So Far, So Good – 20 Games In

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
By Jon Newberry

The Hawks are 20 games into the 2009-10 regular season . . . roughly a quarter of the way through. Their 14-6 record has them on pace for about 57 wins, which would be 10 more than in 2008-09. A closer look at how Atlanta has gotten to this point of the season makes many believe this year’s Hawks are very capable of maintaining the early pace.

Staying Healthy:(knock on wood)

Atlanta has used the the same starting five for all 20 games this season. Last year the team had used the Mike/Joe/Al/Josh/Marvin lineup only six times at this point, with Horford (2 games), Smoove (12) and Marvin (1) all missing starts.

Quality Victories:

The Hawks are 8-2 against teams with records at or above .500 entering Wednesday night. Quality road wins at Boston, Dallas and Portland are evidence that this year’s team is capable of hanging with the league’s elite even without the comforts of the Highlight Factory. Many will point out bad losses to the Knicks and to the Bobcats in Charlotte, but a quick look at last year’s results reveal that losses to sub-par teams happen in the NBA, even if you are among the elite. The Lakers, who eventually were crowned NBA Champions, lost to the Kings (who finished 17-65) and lost both meetings with the Bobcats (35-47). Orlando, L.A.’s opponent in the finals, lost to Memphis (24-58), Toronto, Milwaukee and New Jersey (all had 34 wins or less). So we shouldn’t panic too much about a couple early season slips.

Analyzing the Analysts:

Seeding:

Most experts had the Hawks finishing as the fourth or fifth seed in the East and not contending with the “Big 3”. While Atlanta is currently holding down the fourth spot, they are now in the discussion when it comes to the 3-seed or even higher.

The Crawford Effect:

Analysts agreed that the biggest difference between this year’s Hawks and the Hawks of 2008-09 was the addition of Jamal Crawford and the departure of Flip Murray. Going inside the numbers shows that Jamal is having a greater impact:

Not to take anything away from Flip, because he was a great fit (and a bargain) for the role that he played on last year’s team, but most of his numbers were built up by leading an inferior second unit that needed an aggressive scorer. Jamal provides even more production and can be used with the starters or with the (much improved) second unit.

Speaking of the second unit:

JC, Joe Smith, Mo, Zaza and Teague have been great through the first 20 games of the season. One stat that should pay dividends down the stretch and into the playoffs is that Al Horford is the only starter whose minutes have increased since last season. The other four starters have seen their minutes cut as Coach Woodson has been able to give them more rest with the stronger bench.

Inside the Numbers:

Obscure stat of the first 20 games: Al Horford career 3FG% = 100%

Al took and made his only career attempt in the Hawks home win over Portland.

 

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11 Responses to “So Far, So Good – 20 Games In”

  1. Crowderpeas27

    I like the way Jamal Crawford plays and I think he is a great addition to the team. Maybe I am wrong but I would like to see Coach Woodson play Marvin a little less and bring Teague in more. He is faster, he can shoot the ball and he is hungry (meaning he is eager to get in and play with the team and make it happen). I think Jeff Teague is another Rondo. He can bring the ball to the players that need it faster so they can shoot the ball. I can’t wait till the game tonight. I am excited to see them play again. Let’s Get it Hawks!

    #652
  2. Jason Parker

    This has certainly been an exciting month and a half. As long as we stay healthy, we should play at a consistent level all year.

    #653
  3. Larry Jones

    yo dog the hawks pretty much kick balls you know?

    #654
  4. Mz. Hawkdafied

    Keep up the pace ATL Hawks!

    #656
  5. Hawksfanforlife

    I think the hawks have exceeded the expectations of many including me so far this season. This is a well balanced, deep, and veteran group of guys this season. Jamal Crawford and Joe Smith were very big additions to the team. I love Jeff Teague, I mean hes just a spark plug off the bench. He has the one part of his game you can’t teach and thats hussle, the come from behind blocked shot he made last night is evident of that. My only concern with this team is consistency, go out there every night with high energy no matter the wins and losses of the opponent. Im sorry but we cannot lose to the bobcats by 20 and let the knicks come into the highlight factory and beat us. I feel if the guys “get up” for every game- man look out! Go Hawks!

    #657
  6. atownhawk23

    VOTE JJ, BIBBYLICOUS, AND J-SMOOVE AND WHOEVER ELSE
    FOR ALL-STAR 2009 TO DRAG THE WEST IN THE
    ALL-STAR GAME.

    lets go ATL HAWKS!!!

    LOVE JJ!♥
    LOVE BIBBY!♥
    LOVE J-SMOOVE!♥
    LOVE DEM ALL!

    #658
  7. atlhawks92

    I think the Hawks can win 60 plus games this year and shut up these so called NBA “experts” and get as high as the 2 seed and i really think we can get to the Eastern Conference Finals, GO HAWKS!!!

    #659
  8. Woodrow

    I hate they don’t play every night. They are fun to watch. Give Woodson some credit. I wanted him gone years ago, I was wrong. He has grown with the team

    #661
  9. atownhawk23

    You dumbos the ATL HAWKS are in the top three.

    So MY JJ and the hawks are the big dogs right now.

    #662
  10. hawks4life

    No mo Iso Joe !!!Please take that play out of the playbook.The Hawks needed that when they were young and Joe Johnson was the only scorer on the team. They’ve grown up now and a TEAM concept needs to be incoperated. Iso Joe only slows this team down and get them out of their rhythm. We have too many scoring threats to be isolating Joe Johnson while everybody else stands around and watches.

    #663
  11. Anonymous Hawks Guy

    I agree hawks4life. The Hawks play much better when they pass the ball, in example, the last 4 blowout wins w/ an average of 31 assists per game and and avg of 8 ppl in double figures. That’s the type of team the Hawks are and hopefully Mike Woodson is finding that out. He’s done a great job this year in subbing players according to the game situation, but that ISO Joe is the cryptonite of the team! It wastes about 16 seconds on a shot clock and rushes a bad shot almost every time. Other than that, I am extremely proud of the way the Hawks have played thus far, could easily have the best record in the league. Keep up the great work fellas and get well Joe and Marvin!

    #664