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Hawk Str8Talk's Honesty Corner's 5 Truths: Vol. 7


Time for the 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. The Matchup Shouldn't Mask The Problem.

Admittedly, I was giddy while watching the Hawks run ram shod all over the Orlando Magic. This is an emotion that was sorely missing throughout this 2010-2011 campaign, but that's mostly because the function of my posts is to focus on what makes us move toward a NBA championship.  A playoff win didn't change any of those things that I question about this team.  An unlikely series win still won't change those things is probably not going to do that either.  

On the good side, Joe Johnson played to about 80% of his contract. Kirk Hinrich played to about 75% of his trade 'value' (how depressing is it that Hilton Armstrong didn't even make the playoff active list for this team?) and we made our jump shots on the whole.  On the bad side, Joe Johnson and Kirk Hinrich have not been consistent about being at or above those percentages above and a team that relies on jump shots a) doesn't normally hit them with consistency and b) never makes any noise in the playoffs.  So, hats off to the Hawks, but we're going to need to see more from the Atlanta Hawks to convince us that the problems we've watched for the past 3 years are erased by one impressive playoff victory.

Truth 2. There were 2 items to get excited about.

There were a few things that should have made Hawks fans happy in Game 1.  The first is that they said they were confident and then, they went out and displayed the confidence that they said they had.  First, we've rarely done that and we've probably never done it in a game that mattered as much to the opposing team.  For most playoff teams, that is a given. For these Hawks, not so much and for that - we should hope that this is something to build upon.  While there is still a lot of skepticism in the Atlanta Hawks, the one thing that can trump a flawed philosophy is confidence in that flawed philosophy.  See Golden State 2007 as exhibit #1.  They never were going to win the title, but they did ride the wave for 10 games to shock the world. 
The second thing you should have been happy about was Larry Drew being a REAL coach.  When he saw his players trying to change his game plan, he called a time out and said - roll with what I laid out as our game plan.  Simple issue for most coaches, but for this team - there have been plenty of instances of player improvisation and very little repercussions from said coach.   To see the coach challenge the team to follow his instruction and to see the team have success by doing so could just maybe give the coach the stones to impart other instructions for the team to follow.  There's still reason to believe that the team has effectively tuned out the coach for much of the season, but this could cause the team to follow the leadership of its coach for a change. One would hope.

Truth 3. Winning Does Have Negative Consequences.

I've said it before and I'll continue to say it.  If this playoff series causes the leadership to stay the course, I don't want them to win.  Yes, that causes a complete inner turmoil for my cheering interests.  I certainly could never openly want my team to lose, but the long term interests that I shouldn't have to worry about don't seem to be the concern of our ownership and management.  With that in mind, there's great fear that any success will embolden ASG and Sund to continue to double down on a flawed roster.  So, I don't want to say it, but I can't help it - anything other than a DEEP run in the playoffs could end up with a long term epic fail written all over a first round series win.  How's that for a fan's conflict of interests?

One other consequence of winning this way just reinforces that this team doesn't need Teague and confirms my belief that Teague won't be a part of this team in 2011-2012 OR we're continuing the inexplicable use of Teague over the past 2 years.  How do you expect him to ever be a factor in your ability to win meaningful games if he's never played in one?

Truth 4. Did Marvin & Zaza catch the Teague Fever?.

So, Zaza and Marvin are now taking on much smaller roles and, of course, Jeff Teague and Damian Wilkins caught the DNP Plague.  Josh is a starting small forward. Zaza is just one of a merry quartet of Dwight Hackers.  For Marvin, that might be fine and a function of the lineup changes. For Zaza, it's a slap in the face for arguably the hardest working and most skilled of the reserve backups.  I said in last week's Truths that Zaza was playing the best of all Hawks over the last 20 games and he's rewarded with...9 minutes against the Magic.  Sorry but if 15 minutes are distributed between Etan Thomas and Josh Powell when they can be given to Zaza - that's just not good minute distribution.

To be fair, it may get them past the Magic, but does it translate to something that beats any other playoff team?

Truth 5. Here's the Greatest Motivational Ploy Ever.

I'm not looking ahead.  In fact, I am on record in my thinking that the Magic will win this series 4-1, so I'm not going to say that I believe the Hawks are going to stop being inconsistent and maddening after one game, but to be clear - if the Hawks can defeat the Bulls with this group and coaching staff, I'll stop blogging.  Yes, you heard it here first.  I've staked my claim to being ahead of the curve on much of what ails this team (i.e. I've been talking the issues that dominate the AJC and Peachtree Hoops commenters for 3 years now.) and so, if we can turn this on for 8 playoff victories this postseason, then I will freely and openly admit that I know nothing about NBA basketball and retire.

Sell the website. Head to the big retirement community called my club seat at Philips Arena.  And just shut up.  [What's that I hear - is that a standing ovation?] I've said that I don't know if there's a team that I'd be confident about us beating this first round season (East or West) and certainly don't have any expectation that we're sound enough to make a deep run with this collection of players and coaches.  So, if they can defeat the Magic, and then prove that it's not just the matchup and an utter collapse by the Magic by taking the Bulls by the horns and defeating them, I announce my retirement.  I won't even say a goodbye, no retirement circuit, nothing - just a straight vanish from blogging about this team ever again.  Hawks, you wanted motivation.  You now have motivation.  

Let's Go Hawks!!!!


Bonus Truth. Jason Collins starts prove that roster balance is valuable. (PH Exclusive)

About 3 years ago, I made the suggestion that Marvin Williams needed to come off the bench.  Last year, I made the suggestion that Jeff Teague and Maurice Evans needed to start.  The premise of this was simple.  With Al, Josh, and Joe dominating the ball and shots for the starters and, with the need to have some bench scoring and defense to go with Jamal Crawford on the bench, it would do wonders for the aggressiveness of both players.  And now, Jason Collins' time as the starter proves the theory correct.  You don't have to have your 5 best players on the court when the game starts. Sometimes, it makes perfect sense to simply put players at their proper position and then mix and match it from there as the Hawks have done in most games against true centers. It also makes perfect sense to not have 5 All Stars on your starting unit and then have the Whitman Mayo Rec League All Stars as your 2nd team, so if you do have weak links - you may want to mix them in with the stars in order to balance out your team until crunch time.

It does make you wonder whether or not this starting lineup with Collins up wouldn't work no matter who the center is.  Larry Drew, maybe you should try this as a permanent solution. [Note: This starting option would still only mean 20 mins or less for Jason Collins or else I rebuke everything I just said.]

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...