Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Larry Drew said he’s gonna make changes with the Hawks. Ideas?
Steve Aschburner: I’m the wrong person to opine on this because I was in the building Monday night when the Hawks scored just 20 points by halftime against Chicago at United Center. Hey, the entire Atlanta team, in the second quarter, scored five more points than I did. So I’m prone, as they say, to throw the baby out with the bath water – and then slap the baby’s parents. But I’ll focus on one possible change: Josh Smith. Before the game, Drew talked about Smith being overdue for All-Star selection. But in the game, the talented but temperamental player sulked, jawed with referees and got T’d up for throwing the ball hard at ref Ken Mauer. Nice enough guy and supremely skilled, but the Hawks should not commit on a max deal to him and dare not lose him in free agency for nothing. Trade him before the Feb. 21 deadline.
Fran Blinebury: What’s he going to do — put Zaza Pachulia in the starting lineup for Al Horford, Devin Harris in for Jeff Teague and expect everything to change? Despite what Drew said, it is very much his job to coach effort, to have his players inspired and motivated every night. As soon as a coach throws up his hands and says it’s not, he’s inviting himself to be the change.
Jeff Caplan: Sign up on LinkedIn and get your resume up to snuff. Look, this team had a nice start, but it doesn’t have the pieces to make a deep playoff run. It didn’t with Joe Johnson and it doesn’t know. There’s been a sense ever since Danny Ferry took over as GM that Drew was a short-timer. Ferry’s done a great job clearing out salary and making room to add more pieces, but that process likely won’t start until the summer when Drew will likely be hitting the pavement.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Score more than 58 points. Change that. Assuming you mean ideas for changes with the team he is given, since that is LD’s department, not trades, there aren’t many changes to make. Tell Josh Smith to lay off the jumpers? Good luck with that conversation.
John Schuhmann: I’m not sure why he put Lou Williams back on the bench in the first place. They were having some success with a starting lineup of Jeff Teague, Williams, Kyle Korver, Josh Smith and Al Horford. Then they lost a few games in a row and Drew went away from it, even though that lineup wasn’t really the problem. Lineup change or not, I think they’re just coming back down to earth a bit. They’re not as good as they were when they were No. 3 in the East, and they’re not as bad as they’ve been over the last seven games.
Sekou Smith: Larry Drew, who’s done a fine job as the Hawks’ coach, better be careful. He doesn’t have a contract beyond this season and is working under a general manager who didn’t hire him. The easiest change to make for a team with a roster full of guys on one-year or expiring deals is a coaching change. The rumors of the Hawks trading Josh Smith have been rumbling for five years. Ignore them. He’s not going anywhere. The stunner, the move that would really shake things up is if the Hawks were to consider it, would be to entertain offers for Al Horford, whose trade value would be sky-high (young and productive power forward with a reasonable contract).