Even after the whole Michael Vick incident that lingered on the minds and palates of adoring fans. The Falcons franchise was restructured. The team and fans were able to move pass the past. Now the Falcons are reliving a familiar story of one of their beloved players being accused of mistreating a dog.
According to the AJC, 23 year old Prince Shembo has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals.
Shembo’s former girlfriend Denicia Williams called the police on April 19 to report that her former boyfriend had killed her Yorkie, named Dior. She allegedly left Dior with Shembo and when she returned, Dior was unresponsive. Dior died shortly after.
The Falcons released a statement: “We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo. We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo.”
I can do this General Manager thing…..totally
The Hawks didn’t finish the season the way they wanted. That 30-point blowout was far from ideal but might have been the best thing for Atlanta. We have a tendency to ignore reality and ‘ride the wave’ in this city. (Goodbye Josh Smith) The banged up Cavs, leaderless Wizards and geriatric Nets exposed weaknesses, needs and question marks for the Hawks.
- The Hawks were outrebounded throughout the season and playoffs. The Nets and Wiz aren’t very tall and don’t rebound especially well so it didn’t kill you then, but Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov looked like All-NBA big men in that series.
- Outside shooting can be a very mercurial girlfriend. Atlanta relied on the 3-point shot waaaaay too much in the post season. Defense is ratcheted up in the playoffs and it’s more important to get open than to rely on ball swings to create space.
- The ability to play one-on-one defense can’t be overstated. The Hawks needed to be able to stop star players in the playoffs and weren’t able because of injury and lack of athleticism.
- Players usually are what they are. You can’t coach height, speed or toughness, but you can reward IQ and hustle. Atlanta needs to use free agency to fill in the gaps exposed by these playoffs.
Which brings us to roster evaluation:
- Al Horford –Dude is the undisputed leader of this team and managed to play 76 games this year! That’s huge for him. His points were down slightly but his assists were up which is always great for a big man. Al is good on the boards and great at understanding the small things that must be done down low. Horford has developed a respectable face-up game but he has to continue to round that out. Better ball-handling and a more consistent 12-footer would go a long way to making him an elite Power Forward, his true position. Needs a true center to avoid the beat down of a full season at the five.
- Paul Milsap – This guy is a load to handle and throws his weight around better than any other Hawk. His points and rebounds were down slightly but his scoring efficiency was up and his 3-point shot has become less streaky. He’s much more comfortable getting a pass closer to the basket and taking stock of his defender before posting or facing. He’s the most physical player for Atlanta and their best rebounder. His contract is up and he’ll get more than the $9.5 million the Hawks paid this year. Pay him and you’ve got an awesome 3-4 duo, but he could eat up too much cap space to bring in a true center to help inside.
- Jeff Teague – He’s not a pure point guard, but he doesn’t have the size to consistently finish inside. If he can add some bulk and shoot more consistently, Jeff will become a focal point for opposing defenses. Otherwise, he’ll get banged up and only give you 40-50 games a year. His numbers went up in the playoffs but he was on the bench too much late in the game. Teague has got to show more maturity and leadership, he fell for Dellavedova and Wall baiting him into stupid retaliation. The next two seasons will be huge if he wants elite PG money at the end of his contract.
- DeMarre Carroll – The straw that stirs the drink in Atlanta is now a free agent and I think he’s the most important player to re-sign this offseason. Carroll can clamp down on defense and had the strength to finish or draw fouls inside. He isn’t a volume 3-point shooter but hit on 40% from downtown. He also managed over 5 rebounds a game which is impressive at 6-8. His injury was far more impactful than any other in the postseason but he pushed through like a Boss. If he could improve his ball handling a bit he could share guard duties with Teague, allowing Jeff to play off the ball and get free for shots and cuts. DeMarre was a steal at $2.4 million this year but the Hawks need to make him a priority.
- Kyle Korver – He is a sniper, no doubt! Shooting almost 50% from deep during the regular season is impressive…..averaging just 12 points isn’t. At $5.5 million a year, the Hawks need more from him, especially as a veteran and a starter. Kyle’s biggest problem is his inability to get his own shot or make the moves necessary to get open. His lack of athleticism makes him a defensive liability as well. He doesn’t have the skills to guard a 2 and isn’t physical enough to handle 3’s. If he works on his lateral quickness and defense he could keep teams honest when he gets the ball on the perimeter.
- Dennis Schroder – The young German improved in every category, taking advantage of more minutes and the confidence of his team. He rebounds well for a 6-1/165 guard and has a respectable 3pt shot. He still has a tendency to get a little hyped up and turn the ball over. And when defenses make adjustments he’s a little slow to react and attack. Schroder needs to spend time in the weight room and hit the pasta bar this offseason.
- Kent Bazemore – After seeing his minutes grow during the season, Kent found himself watching for much of the early playoffs. Not sure why since he’s a lean, athletic slasher with a defensive intensity to get in opponent’s faces. His shot is improving and he’s a team guy who doesn’t need touches to be happy. Bazemore could stand to sit in on some coaching sessions to increase his understanding of the game. He could also increase his rebounding by boxing out a bit better.
- Pero Antic – At 6-11, 260; you’d think Pero could fill the need for a big man, but he’s not that dude. He generally looks for pick and pop opportunities and occasionally puts the ball on the floor from 10 feet out. But like Korver he’s a liability on defense where true centers draw fouls or simply go over him. He’s got above average footwork but the last thing the Hawks need is another power forward. And yes, he was a bonehead in NYC with Sefalosha. Both of them should be looking for jobs since they don’t bring enough to the table to justify their dumb moves. Atlanta should let him go in free agency.
- Mike Scott – His numbers were down and, as a result, his minutes. He’s athletic enough to create some problems but he’s got to stop launching threes. Continue to pass, rebound and score on the occasional pick and roll…..and justify your $3.3 million contract.
- Shelvin Mack – This guy is intriguing. He’s not the prototypical point guard but he also isn’t the kind of scorer who can play the 2. Once his shoulder heals from surgery he needs to put in some shooting work and improve his quickness. His strength will be needed with the supermodel thin Teague and Schroder so the Hawks need to figure out how to get him minutes. He gets rebounds and can post other guards.
- Mike Muscala – Another interesting prospect for the Hawks, Muscala has shown potential. He makes good decisions with the ball and is able to defend centers with mobility and length. Mike could stand to eat a few donuts and find a little mean streak. He could easily grab 8 rebounds a night off the bench with some technical work.
- Thabo Sefolosha – SMDH! This guy could have helped against LeBron and on the glass as well. He hasn’t lived up to the promise he showed in OKC and his poor decision in NYC (didn’t deserve a beating!) shows he isn’t ready for prime time. He’s definitely not worth $4 million a year. The Hawks will have to eat that contract……cause no one else will.
Homework for the Hawks:
- Coach up the deeper bench players. If you’re committed to the team concept and ball movement then improve your odds by bringing more players into the rotation. Parker, Ginobili, Leonard and Green didn’t start out as stars but Pop coached them up.
- Get a true center so Al can play power forward. If Al Horford is 6-10 then I’m 6-5. I’ve stood face to face and had a conversation with him—he’s not 6-10. Just because you say it doesn’t make it so.
- Variety is the spice of life. Could we not have a roster of 6-6 to 6-8 tweeners who do lots of average things. There’s nothing wrong with specialists who fill roles.
- Figure out why Atlanta doesn’t attract top tier stars. I’m not saying they should get LeBron, Harden, etc but they should be able to bring in All Stars.
There it is…..the blueprint laid out for Danny Ferry and Coach Bud. Just let me know when and where to pick up my check.
Photo CC By Sphilbrick (Own work)
TMZ originally broke the story of Brittany Griner and wife Glory Johnson being slapped with a 7 game suspensions after they were arrested for attacking each other at their AZ home on April 22nd.
Johnson told The Associated Press. “We fought, we hashed it out, we talked it out, we were like, `Did we really just do that?'” Johnson acknowledges the significance of domestic violence. However, she has decided to appeal her suspension.
has maintained she will not appeal the suspension. However her fellow teammates would like her to change her mind and appeal her seven-game suspension.
The question remains: Is the 7-game suspension too harsh?
My answer is No.
Domestic violence is the same for a same sex couple or opposite sex couple. I understand and totally get, “in the heat of passion”but if a argument escalates to a boiling point where blows are being exchanged. Domestic Violence is never acceptable.
The current state of domestic violence in both the NBA & NFL are as followed :
NFL Ray Rice
was released by the Baltimore Ravens
, suspended indefinitely and eventually re-instated to the NFL but he has not returned to the football field.
Thought of the day:
If Brittany and Glory were not two females and were a male and female couple what do you think their punishment would be?
The Chicago Bulls struggled in the post season and was unable to make it to the NBA Finals. Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf
said in a statement. “Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture. To ensure that the Chicago Bulls can continue to grow and succeed, we have decided that a change in the head coaching position is required. Days like today are difficult, but necessary for us to achieve our goals and fulfill our commitments to our fans. I appreciate the contributions that Tom Thibodeau made to the Bulls organization. I have always respected his love of the game and wish him well in the future.”
Bulls fan President Barack Obama chimed in on Twitter, “love thibs and think he did a great job. Sorry to see him go but expect he will be snatched up soon by another team.”
Stehen Curry with his daughter Riley at a press conference after defeating the Rockets.
Stephen Curry helped the Golden State Warriors defeat Houston Rockets 104-90 in the Western Conference Finals. This is the first time the Warriors advance to the NBA Finals since 1974-1975 season.
Warriors will host Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June 4.
Photo CC Derek Kaczmarczyk
Ex Bears Ray McDonald arrested a 2nd time in less than 72 hour. McDonald was arrested in Santa Clara, California for a restraining order violation. Santa Clara police said in a news release. The restraining order violation was from McDonald’s prior arrest for domestic violence and child endangerment charges.
Who would have fathomed the idea that any other conference could possibly have an unfair advantage over the SEC? The conference that won seven national championships in a row is apparently at a disadvantage according to legendary Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
Saban, a four-time national champion and six-time National Coach of the year, gave his thoughts on some of the Big Ten schools’ use of satellites to cover summer camps. To summarize, he didn’t like the idea because he believed it gave those schools a foothold recruiting-wise in the South.
Essentially, he believes the top five conferences in college football: the SEC, Big 12, ACC, Big Ten, and the Pac-12 should all abide by the same rules. This is coming from a multi-millionaire who coaches at a university that has a waterfall!
Why Saban’s argument is flawed
Honestly, the idea of a conference having the same advantages as all the other conferences isn’t terrible at all because that would mean that no conference actually has an advantage – an actual level playing field. However, it is hypocritical for Saban to make that argument when the SEC just oozes with benefits, one of which is the fact that many if not most five-star recruits around the country come from the South (particularly the Southeast) year after year. Coaches in this conference probably don’t need to recruit outside their region because the talent is in their own backyards. Saban could just walk down a street in Tuscaloosa and see a five-star recruit.
Let’s also not forget the fact that last August, the NCAA Division I board of directors voted 16-2 in favor of the Power Five gaining autonomy or the right to set their own rules. Other conferences were allowed to adopt the same rules if they wanted to, but they would have needed Power Five money to pull that off.
It is easy for a coach with Saban’s success and status to say that something the SEC doesn’t have or couldn’t use in recruiting is unfair but I think he is forgetting the bigger picture: this is how recruiting works. College head coaches have to try to sell to potential recruits the idea that their particular university has something to offer that the others don’t. One could even think of them as unofficial salespeople. Bottom line, if roles were reversed and Nick Saban could use satellites to cover Alabama’s summer camps, he would do so in a heartbeat because he knows he would have an advantage, unfair or not, over other universities. College recruiting isn’t meant to be fair or equal. If it were, every university would be able to compete against one another and that would be ridiculous.
Yankees slugger A-Rod, hit his 11th home run of the season and his 665th of his career. He has pass Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig RBI’s total. Alex Rodrigues now has 1,995 RBI which is the most in the American league’s history.
If you watched the game you can’t ignore what you saw. A 30-point loss in an elimination game 4 makes a statement: The Hawks, in their current configuration, can’t ride the Tao of Pop to a championship.
I tweeted before the game last night that the Hawks needed to shoot 50% from the field and erase the rebound margin in order to win. They did neither and got dump-trucked. Shooting 42%, and 15% from three, shows a team that wasn’t able to step up in the moment. They shot a lower field goal percentage and almost 10% lower 3-pt percentage in the playoffs. But that didn’t stop them from launching 3’s like the Dubs. I understand Korver was out for two games, but even when he was in he struggled to get his shot. Al Horford took SIX shots, SIX! Schroder, Bazemore and Mack took more shots than the All Star? Not a winning strategy.
Atlanta also got bum-rushed around the rim. They were out-rebounded by almost 20 last night and grabbed only 7 offensive rebounds. Horford only managed two…..that’s right….2 rebounds. That’s well below his playoff average of almost nine. Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov basically did what they wanted inside. They combined for 30 points, 18 rebounds and 4 blocks and patrolled the paint like they owned it.
I WILL give coach Bud credit for emptying the bench in these last two games and giving of his reserves a shot. He started Bazemore out of necessity but allowed he seemed to take advantage of the opportunity and was all over the floor, challenging every position with reckless abandon and grabbing rebounds. Shelvin Mack was solid at times and completely manic at others. He seems so committed to attacking that he winds up in awkward spots on the court and often has no one to bail him out. Mike Scott is a skilled rebounding forward. Millsap was the only Hawk who outperformed Scott on the boards in this series. I’m not sure why Antic and Schroder didn’t see the court as much, but neither had an impact when they did get in.
All the stats aside, the Hawks just didn’t belong in the discussion for a championship. They scraped by their first two series thanks to age and injury, respectively. And when they ran into a legit contender they got weighed and measured and found lacking. I’ll be the first to get on board with “team” play and the passing/motion offense Atlanta used this season. Nothing is more fun to watch than a defense trying to catch up when the ball is swinging side to side. The Hawks just need to tweak their rotations and invest in more bench players. They ran into the biggest enemy of this type of roster: injuries. But this team has the talent if used properly and HONESTLY. The Cavs shined a light on the level of talent and position deficiencies at Philips Arena.
Now that I’ve established what’s wrong with the Hawks, I promise to only bring solutions moving forward. Stay tuned for how Atlanta gets better……