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The Enemies List: Atlanta, Part I

 

Before every playoff series this season, we’re going to do some rundowns on the opposing roster for each team. We’re starting with the Hawks, but hopefully we’ll do a lot more! Players are listed in alphabetical order.

Jason Collins, starting/backup C: With Zaza Pachulia potentially out with a foot injury for the beginning of the playoffs, Collins could easily start Game 1, which would be a relief for Udonis Haslem because then he wouldn’t be the worst starting center on a playoff team anymore. Collins is 33, his elbow’s all messed up, and he took 25 shots this season and missed 19 of them. As a center. As long as Collins is in the game, KG is going to be able to roam on defense like he’s on a T-Mobile Unlimited Plan.

Collins is not an awful defender. You may remember that Collins guarded Dwight Howard pretty effectively in their justly underrated first-round playoff matchup last year. He’s big and chunky and swallows other big, chunky guys. But KG is not his ideal matchup. KG isn’t trying to back anyone down. He’s trying to pick-and-pop and dink 5-foot fadeaways off the backboard. KG is hugely important in every series, but especially this one, because he’s got the most exploitable matchup on both ends.

I learned today that Collins was backed up by Jason Segel in high school at Harvard-Westlake in LA. I’ve never been sure about how I feel about him (Segel, not Collins, who I am sure I am indifferent to). But I watched The Muppets on a plane two days ago and enjoyed myself. Solid. These scouting reports are off to a good start.

Erick Dampier: The only center in basketball less efficient than Jason Collins. 77 minutes, eight shots, one field goal. His family must be at least a little hurt at how passionately Dampier is refusing to just retire and be with them. This is unrelated but: does everyone agree that nobody really referred of a “contract year” as a thing until Erick Dampier’s 2003-2004 season? Like, that Dampier basically invented the term? I’ve had a few short, uninspired arguments about this that I would like to settle.

Willie Green, backup SG: Green is part of Atlanta’s widespread NBA Cares project to accumulate all the players in the NBA that make people say, “Oh, I remember him. Didn’t realize he was playing for them.” Green’s maybe the first case where this strategy actually worked. Green’s a pretty traditional three-point gunner off the bench, but he’s boosted his percentage for his only marketable skill by ten points this season. This probably has something to do with his shot selection, which was historically awful in Philly when he was starting and playing big minutes, sometimes even running the point to everyone’s confusion. So he can shoot, but he certainly won’t give Ray much trouble on defense, and Ray won’t find guarding him to be super complicated.

Kirk Hinrich, starting SG: Kirk Hinrich is a natural point guard. He’d rather pass than score, and he’s traditionally had a superb turnover rate for his position. Naturally, the Hawks have chosen to start him at shooting guard, even though A) he can’t shoot, B) his skills complement Jeff Teague’s not one bit, and C) shooting guard is the natural position of the team’s highest-paid player.

As you might expect, Kirk Hinrich is not having a great season. Ten points off his three-point shooting percentage were stolen by Willie Green. His shoulder continues to be completely janky. And today Tony Parker committed to UCLA over Kansas, continuing a lackluster year for Jayhawk recruiting.

Hinrich is traditionally a solid defender, especially known for keeping up with rotations. That’s the thing that primarily justifies his starting at the 2: Larry Drew probably thought he and Jeff Teague would be a nasty combo for the other team’s scoring guards. But Hinrich looks very, very old and slow this year. Maybe it’s the stink of his Wizards uniform still lingering. In any case, I’m not concerned about him keeping up with Bradley’s baseline cuts, let alone Rondo’s anything.

Al Horford: Al decided not to participate in the NBA this season because he felt his position as a scout for the Sprite “Uncontainable Game” initiative was too important. As you know, Sprite is personally sending the not-at-all-weird-or-arbitrary scouting team of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Omri Casspi, Serge Ibaka, Andrea Bargnani, and Horford to every basketball court in the world to discover “the world’s most creative undiscovered ballers on the planet.” The scouts are split into teams that are named, in another marketing decision that totally makes sense and is explicable, “Team Intense” and “Team Sudden.” Seems like something that could have waited until the end of the season, his decision though.

  • CsFanInArkansas

    Is there a reason the post covers only a part of the Hawks roster??

    • CsFanInArkansas

      Ah – "Part I" – got it.

    • janos

      Hi Fan
      was hard see Part 1 hiding , on headline, bold
      just joke my friend

      • nfrench88

        the king has spoken

  • IBleedGreen

    "shooting guard is the natural position of the team’s highest-paid player"
    Where did you get this from? I can only think of a few teams that have the SG as the highest paid player…Lakers (Bryant), Hawks (Johnson), Bucks (Ellis). There maybe a couple other teams, but definitely not too many. Point guards and centers are more important in today's games.

    • Sean

      I'm pretty sure he was saying that the starting sg for the Hawks SHOULD be Joe as it matches his skill set much better.

      That's how I read it at least

    • Josh

      Ya dude. Hayes totally meant that for this SPECIFIC Hawks team, that their highest paid player (Joe Johnson) should be the shooting guard.

    • jamie

      That's not what it means. It means their best player (johnson) is really a shooting guard so they have weakened themselves at 2 positions by having Hinrich start and JJ play the 3.

  • janos

    HI Haynes, is Janos
    I am very excite, playoffs.
    Are you excite ?
    Thank you post on player, opose. Very help me, a lot ! These guy all bum, even next post, starter, be more bum. I predict Celtics NBA, 5 game. Rondos series Mvp. Average 14-14-9

  • CG12

    An entirely anecdotal thought, with no support from the numbers – Pachulia seems to give the Cs more trouble than Horford. He is one of those really big, energetic guys who just crushes the Cs on the glass. Horford is very good, but he doesn't play with that same edge, likes to shoot jumpers, etc., all things that play better into how the Celts prefer to play. Sooo, I'm thinking the less Pachulia and the more Horford, the better. I would, of course, ultimately prefer that neither of them play.

    • The Cardinal

      I agree. I'm also hope that Joe Johnson, who just kills them, continues at the 3 vs. the 2 because that means Marvin Williams, who also kills them, will play for fewer minutes than he would otherwise (unless Larry Drew figures out that Williams in the lineup is a much tougher match up for PP).

  • ElRoz

    So…just wondering…is Ray Allen going to go out like that? Limping and not appearing in payoffs?…not the best way to go out your last season as a Celtic…..

    • skeeds

      Dude, what's with the pessimism? Relaaax, the playoffs haven't even started yet.

      Yes, it's possible that Ray doesn't make a recovery soon enough. It's also possible that he signs elsewhere, or retires, next season. Shit happens, even the best of them often go out without a bang. (like Shaq for example)

      Still, it's equally likely Ray manages to play through the injury for now, has a minor surgery in the offseason and comes back in September, on a 3 year deal as the ideal gunner off the bench, and retires a Celtic legend like he rightfully deserves.

      So I'm going with the 2nd option

      • ElRoz

        ok….but after 2009 KG and 2011 Shaq, I'm jumpy….

        at least I hope Pietrus can recover, if Ray cannot play, Dooling and Pietrus will play off the bench – probably will be a better defensive team that way…but the offense needs his shooting.

        As for the pessimism, Doc said several times that he is getting worried about Ray's condition. Boston started w/o Green, lost Wilcox and JO,…now Ray: what;'s the error margin now for this team? 0.

        • skeeds

          I know… and bone spurs are never a good diagnosis. But nevertheless, I won't stress.

          I had such low expectations for this team when the season started, then lower after all those trades fell through, then lower at the allstar break, then lower yet…
          Right now I feel like I'm on a free ride. Whatever happens happens. Our guys are already running on pure stubbornness anyway. It seems that the more guys go down, the better the others get. So if Ray doesn't make it (god forbid), chances we'll win a championship!

  • Tha_Curtlandish

    Lol Janos is my favorite commenter ever, obviously, but this guy can't be real, can he? "I am very excite" … That's Borat, bro!

    • ozcelts

      I only know one language- English- so I figure Janos is smarter than me

      My Big 5:

      PP- KG- Ray- Rondo- Janos

      • janos

        Hi Curt, Oz, is Janos
        Thank you, complement. Is not first time somebody call Borat, me. I like have his money better , sure. if they need do part 2, give me call agent ok?

        Celtics win even that 5 on court, against hawk .

        • Sophomore

          Borat is … the most interesting man alive!

          • Sophomore

            Dang. I meant Janos! Janos is much more interesting than Borat!!

        • Tha_Curtlandish

          I like that idea very much, Janos. In part 2 — instead of how Borat was a news correspondent learning about life and culture in America — you'd obviously just play a sports correspondent learning about professional basketball. Let's get Hollywood on the phone! This idea can't miss, Janos!!!

  • Los

    He’s saying shooting guard is the natural position of the teams highest paid player, which is Joe Johnson

  • yeah

    Loving the close-ups

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