winning championships (or the things that result in championship team building).

Truth 1. Jamal Crawford may be playing his way out of Atlanta.

Most people forget how positive this blog used to be.  It was frequently positive about the upstart Hawks and their ascension to the upper tier of the Eastern Conference.  Then, we started managing the team's resources, assets, and games in a way that was completely unsustainable relative to winning NBA titles.  And then, I had to be fair to what my eyes told me (Enter Evil HawkStr8Talk posts).  

Well, let's be fair to what our eyes are showing us right now.  And that's that Jamal Crawford is playing very well.  That very well is a little skewed to what we've come to expect from Jamal with regards to offense and defense.  He's been lights out on offense and tolerable defensively.  Now, if we use some sort of regression to the mean of his career - we'd look for the bad Jamal to show up soon, but that's not a wish.  What is happening though is an inflation in Jamal's value to a NBA basketball team.  So much so that it may simply price him beyond what the Atlanta Hawks can afford (CBA pending).  Since it's very apparent that the Hawks need better interior defense and offense as well as elite point guard play, it's not bad for the organization if Jamal continues to play lights out.  The odds that Jamal is going to take the pay cut necessary to add the 2-3 pieces the Hawks need to get better are very low.  So, the continued brilliance of Jamal Crawford could be his audition for greener pastures, pastures that aren't located in the Highlight Factory.  Whether that is a good thing will depend on what Rick Sund can do with Jamal's cap room...(and based on track record - worry should ensue in 5,4,3...)

Truth 2. Orlando's All Star >>> Atlanta's All Stars and it doesn't matter.

We already knew that there was only one true max salary superstar in this series, but this is ridiculous.  Yes, the Hawks are winning games and we should all be proud of that fact, but should Joe Johnson and Al Horford be getting outplayed by Jamal Crawford too?  I get 1-2 hot games, but all four.  Who knew that Howard would be better than Joe and Al combined?  Now, there's a reason this shouldn't be cause for concern - wait for it... because Orlando sucks.  
 
I know, I know. I should be heaping all the praise on the Hawks for everything they are doing to start the 'Where's Dwight Howard's new digs?' or better yet, the 'for the price of Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, and Jamal Crawford - can we show you some homes in Buckhead, Mr. Howard.com? website, but I'm sorry - I've watched the Hawks all season and for all that they are doing to be up 3-1 - I see a WHOLE lot of suck-age from the Magic that only resulted in 4 and 3 pt victories.  Sure, the Hawks haven't played very well either.  Yes, it's the playoffs. Yes, we've watched Butler/UCONN for the past 3 games (with Jamal Crawford as Kemba Walker), but we've watched this version of the Hawks before.  We haven't watched the Magic just implode on the perimeter like this before.  We haven't watched SVG end up powerless to do anything vs. any team.  The way they are missing open shots (yes, the Hawks are playing good perimeter defense, but NO - they aren't the cause of half of these missed shots) reminds me of how we miss open jump shots.  There are shots that are open, but not even Josh Smith would take them.  I mean it's THAT bad.  My rose colored Hawks eyes can't shield me from how bad this Magic team has played.  You can see them pressing to the nth degree and yet, still have had shots to win games down the stretch at home.  So, let's hold up on the platitudes until we play a team that isn't as bad as last year's Bucks or the year before's Heat.  Teams that were so bad that they should have both been swept except for the fact that - yep, the Hawks weren't that good either.  I'd be more encouraged if Game 1 had repeated itself 3 more times. We'll win this series and still have much more to prove.  Who'd a thunk?

Truth 3. Larry Drew wins no extra points.


Gotta keep it real...I already gave Drew credit for deciding to have a more stable, repeatable defensive strategy for the Magic in the regular season.  So, why would I change my mind about the coach when we're barely surviving a Magic team that has completely given up the ghost?  Same bad rotation decisions.  Same bad offensive stretches.  Same Josh boneheaded-ness sprinkled with production.  I think it's sad when you want to give the coach credit for benching a player who is obviously oblivious to the team concept of trying to win the game (which is what happened to Josh in Game 3 when he was benched down the stretch) and yet, all I kept saying is - that's what a coach should do.  Player doesn't want to follow the game plan. Player doesn't participate in the game.  Simple concept really...but never applied to the point that people think he's actually making adjustments and strong coaching moves when it happens. 

So, some have resorted to saying - hey, maybe Drew has a shot.  I say...uh, solve the Bulls before you ask me to reassess that fact.  If a sound defensive strategy can turn the Bulls into the same missing open jump shot while Derrick Rose goes wild on us outfit, then I'll be willing to concede that maybe I'm wrong about Larry Drew. If a sound offensive strategy can unlock a max salary effort from Joe Johnson, an All Star effort from Al Horford, and simply a basketball IQ-ified effort from Josh Smith, then yes - I'll do what I said last Truth session, which leads me to Truth #4...


[Note: And I haven't even mentioned that this Drew guy put Zaza in the doghouse during the season and wanted to trade him for a point guard. Yelled at him for one jump shot in a 30 pt blowout, even. How would this Howard strategy work if your second line of defense after Collins was either Horford OR Armstrong/Thomas/Powell? I'm just sayin' that the dude hasn't been feeling the only effort guy outside of Horford.  Can anyone honestly see a reason that Zaza isn't a critical part of the rotation?]


Truth 4. Motivational Ploy is working.

I said I'd stop blogging if we beat the Bulls.  I still stand by that.  I appreciate those who (like me or not) thought that was too drastic of a statement and want my blogging career to continue, but simply put - I have no material if I went all this time thinking we needed a complete overhaul and yet, we can beat the #1 and #4 seeds in the NBA playoffs.  Even at their absolute suckiest, I never thought we could be up 3-1 over the Magic.  A Game 7 upset or something - ok, but really just a bad Larry Drew decision away from a sweep?  Uh, not so much.  

So, I am going with the fact that maybe Jamal (who said he reads the blogs) posted this in the locker room as a motivating factor to get me out the blogging game. And if that's so - I'll take it.  My blogging career for an ECF appearance seems like a fair trade off to me. Besides, I have a woman to find and kids to create.  Trust me, I'd rather be wrong and watching the ECF from the Highlight Factory than arguing with the fans about how to change this team in the offseason.  Never thought it possible that I wouldn't be telling Kris that he's too much of a homer to see how bad this team is constructed for the long term, but miracles happen (and at this rate - that includes the wife and the kids).  Let's hope the Hawks are a part of one.  Let's go Hawks!!!


And with that note, that's this week's 5 Truths....agree or disagree if you must, but if it's the Honesty Corner, then it can't be lies.  See you in the comments...


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