Hawks coach Larry Drew talking to Josh Smith
It might be difficult, and even completely irrational, to fire a coach based on a single game.
For those of you who were likely watching the highlight-filled Thunder-Heat game, let me give you a quick summary:
The entire game was the epitome of what is wrong with this year's Hawks team.
In all honesty, the first quarter was great. The Hawks had the lead, they were trying to get the ball inside and Hawks coach Larry Drew even pulled Josh Smith out of the game when he couldn't get a shot to fall.
Per ESPN's Daily Dime Live, I even said, "Larry Drew needs to bench Smoove."
When it actually happened, I was astonished: "When I said LD needed to bench Smoove, I didn't actually think he would do it. Maybe Drew is learning how to be a good coach."
And, it was all downhill from there.
The team starting settling for jump shots, played most of the second half without a true point guard on the floor and, most importantly, Larry Drew was straight up out-coached.
The Nuggets ran the same exact play for the entirety of the fourth quarter and the Hawks made no changes to stop it.
Jamal Crawford, who is NOT a point guard, couldn't keep up with the quickness of the Denver guards, but he stayed on the floor running the point anyways. Al Horford, who was guarded by a more than capable Nene, only took five shots and hardly got any touches in the fourth quarter.
Meanwhile, Joe Johnson was trying to channel his magic from the previous game by shooting while triple-teamed, passing up an open Horford to throw up the fade-away brick.
I have already written why getting Horford the ball should be vital, so I won't get too much into that here.
To put the final nail in the coffin: Zaza Pachulia was the team's leading scorer with 19. When Zaza is the only person on your team that can score, you are probably not going to win that game.
Once again, this was a very winnable game. The Hawks played great in the first and even had it down to three in the fourth, but they couldn't stop that same play and they let JR Smith go off—ouch.
All of this comes down to coaching.
On paper, this team is better than the one that won 53 games last year. However, with 14 games still remaining, Atlanta already has as many losses as it did last year and the schedule dictates that they will be looking at more.
The Hawks have become a jump shooting team in a league where jump shooting teams don't win championships. When Coach Drew comes out after every game and says, "We settled for too many jumpers," yet nothing is done about it, then you know it is time to part ways.
This team has become too complacent and is either a) not listening to its coach or b) the coach isn't coaching effectively.
I know it is Drew's first year as a head coach. However, if the team fired Woodson after progressing for six straight years, then it needs to do the same to the coach that allowed the team to take three steps back in one year.
As a dedicated Hawks fan, it hurts to acknowledge that this team will lose in the first round.
But it won't be because they don't have the talent; it will be because they lack the coach that knows how to properly use this team's talents.