Quick Thought: R.I.P. Motion/Flex Offense
We wondered before the season started that, should the Hawks struggle, how would the multi-million dollar backcourt respond to sharing the ball instead of hogging it.
5A: Wild Card Question-THHB: Is the roster suited for the changes being made from the bench?
With all the discussion about Joe's big deal and the Larry Drew hire based on the significant changes promised on offense and defense, I wonder about putting the two issues together. After all, if the Hawks aren't immediately successful in a new motion offense, will Joe Johnson-buoyed by the power in his contract---decide to take matters, and the offense, into his own hands if he's not comfortable or satisfied?
The Hawks scrapped the new motion/flex offense in favor of a handoff heavy isolation offense featuring the two players that have been struggling the most offensively: Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford.
So gone were the open looks that Al Horford would get out of the flex. Not a single Joe Johnson cutting to the hoop to get a pass from Horford with Bibby setting the back screen. Nope, we got Horford hunched over with his back to the basket, straining to handoff to his outside shooting overlords and a series of what Nique always calls "tough shots" foe the backcourt.
Well, now that they sold out LD's motion for this and still lost, what's next? A five guard, nobody in the lane offense?
Tonight, it was close to that. The New Jersey Nets were the aggressor throughout and took it continuously to the passive Hawks, who shot only 13 free throws (8 in the 4th quarter and overtime) for the game, highlighting their bystander, iso-heavy, jump shot offense.
Meanwhile, the Nets went to the line (33) times, were relentless in the fourth quarter in taking it into the paint against Josh Smith and Horford, and authored a gritty home win over a team that looks ready to hand over their 50 win crown.
As much as we lament the early passing of one of LD's big changes, the real issue was stopping the Nets. Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, and Kris Humphries took turns softening the Hawks inside game. When the Hawks tried to double to help out inside, the Nets simply threw the ball to the outside and took advantage of the Hawks non-rotation, let's hope he misses, defensive strategy from there.
Not even the gifts of Jordan Farmar and Johan Petro could help the Hawks climb out of their current stupor. And now that they've gotten Drew to acquiesce to them in losing, it's scary to think where they might head next.
We leave you with something that no doubt defines where most of you are right now, wondering if it's time to panic.