Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Did anyone expect the Hawks to get significantly worse after finally acquiring a quality point guard? In the aftermath of the Bibby trade, the team's defense has completely collapsed, which seems to be a wee criticism of Mike Woodson, who is supposed to be a defensive coach. The latest evidence is last night's shelling in Orlando, a game in which the Hawks trailed 74-53 at the half. There are two possible explanations for the Hawks' nosedive:
1. Mike Bibby is a terrible defender. We knew when the Hawks made this trade that Bibby does not have a good reputation on defense, but the assumption was that his offensive skills would make up for defensive issues. In any event, the Hawks always had problems defending opposing point guards, so how much difference could Bibby make? As it turns out, Bibby has made a significant difference. Opposing ones have had an absolute field day against Atlanta. Combine an inability to stop penetration with an absence of an interior shot-blocker and you have the Hawks. Yay!
2. The team has quit on Mike Woodson. Believe it or not, this is the preferred explanation. If Bibby is really the problem, then we are screwed this year and next and we're back to square one on trying to find a point guard. If Woodson and the coaching staff are the problem, then the solution is simple: fire the coach and bring in someone who generates a response from these players. It cannot be a coincidence that the Hawks' form has plummeted in the aftermath of the revelation that Billy Knight has tried to fire Woodson on three separate occasions. A number of players already had issues with Woodson. Once the players found out that Woodson's boss doesn't hold Woodson's coaching ability in any higher esteem than they do, the players likely packed it in.
Our professional basketball team is now a rudderless ship. The players don't like the coach. The GM doesn't like the coach. The ownership doesn't listen to the GM. The ownership are embroiled in litigation with themselves. The fan base is ready to move onto the Braves and spring practice. Every time I think that the Hawks are at that "it's always darkest before the dawn" moment, I look at the alarm clock and it's 2:00 a.m.