Niesha Butler: Where’s The Love Atlanta??
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With Kobe Bryant having to take his own mother to court, with Lebron James getting the MVP award 4 out of 5 years and as Magic said it “He aint in no commercials”, and now with rumors swirling around Larry Drew concerning his job security with the Atlanta Hawks, Im wondering where is the love in basketball.
Ok like all love stories there is a history so let me break it down quickly.
I do not know all of the details concerning the Black Mamba and his Black mama but we probably could all agree that this seems like a familial problem that should be handled between a mother and her son not in litigation, and we could probably all agree that Lebron James is not worried or lacking endorsement opportunities so lets focus on Larry Drew.
Larry Drew took over as Head Coach of the Atlanta Hawks in 2010-2011 season.
He followed Mike Woodson, who had the previous year got swept by the Orlando Magic, by an average of 22 points.
So long story short management wanted to go in another direction and started to look for another coach who didn’t have an offense that was based on isolating one player to go one one. Enter Larry Drew. Because Larry Drew, who although was a first round draft pick in the nba and was an assistant coach for a few years, but had no experience as a head coach, atlanta got him at a bargain price.
With no ego about being the lowest paid coach in the nba, LD went to work. He took flight, as he made the playoffs all three years even though he lost Al Horford during the 2011-12 year with a season ending shoulder surgery, and not having one All Star during the 2012-13 season.
Apparently trading one all star for another all star was not a sentiment Hawks management held close to their heart as they traded All Star gaurd Joe Johnson for Deshawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams, Johan Petro and Anthony Morrow. But I get it Mr. GM Danny Ferry. In trading Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams you got rid of the two most onerous contracts on the Hawks roster, but must you get rid of the coach too??
The coach who is the second fastest in Hawks history to reach 100 wins behind hall of famer Lenny Wilkins, the coach who the organization had given 3 different rosters and still made the playoffs each year, the coach who even garnered Eastern Conference coach of the month in December. I mean Danny Ferry, Atlanta, basketball gods, WHERE IS THE LOVE???
I know where love is, its in the city of New Orleans where they have named a grown men’s basketball team “the pelicans” and gave Monty Williams a four year contract extension which he even stated was “worth more than I deserve” in terms of money.
They didn’t reach the playoffs any of the years he was coach but management although he has not turned the team into a contender was impressed with his knowledge, attitude and loyalty.
I figured maybe because I got hired and started covering the Hawks mid season I was missing something. Did Larry Drew not show the Hawks organization solid knowledge by adapting a style of play that had the Hawks finishing 2nd in the NBA in assist (1st in the Eastern conference), or a good attitude by dealing with a “max player” who may have had some maturity issues or loyalty by wanting to stay if both parties could work out a deal that would not be so one sided as his first steal of a deal, I mean contract?
The inner workings of keeping a head coach varies form team to team but even if Larry Drew does not re sign, who would they get? We saw how well firing a coach only to replace him with a parallel hire fared in los angeles. If the Hawks organization can barely get players who have homes and family in Atlanta to come play in Atlanta and can barely sell out playoff games in Atlanta it could be said that it would be impossible for management to get Phil Jackson to come coach in atlanta or any other high profile coach for that matter.
Why not keep Larry Drew in Atlanta?
Why not love the one you’re with?