Wednesday, July 05, 2006

As an Apology for Passing on Chris Paul...

Billy Knight has now signed his back-up. I like this move. Check out Speedy's numbers from 82games.com. He outproduced opposing point guards and the Hornets were a significantly better team with him on the court as opposed to off of it, both offensively and defensively. Contrast him with the Hawks' point guards from last year, Mssrs. Ivey and Lue, and it's clear that the Hawks have significantly upgraded the point guard position. Furthermore, they've done so with a player who can shoot the ball, which is important since opponents were double-teaming Joe Johnson last year off the Hawks point guard and therefore, the team needs a guy who can make open perimeter shots. Mission accomplished. Am I being an idiot by being optimistic about this team? I don't mean "make the playoffs" optimistic or anything, but "35 wins and demonstrable improvement" optimistic?

While rooting around 82games.com to find something to say about Speedy Claxton, I came across this piece on college Draft prospects and their comparables from the past 15 years. At least one person other than me and Doug Gottlieb think that the Hawks made a good decision in taking Shelden Williams. The Alonzo Mourning comparison is flattering, although Williams doesn't have Mourning's offensive game and I'm not expecting Zo-like things from Shelden. Another article on the site notes that Williams' excellent wingspan is "canceled out by his tall head." So we have that going against us.

What's more interesting is the analysis of point guards. Rajon Rondo grades out better than Marcus Williams, who apparently has limited athleticism, as well as the combo guards (Brandon Roy and Randy Foye). Foye and J.J. Redick got the lowest marks. There will be a great deal of schadenfreude among just about all college hoops fans if the latter part of that prediction turns out to be true.

7 comments:

Fox said...

Am I missing something--what makes you think Speedy is the back-up? Who will he be backing up?

That said, it seems like a nice signing, although obviously not a long-term fix.

Fox said...

Oops, I misread your post. Forget the first paragraph of what I wrote.

But I wouldn't get too excited--this signing basically gets Atlanta toward the league mean, and keeps PG from being a big negative but it's not like they actually got Paul or something.

Michael said...

When you've had the worst PGs in the league, getting to the mean is a major improvement. The Hawks are likely to be above the mean at the 2/3 positions as their players mature, so being at the mean at 1/4/5 ought to be sufficient.

Matt said...

I'm not sure how 82games calculated Speedy's on-court Effective FG%, because his personal number is very not good. He shoots the 3 terribly. I don't understand it- 27.0% on 3 pointers, which would make him worst 3 point shooter on the Hawks, with the exception of Marvin Williams. He will be a weak link on our perimeter offense if his shot doesn't improve.

All that being said, he's going to make a bigger impact on the Hawks than any point guard we could've drafted. His defense is going to be the biggest help, I think.

35 wins is very realistic. Discounting the 2-16 start last year, the Hawks played .375 ball, which would be 30-31 wins over 82 games. I'm definitely "make the playoffs" optimistic, with a 41-41 record.

Fox said...

I heard a wonderful rumor that the Hawks may try to trade for one of the Knicks supposed star "PGs," maybe Starbury. The Claxton signing may reduce those chances so as a Knicks fan who won't watch another game until Isiah gets fired, I'm a bit torn. It would be wonderful to get rid of Marbury but then again, the Knicks may actually win a few more games without him there? See how hard Dolan/Isiah have made life for Knicks' fans. I almost wish I was a Hawks fan this year, so i could just root for 35 wins with abandonment.

Michael said...

Matt, 82games measured the Hornets' eFG% with Claxton on the court, not just his individual eFG%. You're right that he's not a very good shooter; his career three-point percentage is .189. My only hope is that the Hawks are getting a player entering his prime and that his shooting will be good enough that teams don't leave him wide open on a regular basis. His defense and ball-handling will be major upgrades.

Fox, the idea that the Hawks were going to trade for Starbury was wishful thinking in New York. The only Knick the Hawks were interested in last year was Channing Frye.

Fox said...

That True Height Index article is hilarious. That kid obviously has way too much time on his hands.

The guy writing about Shelden's long head seems to have confused things. I can see how having a long head would mean that your long wingspan would be more in proportion to your actual height, as opposed to some small headed freak with gigantic arms, but it makes no sense to claim that having a big head somehow makes your arms shorter. Just bizarre logic.

The comments on Rondo are very funny. They act like he's just a slightly bad shooter when in reality he can't hit anything longer than a layup. That could be a problem in the NBA.

The bottom line is that the pick was probably the right one for the Hawks--especially if the alternative was a PG that had no business going in the lottery--but they should have found a way to trade down a spot or two, probably with Portland.