Final thoughts from last night's Hawks loss to the Grizzlies. Here are my individual player thoughts as I empty out my notebook:
- Mike Bibby - Played just over 22 minutes and went 1-2 from the field. He did not attempt a field goal in the first half and seemed intent on trying to get the Hawks into their offense which he did a pretty good job of. With the arena mostly empty you could clearly hear Bibby barking out calls and telling teammates where to go. He had no turnovers on the night. Defensively he was also active, he just struggles with quicker point guards like Mike Conley now. It isn't really a matter of him not trying in my opinion it is just a matter of the Point Guard position being one of the most demanding positions defensively in the NBA.
- Joe Johnson - Johnson had kind of a strange night. It appeared that early on that the Hawks Guards were intent on getting the team into the offense. Joe played almost 24 minutes and went 2-7 from the field with both of his field goals being three pointers. He totaled 4 assists but was also credited with 5 turnovers. Joe looked passive to me. There were a few times it looked like he could have taken the shot and passed it up. It is just a matter of getting back in the groove for Joe, he will be fine.
- Marvin Williams - Marv probably comes away with the best performance from my perspective. This was easily the best game I had saw him play in person. He played starters minutes with 36 which is partly due to the Hawks being really thin at the Small Forward position with Mo Evans still out. Also with Jamal out, Joe didn't see any time at SF either. Williams finished with the line of 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. The key was he was not hesitant. He knocked down both three point attempts he took and was 6-7 from the free throw line. The best part about the offense was that it did put Marvin in good position to score. He also appeared to have a pretty good grasp of the offense.
- Josh Smith - Josh banged his hand on the rim and the cut required stitches which will keep him out of action for about a week. While he was in the game he was effective finishing with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. He did have 5 turnovers. As Brett at Hoopinion points out Josh is still finding himself on the perimeter at times. A key moment in the game was when Josh drove to the basket and looked like he got fouled but didn't get the called. Josh didn't complain to the official but sort of sulked his way back up the court with Coach Drew barking at him. He had a nifty give and go slam with Horford during the first half.
- Al Horford - Al only played in the first half due to a sprained ankle that sidelined him earlier in training camp. Horford played about 14 minutes scoring 9 points, grabbing 2 rebounds, and handing out 2 assists. The only negative was his uncharacteristic 1-4 night from the free throw line. It doesn't appear that he re-aggravated his injured ankle, just that they planned on being cautious.
- Josh Powell - Josh was the first sub off of the bench due to Josh Smith picking up two fouls in the first. Powell seemed to mesh with the first group pretty well while playing some solid defense on Zach Randolph. Powell picked up about four fouls in five trips including a flagrant during the Grizzlies run in the 3rd quarter. Also when the Hawks were searching for some offense, he fired up a couple of long jump shots from the baseline. I think he will fit in fine as a defender and extra big man but the Hawks really need the Powell from the first half a lot more than the one from the second half.
- Jeff Teague - All eyes were on Teague from the outset as the Hawks have vowed for him to play a bigger part on the team this season. Teague played 30 minutes scoring 20 points and dishing out 6 assists. He was also charged with 4 turnovers on the night. I would have liked to have seen him on the court with the starters but I am sure that will come more as the exhibition season progresses. Teague didn't hit a shot from three point range (0-3) but showed an array of floaters in attacking the rim.
- Zaza Pachulia - Zaza got caught up in the foul string in the third quarter as well and finished with 5 on the night. The rest of his line is pretty Zaza like 8 points (2-4 shooting) 7 boards, and 3 assists.
- Jordan Crawford - JC2 missed his first three shots from the field and his first two free throws but rebounded to score 13 points and dish 3 assists. He was 0-6 from down town and did show a tendency for a little too much one on one play. In his defense though, the Hawks offense had broken down into iso situations by midway through the fourth quarter. With the score tied, Crawford took the final shot of regulation and just came up a little short.
- Evan Brock - Brock played just short of 10 minutes while taking up some of the minutes that were vacated due to Mo Evans off season knee surgery. Brock didn't attempt a shot and grabbed 2 rebounds and 2 personal fouls during his time on the court. He appears to perhaps be auditioning for the Utah Flash of the D-League.
- Jason Collins - When you look at Collins the first thing you notice is that he is noticeably slimmer than last season. He drew cheers from the sparse crowd hitting two 15-17 foot jump shots in going 3-3 from the floor. He didn't grab a rebound in almost 7 minutes of playing time. It is too early to really tell but he is clearly in a better situation to earn playing time this season rather than last.
- Etan Thomas - I was a little surprised that Collins got the call before Thomas. Could have been health related as Thomas was the last player out of the locker room at halftime and really didn't go into the game until foul trouble saddled the Hawks available big men.
- Ricardo Marsh - Marsh garnered about 3 minutes of playing time at PF after Josh Powell fouled out in overtime. He picked up a personal foul but otherwise didn't scratch the scoresheet.
- *Acie Law - I feel that Law's performance at least deserves some mention. He looked to be in much better shape than the last time I had saw him. He finished with 19 points going 4-7 from the field and 10-10 from the free throw line. The Grizzlies never trailed after his three point shot to open up overtime.
Also we saw some brief periods of Josh Smith at SF and Al Horford at PF. Not really enough time on the floor to draw any conclusions but Josh did have a lot harder time on the ball against Rudy Gay. Not to say that Rudy Gay isn't a tough cover for a lot of Small Forwards particularly one that usually gets most of his minutes at the Power Forward position.