Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Please Let Mark Bradley Be Right

Mark Bradley has joined John Hollinger in the ranks of respected basketball pundits who rate the Hawks' chances highly this year. He makes a good analogy to the team's emergence in the '85-'86 season, which I hope plays out this year. With the Falcons and Thrashers in the tank and Georgia and Georgia Tech headed for unremarkable seasons, this would be a good time for the Hawks to grab some headlines.

Incidentally, I'm intrigued by the lineup the Hawks deployed last night with Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams in the backcourt. Joe doesn't want to play point, but putting him there and moving Marvin to the two alleviates the logjam in the frontcourt and allows the Hawks to deploy their five best players: Johnson, Marvin, Childress, Josh Smith, and Al Horford. (I'm projecting a little on Horford, but I think he'll be the best option at the five by midseason.) If that lineup can defend against smaller, quicker guards, then it would present a lot of match-up problems for opponents. I'd much rather the Hawks' forward get minutes than their point guards.


Matt said...

What would you think about Childress playing point? I'd love to see it, that's for sure.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Childress played the point at various times last year since, well, no one else could and never seemed comfortable. His shooting and slashing are a bit better than his passing skills (I think, don't quote me) and I would guess he's better suited playing off the ball.

I think a better solution of solving the frontcourt logjam would have been to trade one of those forwards for an actual point guard, but you're right, Michael, when you say there's a point to getting the best five guys out there. Not completely sold that M-Williams is one of those guys yet--and I think Smith should play the 4--but we'll see.

Michael said...

I don't love Childress playing the point because he's not a threat to beat players off the dribble like JJ is. Childress moves very well without the ball and is an excellent rebounder/finisher. Those skills would be negated if he were bringing the ball up the court. He's also much more comfortable playing on the baseline. I'd bet that his shooting percentage is better from the baseline than it is from the head of the key, which is where he would be at point.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you can go with a lineup that small *and* without great ballhandling. Starvin' (for numbers) Marvin at the 2 is intriuging, but then you have subpar ballhandling at the 1 & 2. I love Joe Johnson, but he's obviously not a true point--and if you play him there, I think you need another very good ballhandler alongside him or you run the risk of the offense stagnating.

I think that lineup is interesting and causes matchup problems, but I also think it struggles to defend small guards and big post scorers, which is a deadly combo (as anyone who's watched the infamous Smush Parker-Kwame Brown duo can tell you). Have you watched a lot of preseason--I know Horford can score, but how has he looked defensively?

Michael said...

I'm projecting that Marvin will be able to attack the basket more this year. He showed improvement at getting to the foul line in the second half of last year, which indicates that his handle is getting better. You do raise a good point that my lineup lacks sufficient dribble penetration.

I haven't seen much preseason ball; I've just been reading accounts of the games. Everyone seems pleased with Horford. He's a much better defensive rebounder than anyone else on the team. The one worrying game was against Portland, when Aldridge and Pryzbylla had their way inside with Horford and the rest of the Hawks' interior players. I ought to check to see if Al Jefferson played a lot against the Hawks earlier this week.

I'm going to the opener against the Mavs on 11/2 and will be able to report more thereafter. You have to love being a Hawks fan. I got two good tickets about ten rows up behind the basket a month before the opener against an attractive opponent for half off (through my firm).

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