The ‘BIG’ Lineup is Intriguing?

Friday, December 16, 2011
By Jon Newberry

Larry Drew has repeatedly stated that it is still too early to say how rotations will work or how minutes will be divided up with this season’s roster. With the versatility of players like Tracy McGrady, Joe Johnson and Al Horford, he has plenty of possible combinations to consider.

One of the more intriguing options is a “BIG” lineup that features McGrady, Johnson, Vladimir Radmanovic, Horford and Jason Collins/Zaza Pachulia. McGrady has been used as a point-forward in the past and is capable of bringing the ball up the court on offense, while Johnson was often called on to guard the other team’s point guard when he played alongside Mike Bibby the last few years. With this lineup the Hawks would create some huge match-up problems for the other team’s backcourt and give Al a bigger advantage on the boards as well. Check out the sizes compared to league averages:

Hawks Big Lineup League Avg. ** Advantage
PG – McGrady 6’8″ / 225 lbs 6’2″ / 190 lbs 6 in. / 35 lbs
SG – Johnson 6’7″ / 240 lbs 6’6″ / 211 lbs 1 in. / 29 lbs
SF – Radmanovic 6’10” / 235 lbs 6’8″ / 224 lbs 2 in. / 11 lbs
PF – Horford 6’10” / 250 lbs 6’10” / 245 lbs - in. / 5 lbs
C – Collins 7’0″ / 255 lbs 6’11” / 250 lbs 1 in. / 5 lbs

(Note: I know Joe is listed at 6’7″, but he plays a lot bigger than that at the 2. Other SG’s around the league may be similar in height, but they are not built like Joe… think Rudy Gay and/or Brandon Roy.)

Joe and T-Mac are able to draw double-teams with standard match-ups, but they will be immediate if they have 4-6 inches and/or 20-30 pounds on their defender. That means open looks for Horford (who was deadly from 15-18 feet for much of last season) and Radmanovich (who has made a living at the 3-point line).

There is no guarantee that LD will ever use this lineup, but it would be interesting to give it a try in one of the preseason games against the Bobcats.

The other end of the spectrum is probably one that you will see somewhat often this season. Let’s call it the “QUICK” lineup.

The core of the Hawks’ lineup this year, on paper, seems built to run. Coach Drew has acknowledged that he is encouraging players to push the ball more that Jeff Teague is the starting point guard. With the traditional starting lineup with Al at center and Josh at power forward, the Hawks sacrifice size but gain a big advantage with speed. Horford can outrun any big man in the league and Smoove is faster and more athletic than nearly every 4. Tweak the lineup a little bit to sub in the speedy Pape Sy for Marvin Williams and the Hawks resemble the Phoenix Suns from ’04-’05 when they averaged over 110 ppg.

Like I said before, LD has options. Look for the tinkering of the rotation to continue into the season since the preseason schedule only includes two games this year.

** – The league averages were pulled from The Bassline Spin‘s numbers from last season. They used the starting lineups from April 8, 2011, (24 of 30 teams were in action) to come up with their averages. It is not the most scientific or exact, but it will suffice for the purpose of this posting.

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37 Responses to “The ‘BIG’ Lineup is Intriguing?”

  1. Ron

    How is this any different than when Woodson played Crawford with Joe, Josh, Horford and either Collins/Zaza? McGrady is nowhere near the player he used to be so I dont see where the Hawks pick up much of an advantage. Crawford was way more dangerous than McGrady is now plus McGrady is injury-prone. They should have dropped Joe and kept Crawford, at least Jamaal produced last year.

    • wind

      hi guys, I think most of you don`t know what tmac is? If you check out the games of last year when he was in detroit very serious, you will probablly change your opnion. Hawks needs him bring more expirence to help this team. Someone said tmac was broken, but that depends on what will he be in the future. He will mostly not in the lineup, but he will be after a couple of games.

    • Hawksfan101

      Jamal was where he needed to be last year and that’s as a sixth man. He doesn’t do good as a starter and most people is right about the hawks paying him too much money. He’s a great player don’t get me wrong and I like him but you got to be on drugs to say we should have traded Joe and kept Jamal. Joe is a way more mature player than Jamal and Jamal gets in these habits where he like to ball hog and take crazy shots. He’s a scorer not playmaker and we have plenty of scorers, but we need more playmakers which is why T-mac, stackhouse, and Vladimir should fit in well.

  2. HawksFan1987

    Come on Ron… let’s not make vague statements about productivity. Looking at the numbers, Jamal produced much less than Joe:
    Joe – 18.2 ppg, 4.7 apg, 4 rpg, 44% FG
    Jamal – 14.2 ppg, 3.2 apg, 1.7 rpg, 42% FG
    AND Joe plays MUCH BETTER defense.

    T-Mac wasn’t a replacement for Jamal, he was a bargain bin pickup. Jamal made 10.8 million last year… T-Mac will make 1.4 million… it is comparing apples and oranges.

    • Praim Persaud

      I am an new HAWKS fan and its as a result of TMac – I have watched all of his games from Orlando to now – my only comment to what you just said – you will eat those words and will also become a TMac fan – I promise you that – he is healthier and stronger and the MENTAL issue of dealing with his keen has been resolved and once he has come to grips with that – watch out – TMac will be back – so lets sit back and enjoy the show man :):)

      • tony

        I won’t comment on TMac and Radmanovic until I see them play. I hope they will bring some positive energy because the hawks are a very immuture team. It’s time for someone to come in and teach them how to be professional basketball players.

      • dowio

        yeah,, t-mac will surprise them all,, watch out for t-mac’s comeback

      • Vic

        Yeah! TMac is my favorite player in the NBA (actually top five, that is more like it). He WILLLL MAKE A DIFFERNCE I Tell u crappy pants. I is gonna kick butT. But, my only problem is Vladmir. Why the heck place him in the staring lineup?

      • trippy_man

        Best response I have seen completely agree with u

      • No. 1

        I’m also a new Hawks fanbecause of T-Mac. I’ve watched pretty much every game he has played the last 4-5 years. He is the only reason I sit up all night here in europe to watch basketball. He was way better last year than people who just read stats think. And if it’s true that he is even more healthy now, this season should be a lot of fun.

  3. Daniel

    No way Horford is 6’10. He said on the radio he’s closer to 6’8 and when he and Noah stood next to each other in the playoffs, Noah (6’11) was clearly ~3 inches taller. But he has still done a very good job as C and he’s an amazing PF.

    If Johnson’s elbow is fine, T-Mac’s knees hold up and can play a lesser role, and Radmanovic plays like he did with the Lakers, this line-up could be interesting. Yes there’s a lot of “if’s” but I can see all that being possible. Heck, there’s a lot of uncertainties with the Hawks team but there sure as heck is a ton of potential.

  4. tony

    I have no idea what to expect from this team since JC is no longer a member. He was the only player who could get his shot off either from the perimeter or in the lanes.

    I’m one who believes that JT is not a true pointguard but last season he has convince me that he has the potential to become one. I believe JT is the answer for the hawks this season and beyond if they(JJ/JS)don’t take the ball out of his hands. I have zero faith in JJ, JS and MW – so if Teague is not the answer, the hawks are DOOM! That’s the way I see it. JC was my favorite hawk and I will miss him. I wish you well JC.

  5. Jon Newberry

    Sorry if I wasn’t more clear in the post… This is just a lineup to use at times during the course of a game. I’m definitely not suggesting this would be a starting 5.

    All indications are that LD will use the Teague/Johnson/Marvin/Smith/Horford lineup for most games… probably switching out Marvin in favor of Collins when they play Dwight.

    • Karim

      That was clear in your blog and is clear from the line-ups coach has used from the past. No need for you to apologize. It is an interesting line-up, especially considering that the east has actually gotten a little smaller this season.
      T-Mac knows he’s not a starter. That fact all by itself makes the difference: we’ve got a proven scorer who wants to work hard from off the bench.
      I’d like to see that last starting five you mentioned more often with tmac, jj, marvin, smoove and zaza as a second squad and teague, tmac, marvin, horford and collins as the third squad.

    • Hawksfan101

      Yes your blog was well understood, its just most idiots get on here and skim through these blogs and not read correctly. I like the idea of that big line-up through some point of the games and it could be useful on both sides of the court. There’s no doubt that if everyone stays healthy the hawks should do much better than last year. I’m stoked and super pumped about this season. LET’S GO HAWKS!

  6. Adrian1987

    Lets be real ok… Marvin has not produced since he was drafted…#1 Why would you draft a 6th man in college… I think they should go with the teague, johnson, sy, smith, horford(switching sy for collins when playen dwight howard… Teague showed me something last year in the playoffs against the bulls… Johnson needs to produce, plain and simple… The back rotatio should be, hinrinch:pg, stackhouse and mcgrady:sg, sy and williams:sf, radmonavich:pf, pachullia:c….

  7. Hawksads

    Okay, I think these are McGrady/Johnson/Radmanovic/Horford/Collins TRUE Hieghts w/o and w/shoes:

    McGrady: 6’6.5″ – 6’8″?
    Johnson: 6’6.75″ – 6’8.25″
    Radmanovic: 6’9″? – 6’10”
    Horford: 6’8.75″ – 6’9.75″
    Collins: 6’10.25″ – 6’11.5″


    I’m not sure if Larry Drew will use the lineup in the article, but I think this is how I would WANT the depth chart to look like for the guys under contract (I haven’t seen many of the guys play yet, so I’m unsure about Center,all I know is Williams shouldn’t be in starting 5):

    G Teague/Sloan(Signed 1-year non-guarenteed contract)/Hinrich(INJ)
    G Johnson/McGrady/Stackhouse
    F Smith/Williams/Sy(Highly doubt they’ll use him as PG)
    F Horford/Radmanovic(I think he should play PF)/Rolle
    C Pachulia/Collins/Benson

    Knowing the Hawks, they’ll probably release PG Donald Sloan.

  8. Adrian1987

    Josh Smith came outta highschool and has improved his game in someway every year……on second thought starting lineup should be teague, johnson, mcgrady, smith, horford……if mcgrady is back, johnson will be a solid #2 scorer….smith and horford are the future and foundation…they are both versatile at their position….teague can drive and push the ball….crawford won games for us but he also lost one…he jacked up more questionable shots than j smoove…

  9. dowio

    t-mac is a proven scorer,, let’s give him a chance to prove it again,, and surprise all the fans

  10. rob.

    pg JT
    sg JJ
    sf JM
    pf AH
    c JC
    thats the lineup DREW hope u can read this! MARVIN WILLIAM (OUT)

  11. LEA

    that lineup may be big but it is absolutely horrible defensively.. No way Smoove will be out of the game at the end for Rad..

  12. tony

    After observing the lineup that Jon Newberry has assembled with the exception of Radmanovic, I really like it. I would add JS to his list because he is a very good defender and rebounder.

    With T-Mac running the point, JJ and JS will be reluctant to take the ball out of his hands and this will reduce their turnover margin. Just from a maturity standpoint I think that lineup makes more sense than the old lineup.

    PG – T-Mac………….J-Teague
    SG – J-Johnson………K-Hinrich
    SF – J-Smith………..M-William
    PF – A-Horford………Radmanovic
    C -__J-Collins………Z-Pachulia

  13. brian

    why did they sign Vladimir Radmanovic. T-Mac i taught this was a decent replacement for jamal.

  14. david laguna

    This should Be ATL Hawks line up

    PG – T-mac PPG 15.5, 5.0, 6.5>>>>>
    SG – J Johnson PPG 23.0, 5.5, 5.0>>>>>
    SF – M Williams PPG 10.0, 6.5, 2.0>>>>>(Rounded up Prediction)
    PF – J Smith PPG 16.0, 7.5, 1.5>>>>>
    C – Al Horford PPG 18.0, 9.0, 1.0>>>>>
    You will have a balances lineup because of the Pf position not being a natural PF. Now you have More rebounding at the PG position to back up the PF position in that category.

  15. david laguna

    Starters will avg about 82 ppg the bench 16 – 20. team will avg 98- 100. Al Horford will love playing with t-mac at the point He’s accustomed to playing with big mans like charles okley, Patrick ewing, yao ming, Greg monroe(in which he made a better player in his rookie yr last yr)- Yao mings numbers went up after t-mac joined the rockets in 04-05 & greg monroe was recognized because of the Set ups & plays t-mac drew up for him.

  16. tony

    This is going to be an interesting season because the hawks did not become a playoff team(37-44) until Mike Bibby was traded to the hawks after mid season and then they became an above .500 team the following season. They won over 50 games the year JC became a hawk and they stayed above .500 the following season.

    Now that Mike Bibby and Jamaal Crawford are no longer a member of the hawks, I’m wondering which player on the current roster will prevent them from slipping back too a below .500 team? I don’t trust JJ because the hawks were way under .500 in his first 3 seasons as a hawk. I’m hoping T-Mac will fill that void but if not this team could have a bad season.

  17. John

    Hey Atlanta fans …

    I think Atlanta will have no problems in entering the playoffs but at 5th or maybe 6th spot. Miami and Chicago will battle for 1st and 2nd ranking and I think the Knicks by adding Tyson Chandler will have the 3rd spot. Can Atlanta make it to 4th spot ??? That is the realistic question here. The Celtics aren;t what they used to be, the Magic are a big question mark as how they gonna play this year with the whole trading Dwight Howard scenario and there is a strong upcomer in the Pacers who added PF David West.

    Now the Hawks lost Jamal Crawford so now others have to pitch in. But for me key is going to be defence this year. If the team doesn’t allow more than 90-95 ppg the yshould do fine. I mean Joe can score Al can score and u have still have Josh. Hinrich is a good fit especially on defence and has a nice shot. I think PG Jeff Teague is going to be man to watch this year and I hope they keep PF Josh Powell the guy has some talent. So can T-Mac help out like Jamal ?? No, of course not and fans shouldn’t expect that. But as a whole there is too much talent on this team to start worrying so much. Again for me key is going to be defence. Good luck u Hawks !

  18. tony

    Any1 who watch the hawks play should know by now that their defense has always been their strength and the offense has always been their weakness since 1998. A stagnant offense cannot compete against Chicago, Lakers, Miami, NYN, OK, Dallas and now LAC. Mike Bibby and Jamaal Crawford brought stability to the hawks offense but they’re no longer a member of the team. For some reason JJ, JS and AH will not allow KH to run the offense. For that reason I don’t think Kirk can help them offensively. Like I mentioned in my last post-if T-Mac isn’t the answer, I think the hawks are in for a short depressing season.

  19. dowio

    pls give t-mac an opportunity and chance to prove his critics wrong,, he worked a lot,, practice a lot,, he strive hard to be in form again

  20. shawn

    Well said tony,iT is funny as a player get injured he is finished in the eyes of the critics, while others just love to talk,T-Mac has bounced around the past few seasons as teams are so quick to let go and afraid to spend money,t-mac just needs a chance to prove him self,look at t mac detroit tape he could be scary, if he is injury free,all the teams that were reluctant to sign him will be sorry, real steal atl keep t mac….as far as big lineup this team needs a true big man,thats the key to this team being a very solid one, peace!!!!

  21. Vic

    OMG i forgot. YEAH! What the hell happened to J-Smoove!!!