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#DwightHoward trade signals beginning of #Hawks2020

21 Jun

Atlanta has traded C Dwight Howard to the Charlotte Hornets just 2 days before the 2017 NBA Draft. Click HERE for the ESPN story.  This means the Hawks are going to launch #Hawks2020 The goal – build a team that can realistically compete for an NBA title by 2020. The Hawks are looking to create a sustainable winner that creates real fan allegiance. They want to develop this a way like ATLUTD soccer and the Falcons.

Have a style of play that is both easy to watch and players easy to root for. The Hawks plan to control their brand from top to bottom.

They are using cutting edge fan engagement to keep fans connected and excited about the team. Great social media, in-game promotions and personalized VIP experience via the Hardwood Club draws upscale millennials and a diverse group of fans to buy in as they move into the future.    Atlanta also looks maximize control of all aspects of player training, development, and health. There is a  90,000 sq ft combined practice and sports science facility in partnership with Emory Healthcare. Soon there will be a brand new D league facility built in College Park less than 20 miles south of Atlanta.

Eventually there will be development of The Gulch area near Philips Arena into a work, live, play development similar to the area around the Battery adjacent to the Braves SunTrust Park.

The Hawks even offer special ticket packages to new Moms with Grady hospital. Pretty soon it might be engineering Hawks fans from birth, and players from High School to the NBA in the Hawks mold.

A kind of Sports genetic engineering. Hmm Atlanta Hawks the first GMO NBA franchise..

Keeping Your Eyes On The Ball (@Lavarbigballer) – Egomaniac or good parenting?

29 May

LAVAR-BALL-20170527-USA-DJM-054-91257832

Is Lavar Ball following in the footsteps of Earl Woods and Richard Williams? Or is he an over the top version of a parent’s ego gone wild trying to grab glory through their child?

The Williams and Woods kids were good, really good. Child prodigies.  Each man had no problem letting you know it.  What we really didn’t understand is how these men were grooming their children to dominate their sports of tennis and golf. Places were African Americans had few champions

Richard Williams was ridiculed when he told the world that his two daughters who he raised in Compton playing on rough public courts nearby, would become the best female tennis players in the world. He was one of the few not surprised when BOTH of his daughters took the tough lessons they learned on those rough city courts and used them to help them become queens of the tennis world. Each taking turns being the dominate player I the sport before Serena’s physical and mental strength would launch her assault on the record books and conversation of being the GOAT.

Earl Woods introduced to his son Tiger to the world at just 3 years old on the Merv Griffin show. Even at that age we saw his ability to take command of the moment with the help of his dad.

Later while he was still an amateur there were bold prediction of PGA Tour greatness was there before he had won a PGA tournament. The marketing hype was there too. Remember the ‘Hello World” press conference?  He already had multiple endorsement deals in his pocket at time of arrival on the Tour much to the irritation of those who had labored for years already. We forget the bold statements of pride by Earl Woods because of his well-spoken demeanor and military background. Plus Tiger’s giant smile, and a confidence that grabbed you and made you a believer.

So is Lavar Ball really that much different than Williams and Woods? Maybe this whole way of acting is part of the plan. Ball knows like Richard Williams and Earl Woods that being great requires more mental toughness than physical talent. The ability to excel while under enormous pressure on the field/court, extreme scrutiny off it.  The huge amount of money and power giving to those that excel in sports is mind boggling. Maybe Lavar Ball is showing his son how to deal with some of these things.  In some ways he lso is acting as a shield for him. Much of the attention has been shifted to his father. No matter what happens now he wins in the public discourse. He doesn’t live up to hype? It’s because of his overbearing father. If he meets or exceeds expectations? Then he is applauded for being able to achieve this in spite of his crazy dad.

Lavar Ball may turn out to be crazy…like a fox

There must be something about Cali that produces these strong African American fathers who are brimming with confidence, and the ability teach their progeny to have it as well.  All this while helping them to understand the additional challenges of doing this while being Black in America.

By Minister Jonathan Simmons

 

#Falcons pick of #TakkaristMcKinley – hubris or just following their hunches?

28 Apr

Takkaist McKinley usa_today_10033656.1493351431
Photo from USA Today on BruinsNation.com

The  2017 NFL draft ‘needs list’ for the Falcons wasn’t too much different from 2015 or 2016. Get a good edge rusher, and shore up the offensive line with players who could play right away. In 2015 the pick was fairly obvious. Pundits and fans alike thought Vic Beasley the standout DE from Clemson had shown the speed and quickness to be a good NFL pass rusher.  Even though he was a bit undersized at only 235 pounds, Atlanta drafted him 6th overall.  He has become one of the NFL’s  best pass rushers , leading the league last year in sacks.

In 2016 however the Falcons started with picks that did not seem to address their needs at all.  1st round pick Keanu Neal was a SAFETY, not an edge rusher. 2nd round pick Deion Jones was fast but was a middle linebacker, and like Vic Beasley a little undersized.  Reaves turned out to be a ‘thumper’ who patrolled the Falcons back-end. and dished out punishment to opposing players at will. Deion was a tackling machine and rookie of the year finalist. Another slam dunk for the Falcons.

So here we are in 2017 and again Atlanta surprises us by picking outside linebacker Takkarist McKinley from UCLA.  McKinley appears to be another ‘DQ’ (Dan Quinn) guy. The All Pac 12 DE/OLB is described by NFL.com as “Relentless worker bee on the field” “…and is always charging towards the ball” However on the other side he is considered to be “raw” and a “little stiff in the lower body” He also is coming off shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum.  He was slotted by some to be a 2nd round pick. Why did the Falcons traded a 3rd round and 7th rounder to move from 25th to 31st pick to get him. In a draft which is supposed to be one of the deepest in history it seems they could have stayed put and still got him. 1st round picks should be impact players on your team right away. The fact the Falcons selected a raw, injured, player with big potential, means  Falcons leadership is convinced they have the coaching system and team culture that allows them to get the most from the players they bring on board.

The rest of the Falcons draft has yet to unfold. But if McKinley plays the way last year’s draft group did, the Falcons could back in the Super Bowl again and got another rising star in Takkarist McKinley press conference bad language notwithstanding.

By Jonathan Simmons

#Hawks must choose style to define team, and win consistently

8 Mar

IHawks Cavs THJ MG_5105

The 2016-17 season started out with great promise  for the #Hawks as they jumped out to a 9-2 start. This opening stretch included back to wins vs the Rockets at home, and the Cavs on the road. Coach Bud seemed to have the perfect  setup. The first team liked to get the ball inside with alley oops to Dwight Howard or sometimes pick and rolls with Paul Millsap. The 2nd unit led by the explosive scoring of Tim Hardaway Jr. and efficiency of Mike Muscala, or Ersan Ilasova  would give Atlanta to change the tempo of the game when needed, and keep the starters fresh.

Since then Atlanta lineups have at time seemed to be tossed together at random. Players seem at times to be ill at ease with one another on the court. The good ball movement which had been a Hawks trademark under Coach Bud, now constantly deteriorates in dribble fests ending in bad passes and missed shots.

They must choose whether they are a primarily a half court team using more pick an drolls  with Millsap and inside out game with Howard. Or play more small ball with Millsap, Ilyasova, and Hardaway running more of an up tempo game.  You can include Dwight Howard in this style too by having him operate as a ‘trigger man’ with outlet passes to ignite fast breaks like Bill Russell did with Celtics, Kareem with the Lakers, and even Tim Duncan late in his career at San Antonio

This team needs an identity if they want to be consistent winners. The question is do they have the will and patience to do it.

#AtlHawks blow last minute lead, lose to #Pacers at home

6 Mar

The #AtlHawks looked like they were on their way to a hard fought victory over the Indiana Pacers. They had a 96-90 lead with less the 2 minutes to go, a 96-94 lead AND the ball with about 30 seconds. But it was all for nought as the Pacers Glenn Robinson III hit a 3 pointer with 0.6 seconds left to give them a stunning 97-96 victory over the Hawks.

This game marked the return of former Hawks PG Jeff Teaugue  for the first time since he had been traded to the Pacers for a second round pick after the 2016 season.

Atlanta took an early 30-19 lead, then Indiana’s All Star G Paul George took over. George scored 24 of his game high 34 in the 1st half to help the Pacers take the lead before Atlanta came back to tie the game at 50 to end the 1st half.

The Hawks continued to have problems with George until they placed Paul Millsap on him in 3rd quarter. He did not score after that. By that time however they had forged a 7 point lead going to the 4th quarter.

The Hawks defense, and the offensive punch by Tim Hardaway, Jr (THJ) finally allowed Atlanta to overtake the Pacers and take a 6 point lead in the clising minutes. That’s when things went horribly wrong.

Paul Millsap has been the Hawks best offensive player all year and over the last 2 months Tim Hardaway Jr has been right behind him. Last night was no different. Millsap had 24 to lead all Hawks, and THJ scored 10 of his 23 in the final period. But when the Hawks looked to seal the win late, both men came up short. AMillsap missed shot, then turnover on consecutive possesion allowed the Pacers to cut the lead to 96-94. Then an ill advised 3 pt attempt by Hardaway set the stage for Robinson’s game winner. (Click here to see video)

This has been a recurring theme for this team. An inability to get consistent clutch baskets/plays from their best players. Until this changes the Atlanta Hawks and their fans will continue to deal with more frustrating losses.

 

Despite loss, #ATLUTD and Arthur Blank big winners in epic opening night

6 Mar

The final score from the pitch at Bobby Dodd stadium on the Ga Tech campus was NY Red Bull 2 Atlanta 1. But in every other way the Atlanta United Football Club (@ATLUTD) inaugural game was a huge success.

The game was a sellout. ‘Fan Village’ set up in front of historic Bobby Stadium was filled with a diverse group of fans in full party mode. Some fans waited as long as an hour to buy their official ATLUTD garb at the store in Atlantic Station. Is that the hum of the money machine we  hear?

Once again the genius of ‘Uncle Arthur’ Blank was displayed in another successful sports business endeavor. Hats off to him and ATLUTD for their smashing debut

(Goal by Yasef Asad pic above – AccessWDUN )

 

Is #Washington WR #JohnRoss fastest ever at #NFLCombine ?

4 Mar

Step aside, Chris Johnson. Possibly. Washington receiver John Ross unofficially ran a 4.22-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine. If that number stands, it becomes the fastest 40 time in the history of the Indianapolis gathering of incoming prospects. Nine years ago, Johnson (who has played running back for the Titans, Jets, and Cardinals) cranked…

Check out this #NFLCombine update from @ProFootballTalk via John Ross sets Combine speed record, unofficially — ProFootballTalk

#Falcons desire to stay aggressive may have cost them 1st #SuperBowl win

7 Feb

Throughout the 2016-17 season Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn’s main theme was that the team would play fast and be aggressive. For the first two and half quarters of Super Bowl 51 it worked to perfection. The upstart Falcons defense sacked Patriots QB Tom Brady and harassed into throwing his 1st playoffs ‘pick 6’ interception. Rookie MLB Deion Jones caused a fumble which led to an Atlanta score. By midway throughout the 3rd quarter the Falcons had a seemingly insurmountable 28-3 lead. At this point the goal should be to use the runn take time off the clock and put points on the board when you have opportunity.

Instead the Falcons coaches continued to the throw the ball and blew two chances inside the Patriots 25 to get a least a field goal. Twice Matt Ryan was sacked. One of those sacks caused a fumble to set a Patriot score. The next a sack and penalty wrecked the other chance to score. If Atlanta had gotten points on either drive they would be Super Bowl champs. Instead they will be considered Sports historical chumps who blew the largest lead in Super Bowl history

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Clemson wins #CFBChampionship in #Epic Game – Repost from @CFTalk

10 Jan

 

In order to be the champions, you had to beat the champions. Mission accomplished for Clemson. A historic rematch for the ages lived up to the hype thanks to a wild and career-defining fourth quarter that saw the Tigers win the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game in dramatic fashion 35-31 over Alabama. The two…

via Rematch revenge! Clemson knocks off Alabama to win the 2017 National Championship Game — CollegeFootballTalk

GT Mens Basketball starts Pastner era in ACC with upset of No.5 #UNC

1 Jan

@GTMBB stuns 9th ranked #UNC 75-63 to start the @GTJoshPastner era with huge #ACC win.

Josh Pastner arrived on the Ga Tech campus in Atlanta to mixed reviews. Some who followed his career at Memphis felt his teams under performed while he was there. Many here in Atlanta however felt the young former Arizona star would bring the energy and youth needed to help revitalize the once storied basketball program.

If the first half of the season is an indicator, the Yellow Jackets may have found their man.  The GT men are 9-4, 1-0 in the ACC after their New Year’s Eve victory over the Tar Heels.  Josh Okogie lead the way with 26 points, and bruising big man Ben Lammers posted a double double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.  Josh Heath and Quentin Jackson also were in double figures with 15 and 11 points respectively.

Click here for Josh Pastner press conference highlight on the Ga Tech page on our website

 

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