By most accounts, experts and fans alike, the Atlanta Hawks are offensively challenged. The offense too often becomes stale, and stagnant. The ball goes to one players hands, and seems to stop. The long jump shots go cold. There are several reasons for the Hawks offensive woes, everyone has their own perception as to what the primary culprit is, but everyone knows the offense is anything but a thing of beauty.
So man, what would the Hawks do to have an elite, and consistent scorer in the fold?
Well, they’d trade him away without giving him a chance to be of any help, that’s what they would do.
If you’re thinking, “wait, that makes no sense”, join the the rest of the Hawks fanbase in thinking aloud, “what the hell is wrong here?”
Beginning on March 8, Jordan Crawford has now played 25 minutes or more in 12 consecutive basketball games. In those 12 games, Crawford has scored in double figures in all of them. In fact, in only 3 of those 12 games did he fail to reach at least 16 points, and in 7 of his past 12 games he’s gone over the 20 point mark, with 5 of those being 25 point or bigger nights.
Sure, there have been games where he’s taken a ton of shots to get those games, and a few games with a few too many turnovers, but remember, he is a rookie. A rookie who has quickly become the number one scoring option for his team.
Becoming that primary option contributes to both the high number of shots, as well as the higher number of turnovers, as the added attention given to a teams primary scorer will increase the turnovers, and make shots even more contested.
Nevertheless, he’s moving the ball, his assist numbers while not those of a point guard, are of a guy willing, and capable, of moving the basketball around and getting his teammates open looks.
But the bottom line, he fills it up, and the team who drafted him, because, well, he was supposed to be the next Jamal Crawford, a guy who could come in, and well, score, NEEDS a player who can do just that.
Well, it turns out the team that drafted him, that needed a player just like that, HAD a player like that once they drafted him. Then, after apparently deciding that just a few months into his rookie season he would never be that player, he’s shipped off to Washington.
Well, in Washington, Crawford has become the explosive scorer he was expected to be. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, the lack of offense looks like it’s going to undermine any serious post-season run the team was thinking about making.
And apparently, for whatever it’s worth, Lebron James simply brings the best out in Crawford. Remember, it was Crawford who dunked on Lebron at a camp where Nike quickly confiscated the video. And it was against Lebron’s Heat tonight that Crawford just put up 39 points. Considering the Hawks see the Heat four times a year, that could be useful.
The absurdity of how absolutely illogical and backwards this is is nothing new to Hawks fans though, and that is what is so disappointing.
We’ve seen Jeff Teague have outstanding games, and then not even play a minute the very next night.
We never hardly even saw Crawford play, but now that he’s playing a lot in Washington, well, fortunately we’ll get to see him four times a year in the future.
Apparently Larry Drew is clueless when it comes to evaluating talent, or making use of his roster.
People claim the Hawks aren’t a deep team. That isn’t entirely true, they have some solid players on the back end of this roster. Damien Wilkins and Jeff Teague make up the 8th and 9th guys on this squad, and I’ll tell you, a lot of teams would really like to have guys of that caliber that far down their bench.
Actually, just about every team would be happy to have guys of that caliber on their bench, every team but the Hawks and Larry Drew.
Drew refuses to let young players develop, or so it seems, much in the way Mike Woodson wouldn’t. One can say we can blame it on scouting and making poor draft picks, but when you see what Crawford is doing once given a chance, you’ve got to start thinking the talent acquired wasn’t the problem. The application and management of that young talent is where the problem is.
No wonder why the Hawks brass wants to maintain this core, and why they resigned Joe Johnson to such a long deal. They went cheap with the hiring of Larry Drew as a coach, basically making a change at the position without actually making a change (if only for perhaps the worse). They made themselves a bed they now have to lie in.
Hawks management knows it can’t attempt a rebuilding job, or any sort of major tinkering like that. Such things would require the influx of young talent, and the management of young talent, which might mean the coach might have to deal with some growing pains with young players.
Clearly, “coach” Larry Drew isn’t one for dealing with youth, nor is he apparently a guy who can help a young player maximize the potential at their disposal. So rather than try to bring in some young talent, and new pieces, the Hawks management did the best it could, keep the best players they had, and go with the status quo.
No, Mike Bibby could not defend. Yes Kirk Hinrich is a better defender. But are the Hawks a better team now? That’s debatable.
The problem with Mike Bibby’s weaknesses, the antidotes were already on the roster. Jeff Teague can defend, and very well. He can penetrate, and put pressure on a defense. Jordan Crawford, he can get his own shot off, and provide offense off the bench.
For the Hawks, the answers to what ailed them was right under there nose. Larry Drew just couldn’t see it, or refused, I’m not sure which. Now, he’s down one less option to alleviate some of this teams ills, as Jordan Crawford is off putting up points in bunches in Washington, while Hawks fans everywhere wonder why they can’t find a player to do something similar for their team.
These types of problems run deeper than a simple trade, or free agent pick-up can fix, and that is where the true problems with the Atlanta Hawks lie. The problem runs so deep, there is no quick fix.
Band-aids don’t fix internal bleeding.