The Hawks Blog Brotherhood is back with a new edition of the Squawk Box to discuss the start of the season and questions that make you go hmmmm….So, let’s get to it…Who do you agree with? Who is wayyy off base?
[Note: Put any questions you want us to answer in the comments and we’ll tackle ‘em in future Squawk Boxes.]
1. Should the Hawks change starting lineups based on opponent or define a regular starting 5?
Kris Willis: While I think it is important to maintain flexibility I think it is going to be very important for Drew to settle on a rotation. Right now we have players that are performing well (Morrow) and then not playing for what appears to be unknown reasons. With a veteran club that might not be a problem but for a group that was just put together and with most of the players in the final year of their deal, it could become a major problem down the road.
Hawk Str8Talk: I’m a BIG proponent of establishing your identity and imposing it on the other teams, which means – pick your starting 5 and a rotation that fits your identity and then run with it. An occasional lineup change in the extreme cases, but overall – the ability for the organization to define roles and grow the team’s confidence in the players to fulfill them is something that’s been missing over much of the Coach Woodson/Drew regime. It would be nice to see if the Hawks can force other teams to adjust to them instead of the reverse.
Throw: (Yes, but only if it helps us) Personally I am not against changing the lineups but I do not think that we should change it just to accommodate the team that we are playing. We should be changing the lineups so that we have the advantage instead of just playing to what other teams have. So far in this short season, the big lineup has given us a rebounding advantage and in the couple games I have seen it gets Josh on a smaller opponent in the post. So if the big lineup gives us an advantage then go for it, if the small lineup gives us an advantage where we can use speed to score fast then I'm all for it. What I'm saying is don't go with one lineup just because we will watch up evenly, go with the lineup because it gives us an advantage in certain areas.
Robby Kalland: You have to go based on opponent in Atlanta's situation. We don't have 5 guys that set themselves apart, and we have to stay flexible in order to match up with opponents, you can have a set 5 only when there are 5 guys at defined positions that are the best options at all times.
2. Which player do you want to see more of and why?
KW: Anthony Morrow has shown in limited opportunities that he can help the team offensively and hasn't been that bad defensively. He is clearly deserving to play but at whose expense isn't quite clear.
HS8T: Since I’ve already professed my extreme desire to see players who are signed beyond this season, I’ll eschew my #1 answer (John Jenkins) for the next obvious candidate and that’s Anthony Morrow. Most people will talk about the offensive and defensive pros and cons, but I’d just like to remind the coaching staff that Anthony Morrow joins Josh Smith as the resident ‘close friends of Dwight Howard’, so if there’s any player who you want to allow to play himself into a future Hawk role or, at minimum, be provided with the opportunities to discuss with Howard how well and fairly he was treated during his time in Atlanta. Doesn’t hurt that his shooting has been the best on the team so far, so the ‘if Jamal Crawford can get as many shots as he wants, A-Mo should be able to play in each game’ theory is in play.
T: Fun fact about Anthony Morrow this year, in the 2 games he has played so far this season up until 11/12 he has averaged 3/3 3PM-A (100%) 3/3 FTM-A (100%), 8-13 FGM-A (61.5%) and finally averaging 11 ppg. Now as for the other sharpshooter on this team that average 24 mpg is averaging about 7 ppg while shooting around 30% from 3, he seems to be given a spot in the starting lineup including bad defense. Now this is not a shot a Kyle Korver, this is more as my thoughts on why Morrow should see the floor EVERY GAME. When I first heard and saw the roster on this team, I was thinking that with multiple shooters we will be able to spread the floor so that multiple players can shoot the ball. It doesn't really make since to me that we should allow one of our shooters to get on the floor and so far he has been more cold than hot. So yeah I would like to see more of Morrow because if one of our shooters isn't working out for us at the moment then it would be nice to see if another guy that we brought in here to play the exact same role can do any better.
RK: While I do want to see A-Mo on the floor more, I'm going to go with Ivan. A-Mo lit it up vs. the Heat, but his defense is sub-par (i.e. getting torched by Rashard Lewis). Ivan's game is much more developed than he is credited for on offense, and he's a phenomenal energy man that crashes the boards. I'd rather see him play with certain units than Tolliver.
3. Do you believe the rookies (Jenkins more than Scott) should receive playing time early in the season?
KW: I'm like everyone else. I'd love to see more of Jenkins and Scott but it simply can't happen with the way this team is constructed currently. At some point the team will have to look at where it is at and determine if they are going to make a play for the playoffs or prepare for next season.
HS8T: Well, duh…to keep from repeating my mantra on this, I’ll just say that it’s as critical to let rookies earn time as it is veterans and it is certainly better to do it early in the year, so that the deer in headlights look doesn’t rear its ugly head when it actually matters. Of course, this thought process hinges on the belief that this is a transition year (no matter how well we do), so if this year isn’t a title push year – you spend a portion of every game trying to figure out who fits into your future plans and the essential part of this idea is simple – if you are going to potentially turn over more than 50% of your roster at season’s end – the glut you seem to have the guard position is actually not permanent and therefore, you’re going to need to see if there is potential in John Jenkins to start a shooting guard for this team before you make moves in the offseason. Lou Williams would seemingly be your backup shooting guard for the foreseeable future, but who is your starter? There isn’t one on the roster and if you pull off a Howard/Paul haul, you’ll certainly need a cheap (hello, rookie contract) shooting guard to fill the blanks with some experience under his belt. Final note – to those who say, he’s not ready defensively – I’ll simply say this is a team that played Mike Bibby, Jamal Crawford, and currently plays Kyle Korver, Devin Harris, and when the mood hits Anthony Morrow..sorry, but I’ll remain unconvinced that there is a defense that gets much worse than any of those people.
T: I think the rookies should get some playing time on a season where there are little expectations since they are the few on this roster that are guaranteed to be back next year. Now Im not expecting may minutes to be free (especially for Jenkins) since there are players that should be playing above them, but it would be nice to see them slowly brought into the speed of the NBA even if they are just given a few minutes at first per game.
RK: No, and actually I'd say Scott is more ready than Jenkins at this point. Jenkins has a good stroke and shoots well, but his defense is pretty bad. He's still learning and working on defense (after Heat game he was playing 1-on-1 w/ Devin trying to get better at on-ball D), and he isn't a better option than the others ahead of him. Scott can fill it up from mid-range and rebounds well, but like Jenkins 1-on-1 D is still a work in progress and he's the 5th best big on the team.