Running with Zaza

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Keeping Woodson Right Move for Hawks

Once again, Mark Bradley from the AJC is wrong. Rick Sund was correct to not listen to detractors and to give Mike Woodson a new two year contract. Woodson earned the chance to coach this team next year. He has gone through the lowest of the Hawk’s ugly losses these last four years, and he has overcome a huge barrier by getting the team to the playoffs. Here are my top five reasons why Rick Sund (and Mike Gearon and maybe a committee of six people the Hawks’ trainer asked for their opinions while on vacation) made the right decision to keep Mike Woodson:

1. On the “things he can control level”, Mike Woodson has NBA playing and coaching experience and a coaching pedigree. He still is hungry to prove he is a winner. This guy played for Bob Knight and coached with Larry Brown! Listen, Woodson has his faults (he is bad at end of the game X’s and O’s for one--he refused to let Joe Johnson isolate all season until Celtics’ series), but you cannot win in the NBA without talent, period. See, the Celtics’ improvement from last season to this season. Stop focusing on his overall record. It is meaningless.

2. It is not Woodson’s fault that the Hawks did not draft Chris Paul. If Chris Paul were on the Hawks, there would have been 33 sellouts at Philips Arena this year. We would not have Al Horford, but we would have a bona fide NBA superstar. There are only about 11 of these players in the entire NBA. Guys like Chris Paul are on a higher level than Josh Smith, Al Horford, or Joe Johnson. With Chris Paul, the Hawks are a 50 win team in 2007-2008! Billy Knight and Mike Woodson would be signing new contracts over dinner in a private, glass enclosed room at Stats with the Cheetah girls as waitresses.

3. Woodson will have continuity with this roster next year. Make no mistake; having a two year deal is not job security in the NBA. Woodson knows this and the players know this. This keeps Woodson working hard to make the team better next year. There have to be roster changes made, but Woodson has good relationships with the two guys that matter: Joe Johnson and Al Horford. Who cares what his relationship is with my man Zaza or Josh Smith? Players have to play hard, produce, and listen to the coach. Against the Celtics, the Hawks were posting Horford, not Josh Smith, against Garnett with lots of success. That should be enough said about the future of the organization.

4. You cannot blame Woodson for team’s lack of fire. Successful NBA teams are led by passionate players with fire, leadership qualities, and dominant personalities. In this era, think Kobe, Garnett, Duncan, and Nash just to name a few. In past eras, you can look at Jordan, Magic, Bird, and Olajuwon. These guys brought intensity every night. This is not rah-rah, let’s get fired up college bullshit. These kind of guys play hard in games, practice, and in the poker games on the team plane. Does Woodson have anybody that does that? Clearly, no.

5. Coach Woodson has improved the team without any resemblance of good point guard play. It is kind of hard for me to even remember the point guard for the Hawks. The guys who have been starting are back-ups that should play 15-25 minutes a night. Speedy Claxton, Anthony Johnson, Acie Law, Tyronn Lue, Boris Diaw, Kenny Anderson? I mean, if I were choosing for a pick up game today, I would take Kenny Anderson first. That is a major problem and why Billy Knight lost his job. Chris Paul and Deron Williams are NBA All-Stars for the next 5-10 years.


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