Hawks Fans: What will Larry Drew’s system reveal?

The Atlanta Hawks training camp begins Tuesday, which means the heralded (or unheralded, depending on how you see it) Larry Drew shall now ensue. Of course, the full story will not be revealed until the season gets going, and even then we’ll still be abuzz about the playoffs, and the expectations going into them (is it wrong to assume playoffs?).

But first, there is camp, where more shall be revealed than Drew’s offensive philosophy. To begin with, there is the training camp roster, courtesy of Peachtreehoops.com. Originally, the word was that the roster would only include the fourteen players that the Hawks have under contract. However, there have been some few additions that include forward Ricardo Marsh (Old Dominion), guard Richard Delk (Troy), and forward Evan Brock (Alabama). To learn more about these three long shots (don’t look for them to be making the team), click on the link a few sentences above.

In the meantime, let’s look at different elements of the Hawks team and coaching staff, and pontificate on what may or may not come to the surface during training camp.

Coaching Staff

We all know Larry Drew is going to do his thing, installing a new look offense that may finally be what everyone has been talking about, but never saw – the full use of the thoroughbreds in the stable. Everyone who talks about the Hawks ends up using a single adjective to describe them – athletic. Maybe Drew is the man to optimize this attribute. But what about the other guys on his staff?

Who do you feel is going to be the most influential on Drew’s staff? Lester Connor? How about Kenny Gattison? Is Nick Van Exel the proverbial darkhorse?

Connor seems to be the guy tasked with getting this team to defend effectively, something they struggled with a lot last year. Getting these guys to play good individual and good team defense would be the key here. He has two very solid defenders in Joe Johnson and Al Horford, and a dynamic elite-level capable defender in Josh Smith. Marvin Williams is capable of solid defense, but lacks consistency to the point of where even his good defensive showings tend to go largely unnoticed. Mike Bibby is weak on defense, but can do a passable and even reasonable job when his effort level is high. From the bench, there is both potential and question marks. Jeff Teague is quick enough to stay in front of just about everybody, but needs to learn more solid fundamentals, and quit relying on his still-stunning athletic ability to make up for a busted play. Mo Evans can be quite solid when he’s not forced to defend somebody who is too big and long, and when he’s concentrating. Jamal Crawford is a straight up liability, who may never get any better (or he might get a little better, you never know). Zaza gives the effort and succeeds more often by being in the way of an opposing player than anything else. Jason Collins and Etan Thomas are limited to low post banging (but then, isn’t that why we have them?), and the jury is completely out on Josh Powell, Jordan Crawford, and Pape Sy.

So, does Connor have a motley crew, or is there  a lot of potential here? How will he make up for players with deficiencies? Will the defense be his to command in a Tom Thibodeau sort of way, or will he be more Larry Drew’s right hand man on offense?

Kenny Gattison may or may not have an extensive resume, but then neither does Tyrone Hill. Arguably, if both could play the game right now, they’d be tougher than any low post tandem the Hawks have. Toughness begins in the mind. Can Gattison and Hill instill this in the minds of the Hawks big men? Will they make a notable enough difference, or will it be the same ol’, same ‘ol? What about helping to evolve the Hawks big guys’ offensive games? And with Mark Price gone, who will be working with Josh on his jumper and free throws??? Not that Price seemed to be much help when he was here….

Nothing the Hawks do personnel-wise seems to be all that controversial (or that exciting, for that matter). Cue the hiring of former NBA guard Nick Van Exel, and that changed somewhat. Some were elated about this move. Others scoffed. So what’s different about that? Well, it seems that the Hawks are serious about developing guys now. Or at least, the approach is different. Larry Drew has been the point guards/guards coach the whole time Mike Woodson was here, but it didn’t seem to matter much, what with management preferring veteran guards, some of whom were over-the-hill. Larry Drew’s influence with the young guards who were brought in seemed non-existent or insignificant. Some blamed that on the departed Mike Woodson, others used it to question Drew’s coaching capability.

Either way, everybody knows why Van Exel is here. What sort of influence and difference will he make for guys like 2nd year point man Jeff Teague, or rookies Jordan Crawford and Pape Sy?

What about Greg Ballard? Just figured I’d throw his name in there.


Attention, Veterans

Here is where the rubber meets the road. Veteran players usually have revealed what kind of players they will be throughout their career, and defined themselves accordingly. That’s not to say that they can’t add to and refine their games. Just that they’ve pretty much revealed who and what they are. We know what kind of player Joe Johnson is, and has been. Will he turn out to be more of the guy he was in Phoenix, a deadly catch and shoot weapon that can also create his own offense off the dribble? We may look for Al Horford’s game to expand as well, as he hopefully worked on solidifying two or three solid post moves to go along with that 15-18 foot jumper. Word is that Josh Smith has worked on his moves as well, though we’re probably all still worried about that one part of his game -the jumpshot- more than we are anything else.

We also hope that Mike Bibby has lost no confidence in his deadly outside shot, and that he’ll come to camp with a little more spring in his step than we saw from him in the second half of last season. What about Jamal? Will he flourish in a similar way under Drew, or do so in a different way? Will he come close to those Sixth Man of the Year numbers, or will the team not require the same role of him? Is he even going to show up for camp? What of Jason Collins and Etan Thomas? Collins is reportedly a bit lighter on his feet, but none of us knows if Etan can even contribute to the game anymore. Josh Powell? Again, we won’t know until we hear something about him or see him in action. Beyond that, there is only youtube clips here and there, and those just won’t do a lot for you. 

There is one veteran who comes into camp with possibly more questions than anybody else, and this Marvin Williams. Like it or not, he’s now a veteran. Going into his fifth year, all the cliches about development and “turning the corner” are over with. Yes, we’ve hashed this one to death, but the question STILL remains: Can Marvin become the type of  player who deserves to be a member of the starting unit? He was back in 2008-2009, as he was the year before that. But this is a League that doesn’t work off of what you were able to do a couple of years ago. The question is, what can you do NOW? Some people feel Marvin has a lot to prove, and this coaching change will prove whether or not he can, or can’t. Others feel that Al Horford or Josh Smith has a lot to prove. Still others will assert that Joe Johnson, as the league’s highest paid player this last offseason, has more to prove than anybody. Which veteran player do you feel has the most to prove?

The Youngsters

Not a lot is expected of Pape Sy, he of the pedestrian minutes played on a less than powerhouse French team. But head coach Larry Drew saw something in him, and despite what many of us thought would happen, the Hawks actually brought him over. The unprecedented move (for this organization, at least) has sparked some debate about whether it was a good move and an act of support for the head coach in his “inaugural season”, or if it was another less-than-wise financial investment by the Hawks decision-makers. Well, it’s all up to Sy and the coaching staff, and conventional wisdom says it will take some time before we know what we’ve got in Sy. But is conventional wisdom right? While it may be completely unreasonable to expect Sy to crack the rotation this season, might he display some skills that make it hard to not give him minutes? To be continued…

Conventional wisdom also says that Jeff Teague will easily have a more significant impact than Jordan Crawford will. It’s hard to argue against that reasoning, what with JC2 wondering how he’ll even get minutes behind all-star Joe Johnson and the high profile Jamal Crawford. Teague looks to show that he can take the reins of a 50 win team, and as it stands right now, we have no clue just how ready he might be by the beginning of the regular season. The safe bet is that he wins the job maybe by the halfway point of the season. Then again, we might see it happen 20 games into the season. Is there a chance he wins the starting spot for the season opener?

As for JC2, will it take a Jamal Crawford Exodus for us to see his talents on display? Is he as much of a work in progress as a later 1st round pick can expect to be, or are the pre-camp whispers a portent of things to come? It will be interesting to hear how the rookie guard fares against real NBA competition, as opposed to summer league fodder.


It’s all about YOU

What do you think will be the most revealing thing to come out of  training camp this year? Who do you figure worked hardest on their game in the offseason? Which coach might prove to be the most influential? What questions do you have, going into training camp?


125 comments Add your comment


September 24th, 2010
9:23 pm


September 24th, 2010
9:28 pm

The most revealing thing for me will be measuring Teague’s progress. If he’s at all ready it will hugely change the dynamic of the offense. But I can live with Bibby to begin with.

However, if Teague shows himself to NOT be the guy, then trade Jamal for a starting point.


September 24th, 2010
9:32 pm

all good questions. I can’t wait. the hawks have a window. now is the future. go hawks.


September 24th, 2010
9:35 pm

*Yawns* wake me up after training camp tired of Joe and the rest of the guys saying the same stuff over and over every preseason just show it on the court!!


September 24th, 2010
10:40 pm


53 wins, the 3 seed, and the second round. You do realize that all of that happened after preseason was over last year, right?


September 24th, 2010
11:03 pm

Good read Big Ray
Actually the thing i’m looking @ is the relationship w/ LD & the players, as far as, we know coming out the gate everyone is …. ” on board “, but when adversity comes will they trust his system & stay on board. Also, I’d like to see our road play be just as passionate as when we’re @ home.


September 24th, 2010
11:50 pm

Sam Amick: Free agent center Erick Dampier is now considering Houston and Milwaukee, a source tells FanHouse. Bucks only have minimum salary though.”

Ok, with Miami out of the picture. Seem like the Hawks would be a better fit for Dampier than anyway else. What happen the Hawks brass talking to his agent…

Big Ray

September 25th, 2010
12:57 am

2 for John Drew ,

Thank you! I think the adversity thing can’t be answered until the adversity actually comes. These guys have historically been chummy as all get out when things are going well. When things are tough…not so much. Right now, all the Hawks players have to look back on is their consistent habit of coming apart at the seams in the toughest of situations. They need to survive some tough, adverse situations so that they can hang their collective hats on it and say, “Hey, we made it through this, so we can make it through the next tough thing.”

It has to happen. Sooner (regular season) would be better than later (postseason). I think that’s the same reason the Cleveland Cavaliers just couldn’t get it together. They hadn’t faced any reall challenges and survived them. Then, when the challenge came, they eventually fell apart. Of course, we are talking about elite and not-quite-elite comparisons, but the same argument applies.

Big Ray

September 25th, 2010
1:04 am

Melvin ,

LOL. Just give it up, bro’. The Hawks have 14 guys under contract, including a 2nd round European draft pick. I think if they were willing to go for Dampier (and my guess is they never really tried, nor did he ever show any assertive interest in US either), they would have done so. There have been so many situations where it’s said that we are after a free agent that other teams are after. We never seem to get that guy. The guys we get are the ones nobody else is trying to get. Not even for the minimum. Sound bad? I can’t help that part. But last I looked, nobody was clamoring for Jason Collins, Etan Thomas, or Josh Powell…or was I mistaken?

That’s not to say that the guys we got won’t be any help. I think the initial issue with Dampier is that he was owed more money than he’s been worth, and when Charlotte couldn’t find any takers for trade talks, he was bound to be cut or waived. That’s when teams would pounce. Of course, that also happened late in the offseason, which means many teams (like ours) had committed to other avenues (Etan Thomas), choosing not to wait and see how Dampier’s situation unfolded. Fact is, he wasn’t that much in demand. I mean, would you have thought 3 to 5 years ago that Brendan Haywood would get a multi-year deal of significant value before Dampier would find a job? I didn’t. Things change.

After he was waived, I was sure he’d end up in Houston. He still might. I don’t want to see him in Milwaukee…

Big Ray

September 25th, 2010
1:04 am

Sautee ,

I can roll with that idea!


September 25th, 2010
1:22 am

The guys we get are the ones nobody else is trying to get. Not even for the minimum. Sound bad? But last I looked, nobody was clamoring for Jason Collins, Etan Thomas, or Josh Powell…or was I mistaken?

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It’s amusing to me that people still think that most contacts between players and teams get leaked to the press. They don’t, especially for guys who aren’t stars. If there is one phone call from team to player (or vice versa) and the other side shows no interest, it usually ends there and the minimal contact never makes it to the paper because it would be a non-story to everyone but schmucks like us who have nothing better to do than speculate about the free agent negotiations of mediocre players.

Big Ray

September 25th, 2010
4:14 am

Sometimes absence of evidence is also not absence of evidence. It just means you’re looking in the wrong place, or somebody is better at hiding it than you are at finding it. Wait, are we talking about evidence or basketball ops?

I’m such a schmuck. :lol:


September 25th, 2010
5:57 am

Marvin has the most to prove, among the vets. No doubt.
But the guy whose progress is most pivitol, IMHO, is Teague. 2 years of college then one year under Woody where he played with one eye on the bench to see what coach was going to do if and when he made a rookie mistake. Even calling him Rook was an albatross on his neck. Can he shake off this cloak and assume his manhood. Will it be good enough? He needs minutes for us to find out; minutes he didn’t get last year. Yes, a couple of games suggested he can do it. Will he do it on a consistent basis: we just don’t know. So, if he can’t, we have JC1 as a chip for whom we may be able to acquire one.

Powell is a relative unknown, but known as a glue guy. Thomas may or may not still have gas in the tank. They gave him a physical and a workout and he looks fit or they wouldn’t have signed him. Collins, if he has lost weight, can give fouls against Orlando.

I want to see LD let the stallions run, blow out some weaker opponents, and let the bench play some significant minutes. We were lucky last year not to have an injury. One day, we’ll need those deep bench guys to contribute. If they don’t get burn eary, they won’t be there come spring.


September 25th, 2010
6:18 am

big ray:

I see doc’s and my man J-CRIT goes to the BOBCATS training camp. Hope he gets a chance to prove himself. That ankle injury really did him in with GRUNFELD.


September 25th, 2010
6:52 am

big ray …

“Drew has been the point guards/guards coach the whole time Mike Woodson was here, but it didn’t seem to matter much, what with management preferring veteran guards, some of whom were over-the-hill. Larry Drew’s influence with the young guards who were brought in seemed non-existent or insignificant. Some blamed that on the departed Mike Woodson, others used it to question Drew’s coaching capability.”

fella, that says a mouthful right there and kind of scary thought as we saw what kind of impact there has been there over woody’s rein as head coach. who have we put the reins into and what kind of hands? was LD insignificant to the big picture and if so what then did he do that was so important that was executed on the floor and how influential was he really? how did LD come to get the reins to the hawks, anyway? was it his failure to bring up the young guys to woody’s satisfaction?

it will be interesting to see how LD delegates and how his words change once the season starts. LD is now very open, articulate and expansive, three traits never heard or seen from woody. however in the heat of battle will it change?

as far as the pape sy move, did it negate our potential financial flexibility to get a true back up center in dampier? folks, if it did and sy doesnt add up to grains of rice in the end that has been a huge misstep and should be criticized highly to put so much weight on him when he was still property of the hawks and not going to anyone else and clearly not ready for prime time. the time is now, not in two or three years. d leagues are for this stuff not the nba. we all know help is needed in the trenches and powell, etan and collins are not forces to be feared. dampier though not great is certainly a cut or two above these jokers or pretenders. i assure you i would rather have dampier on the bench rather than sy or maybe collins gone and both dampier and sy there if sy has that kind of magic, just doesnt it seem he is a bit old to be a project with very little basketball iq by the nature of his experience level. is he truly that good of an athlete? seems a bit raw to me.

[...] WOW–Evan Brock on Hawks Training Camp Roster His chances of making the team are a long shot, but I still found this really surprising. Hawks Fans: What will Larry Drew’s system reveal? | Atlanta Hawks: Fan Nest [...]


September 25th, 2010
11:17 am


Keep in mind that Jordan, Teague and Sy are all the same age…

Big Ray

September 25th, 2010
12:22 pm

Doc ,

Excellent, excellent points and queries.


September 25th, 2010
12:25 pm

cant wait to see sy to see with my eyes what the big deal is. here is a guy who couldnt play more than what, ten minutes a game for a french league team?

Astro Joe

September 25th, 2010
1:18 pm

How did LD, Jr. play last year at UN? Is there evidence anywhere that Drew is an effective PG coach? I’m glad Van Exel is here to work with the younger guards.

I’ll be interested in how the team’s defense comes together during the pre-season. Assuming that there won’t be too many complicated schemes to learn, they should be able to hit the ground running with the “guard your man or else” concept.

Melvin, playing time may be a consideration for Dampier. Especially if he wants to prove himself worthy of a multi-year deal next summer.

Astro Joe

September 25th, 2010
1:20 pm

Drew, Jr at UNC?


September 25th, 2010
3:48 pm

A guard your man or else concept is the dumbest philosophy ever . All it does is cause squabbling and finger pointing . Its better to come up with a sound TEAM defense that does not involve a bunch of switching .


September 25th, 2010
4:11 pm

If the Hawks were interested in Dampier, it would have served them well to wait on the Ethan and Collins signing. Those 2 players make $2.6 mil, so we could have offered Dampier $2.6 mil.

And I would have preferred Dampier to Collins and Ethan. However, that would have been a HUGE risk, because there is no guarantee that Dampier would have signed with us.

As for camp, I think Lester will have the biggest impact. Our defense was bad last year, and playing better defense should improve our offense as well.


September 25th, 2010
7:39 pm


I think signing Collins was just plan stupid. The guy was never in shape last season and contributed nothing. I don’t mind Ethan, at least we know (or think) we are getting a warrior that will bang in the paint, get rebounds, score a few baskets and play defense without fouling every 30 seconds.

Only reason I mention Dampier b/c I read some where that the Hawks was one of the teams seeking his services but as we know, it was just lip service. Similiar to when it was mention they would go after J O’neal and I spoke to O’neal myself and he told me that he heard nothing from the Hawks.

Big Ray

September 25th, 2010
7:58 pm

Doc ,

Is it Larry Drew’s eye for talent that makes you question this? Can’t blame you, as we have no proof that he knows his craft that well.

At the same time, I wonder why Sy only played 14 mpg on a team that wasn’t all that great. Maybe pg is not really the best position for Sy to play. And if the ball club he came from isn’t that good, is that just about the players? Funny, we are very quick to blame both coaching and management on an NBA team, but apparently the thought never occurs that this might be a similar problem elsewhere….like, uh….France?

Am I saying that Sy is a definite diamond in the rough? Heck no. I just don’t have that kind of eye for talent. But what I did see of him in the summer league games…well, it’s just my opinion…but I say he has more talent and capability now than Mario West ever had. Again, a couple of summer league games is a very small sample, but I watched the way the kid moved. He’s fluid. Nothing mechanical, awkward, or jerky about him. He’s got an NBA body, no doubt about it. I just don’t think he’s a pg. SG or SF, if you ask me. Notice Drew hasn’t said a word yet about what position he should play. I’m intrigued. Not excited, just intrigued.

Big Ray

September 25th, 2010
8:01 pm

Sleepy ,

As I recall, “guard your man or else” was something that Lester Connor preached in the summer league. What happened was the we smart a$$es and cynics decided to run our mouths and loudly assume that this would be Larry Drew’s philosophy in training camp. That doesn’t work with NBA vets who have multi-million dollar contracts. But you can say that to a bunch of summer league participants who aren’t under contract and would dearly love to be.

I very seriously doubt that this is Drew’s (or Connor’s) base philosophy for this team’s defense. However, I do believe that this is what the team captain’s philosophy should be, and what he (or they) should demand from their teammates. Why not?

Big Ray

September 25th, 2010
8:09 pm

O’brien ,

How is it a huge risk? Trying to sign Dampier may have been a daunting task in the way of getting him to agree to such a small contract (comparatively speaking), but to assume that it would have been a risk would be to assume that Collins and Thomas were in demand.

Now before the crystal ball police jump on my case, no, I have no idea that either Collins or Thomas were being courted by other teams. I suspect not, but that is merely my suspicion. All I’m saying is that it’s been quite some time since I’ve felt like we snatched somebody off the market that other teams were truly interested in, and had at least a moderate demand. You could argue that Joe Smith was such a signing last year, but then…we signed him in late August, so how much demand was there for his services? Cleveland probably could have cared less, as he would be well behind the playing rotation with the emergence of JJ Hickson, among other things. Then, we barely used him at all.

Again, I just feel like we nearly always get the dregs. Getting Mo Evans and Flip Murray a couple years back was fairly decent. But that’s the best of the lot. By a long shot.

Astro Joe

September 25th, 2010
8:47 pm

Ray, the last 2 questions/answers from the link below were the genesis of the “guard your man or else” interpretation of Drew’s defense. And I don’t think that this is specific to the Summer League.


Ken Strickland

September 25th, 2010
9:24 pm

I think we’ll use multiple DEF’s, and approaches to playing DEF. We’ll play zone, straight up man to man and switch. It will all depend on who we’re playing and what combination of players we, and/or the opposition have in the gm. Bottom line, our players will have more DEF structure and options to fall back on. No more of the absolute stupidity of our C’S & PF’s above the FT line consistently being forced to defend PG’s and SG’s, or our SG’s and PG’s under the basket trying to defend C’s and PF’s.

Giving Teague more consistent mins will help our OFF and DEF. LDrew knows more about JTeague, as well as his potential and abilities than any on us. He obviously has confidence in his ability to run his OFF and the team. So why are fans so willing to question his ability, considering we have so little knowledge of him, compared to LDrew?

LDrew has been credited with saying all of the right things. Well, if he says all of the right things, that generally means he knows what all of the things that need to be addressed are. If that’s the case, what exactly do you doubters feel will prevent him from successfully doing most, if not all, of the right things he’s talked about?

No NBA team can match our combination of size, speed, quickness, athleticism, talent, depth and versatility. Add expanded and improved coaching, more OFF/DEF structure, accountability, as well as a coming together of all of these attributes, and you have a team to be reckoned with.


September 25th, 2010
9:33 pm

I’m just pumped that we don’t have Alfred E. Neuman designing our defensive schemes anymore. You know, the guy who said “what, me worry?” while the Bucks drew Horford and Josh out to the perimeter on every possession until they were up 3-2.


September 25th, 2010
9:34 pm

ray, i question it because we are expecting a huge leap under any circumstances much less an unheralded player of his status to make any impact. it is a novelty and feel good story only to me at this point.

sorry, to say sy is an upgrade over mario doesnt get it for me and you know it. like saying etan is an upgrade over randmo, just doesnt mean he can play consistent meaningful games in the nba. mario was a freak motor so a fan fav along with being local. cant beat that except to say he deserved his shot but ultimately was limited by his motor too as it caused him as many probs when going at nba speed as it helped.

vava, swears that was woody’s decision to bring him back. not sure where this info came from and dont really care, if so woody and sund both should have been fired immediately by the owners. i think it was maybe owners saying unless thee is a guy who can definitely take us over the top then dont bother to spend our money.


September 25th, 2010
10:31 pm

I agree with Ken S. I think our defense will vary.

The switching defense was very effective at times, but when it wasn’t working, Woody refused to do anything different. So I am pleased to hear Drew say there would be some variation and some flexibility depending on matchups.


September 26th, 2010
5:53 am


Punch no. 2 on the sliding flash applet for a video/telephone piece with Sekou about the Hawks.

Striking fact?

The FoxSports reporter referring to Sekou as STILL working for AJC covering the Hawks.

People and journalists talk about the Hawks as they talk, for instance, about something happening in Europe: it’s like a distant reality of which they only have cursory or outdated knowledge.

That is why they always predict(ed) that the Hawks will(would) fare worse than they will(did):

They haven’t seen them play, they have no idea of their strengths and weaknesses. They only know that the Hawks flunked badly in the playoffs two years in a row.

Well, that is one facet of the Hawks, a marked one (which can be corrected), but only ONE facet.

They don’t know of the rest: that the Hawks have 4 out of 5 starters which are well above average defenders who, although may have not played consistent D together last year, they managed to put it together for crucial stretches during games:

JJ is a very good player not only offensively but also defensively, that Al is also extremely solid both ways, that although regressing Marvin is a solid defensive player, that Josh can break a game open with his energy and help D.

That coupled with Jamal’s instant offense made us a dangerous team, albeit inconsistent in the crunch time due to the switching being exploited and due to a lack of offensive variety.

IF (its a big one, I know) we manage to upgrade defensively at the PG spot with Teague and start to play with more consistency on the defensive end (as we did in 08-09), I think we will have a very solid year.

Enter the Zen-Master referring to the Heat: “I can see that people will favor (Miami),” Jackson said. “I still think basketball is won with defense. The Celtics play defense, and they know how to do it.”

Our offense can always count on JJ to come up with something if the ball movement is not working at a certain stage.

Al and Josh could come back at least a mite better offensively as well.

Jamal can still be counted for to break games open in the second and third quarters (due to his defensive deficiencies I would prefer not to depend on him to close games).

Hopefully Bibby will reinvent himself as a veteran PG off the bench with good floor fundamentals and long distance dialing.

The added muscle and spring with Etan and Powell should complement the physical but nonathletic play of Zaza and help Al battle the few C which give him a hard time.

Mo can be counted for to plug a hole here and there if we have any injuries on the SG and SF slots.

Sy is a question mark but I think that LD saw in him a long armed and athletic perimeter defender to complement Mo’s lack of size off the bench.

Jordan has, IMO, the potential to be the steal of this year’s draft: he is fearless and has the tools to be unstoppable:

Unlimited range and the ability to take it to the rack with authority and creativity. If he gets it together, how can you defend this guy without double teaming him?

Ken Strickland

September 26th, 2010
8:11 am

VALVA/OBRIEN-co-sign your latest posts. The Hawks won’t be the only team with personnel, adjustment, chemistry, and/or coaching issues to deal with this season. Every team in our division, plus the Bucks, Bulls and Celtics, will have the same issues to deal with, to varying degrees. The Bulls are adding 2 new starters, and the Heat will add 3 or maybe 4 new starters, yet the only doubt among our fans seems to be JTeague’s ability to adjust or step up.

As far as what we can expect from EThomas, Pape Sy, JoCrawford and JPowell is concerned, we must remember these guys will be little more than SITUATIONAL SUBSTITIONS. The success of the Hawks won’t be tied to these players. The bulk of our bench production will depend on JaCrawford, ZPachulia, MEvans, MBibby, with JoCrawford being the wild card. So, to make an issue of the expectation of players that were obviously acquired to be little more than situational players makes little sense to me.

WE DO NOT HAVE A ROSTER THAT WILL ALLOW US TO MATCHUP TOE TO TOE WITH THE BIGGER MORE PHYSICAL TEAMS, OR TEAMS WITH DOMINANT PLAYERS. However, we certainly do have a roster that’s geared to play the style of ball, and run the type of OFF and DEF, that HC LDrew intends to use.

Our ultimate advantage, and one we didn’t have in the past, is our complete change in strategy and approach. We will no longer try to fit that square peg in that round hole. We’re now going to flip the script and play our gm, and force that square peg round hole issue on the opposition.


September 26th, 2010
9:11 am

ken, you know chemistry wasnt an issue when kg, allen and pierce got together with a team of extras and a second year point guard in rondo their first year together. didnt they just about run the tables on the first 25 games. great players are great players. maybe the heat will stumble but it wont be past the eighth game. anyway the first two weeks are deceiving as we often see the cream falter, everyone get excited only to see them make a run of 25 out of 30 to blow everyone away. i think the mavs did just that three years back and all of a sudden it looked like they wouldnt ever lose again. please dont think this year will be any different and dont get too excited about it or place all your marbles on such nonsense that it will take these great players a while to gel. they get the point, it isnt a square ball that has to go in a round basket.


September 26th, 2010
9:22 am

btw, bosh, d wade and lebron are seriously a whole lot better than the big three of boston were then. they are in their prime where the other three were a bit long in the tooth as they say and beyond their peak times and still were remarkable even as allen was sluggish and not up to his usual self that year. they also feel they have something to prove so there wont be any complacency or easing up when they get ahead. they will demoralize anyone who will let them like the magic did to us last year. we knew we didnt have a chance and didnt put up a fight. other teams will do the same as the season runs on.


September 26th, 2010
9:25 am


Bosh is extremely soft and a poor defender. A far cry in comparison with KG.

His back to the basket game is also suspect, to say the least.

This gives the Heat a big 3 which is more perimeter oriented than what Boston had/has.

Also, the Heat don’t have a C in the same category as Perkins has been for them. He may not be spectacular but he is tough as nails, a superior and physical defender and a pretty passable low post scorer.

Obviously, Lebron and Wade are on paper much better than Allen and Pierce, however, I am not too sure if their games mesh that well since both require the rock in their hands to be effective.

Boston not only had/have a spectacular big three but also had/have one which had/has complimentary characteristics.


September 26th, 2010
10:25 am


Also, Ray Allen’s D is extremely underrated. Why do you think Kobe struggled so much against them?

Allen may have been off mark with his shot for the second half of the finals but his D was superlative.

Another important factor: Wade, Bosh and Lebron will be living the grand life which Miami Beach implies: mansions, yacht parties, etc… expect them to party a little bit too much and think that it will be walk in the park.

Just like the Cavs will all that posturing, posing and showboating before and during the games, unles Riley is able to harness that talent and put it “at work” and not “in party mode”, they could be headed for a major surprise.

I can’t think of a worse place for an assembly of immature, extremely wealthy, young egomaniac athletes to happen than Miami Beach. Worse than Las Vegas IMO because the variety of distractions is soooo big in comparison.

Just consider this: not only they are in Miami but also they are 40 minutes away from an array of tropical islands where they can go to party wildly, away from the curious eyes of the press, the sun, the “laissez faire” mentality of beach/holiday locations…

Pretty different from being in Boston, an immensely competitive, cold and wet and tight knit environment where sports are sacred…


September 26th, 2010
10:41 am


LeBron has been playing after late nights partying ever since he was a rookie. It doesn’t seem to make him any worse for the wear…yet.

Big Ray

September 26th, 2010
10:44 am

Q. Woodson used switches on defense extensively, in part because of personnel limitations. Do you plan to do the same?

A. I have my philosophies defensively. Certainly every coach in the league does. I am going to implement things that I do believe in, certain coverages.

Q. Can you be more specific?

A. I will say this: I believe in holding every individual accountable defensively. I think players are too good. If you get caught up in too many gimmick defenses. … We weren’t a big gimmick defensive team, but at the same time my philosophy is to hold guys accountable to defend their individual guy.

AJ ,

Point taken.

I personally didn’t get the “guard your man or else” sentiment out of that, which is nothing more than my own personal perspective/opinion. What I got out of it was that Drew and his staff would forgo the gimmicks that hid our defensive deficiencies (but I think also created a personal defensive laziness complex), and encourage guys to get back to the fundamentals of defense. One of those fundamentals is guarding your man. Now, he did say he would install certain coverages (I’m assuming, “as necessary”), but I think it’s a good idea to get back to the basics of solid man-to-man defense.

No example is more glaring than when our switch defense got exploited left and right by Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs….until we went back to man-to-man defense, only switching when it truly benefited us. Just sayin’….


September 26th, 2010
10:52 am

ESPN’s Marc Stein Power Rankings (Hawks 14th spot):

“Don’t expect many Monday debates this season about whether the Hawks belong in East elite chatter. With Joe Johnson getting that massive contract but no help up front, they could slip to sixth in the conference.”

Again, another example of a guy who did not watch Hawks’ games. Yes, we are undersized in the frontcourt, however, that WAS NEVER OUR PROBLEM.

We have one of the most versatile and athletic combos in Josh and Al, two allstars or pre-allstars which game is still developing. Add to them a solid defender in Marvin which is 6′9” and has a 7′2” wingspan, a more than decent C/PF sub in Zaza and three more warm bodies to bang in Powell, Etan and Twin and clearly this is not our problem.

Josh and Al dominated Boozer, dominated in some games and held the fort more than well against Bosh in others (who did nailed us for a last second jumper but when we played without JJ).

No one else in the PF and C positions but Boozer made the move to the Eastern Conference, hence, the only big against we had real trouble was and remains Howard and we all know that the losses against ORL came off the poor perimeter D:

Our main problem was a leaking defensive system with Bibby and Jamal lodging too many minutes at the PG spot being nailed by quick PG’s like Nelson, Jennings, Nate, …

If you want to rate the Hawks as a possible team heading down, pin that on the right problem: the eventual realization that Teague might not cut it.

Not on the bigs! F*cking idiots!

Big Ray

September 26th, 2010
10:53 am

Doc ,

Sounds like your mind is already made up, which is fine, of course. But, my point was that in my own obviously uneducated opinion, Sy has more natural basketball talent than a guy like Mario West. In other words, he doesn’t need that high energy, high motor style of play to make up for the lack of substance.

I don’t expect a lot from Sy, certainly not right away. I just think there is more potential in him than there has been in our feel good story types (like Mario West), our training camp hopefuls (we’ve signed some strange/ineffective ones in the past), and our other European prospects (notice none of the others have come over, including the sweet-shooting Sergei Gladyr). I find it interesting that Drew wanted the guy here. I’m not looking for a savior. Thought I said that maybe 20 times in my initial post…

Ken Strickland

September 26th, 2010
10:58 am

DOC-When you bring up KG, Pierce and Allen, we’re talking about 3 very mature veterans that never exhibited any signs of extreme egotism, and were on the back side of their careers. Although RAllen was a star, he was primarily a perimeter score who never had to dominate the ball or his OFF to be effective. PPierce has always been primarily a perimeter scorer that’s never had to dominate the ball or the OFF to be effective.

KG is on of the most complete big men to ever play the gm, and was always mature beyond his yrs, on and off the court. Their styles blended perfectly, while their maturity and experience allowed them to come together as a team without any problems.

CBosh is no KG, especially on DEF, nor when it comes to being a leader and motivator. LJames demonstrated his lack of maturity by his behavior after losing in the finals, and has continued to demonstrate that lack of maturity, along with a massive ego. DWade seems to be the more balanced of the group, but both he and LeBron have dominated the ball and OFF of every team they’ve played on.

Miami doesn’t have a PG like RRhondo, or anything close, so their isn’t going to be anyone their to take charge and hold things together. Again, why are we so concerned about whether Teague can run our OFF, and yet be ready to automatically anoint Miami the NBA title without the least bit of concern about how their PG is going to hold all of those ego’s in check?

People are expecting 3 dominant players, all with ego’s to varying degrees, all in their prime, to automatically come together and form an unstoppable force without a controlling factor at PG, and without a hitch. We are days from the beginning of training camp, and the Heat haven’t even decided on their starting 5, or who will play what position in some cases. Yet, fans are certain that none of their uncertainty will prevent them from dominating the NBA.

Teams with the most talent don’t usually win out over the most talented teams. Miami definitely is a team with the most talent, but the Hawks have the makings of being the most talented team.

Big Ray

September 26th, 2010
11:02 am

Vava ,

LOL. You gotta stop reading ESPN, my man. They are going to go with the popular sentiment, whether it is truly wrong or truly right, or somewhere in between (and nobody REALLY knows until the season is over, do they?).

It’s true that front line size is somewhat of an issue, but it’s not the gigantic issue that it’s made out to be. The inconsistency comes to light when you consider teams that have more traditional or bigger centers than we do. Indiana has 7′2″ 285 lb Roy Hibbert. So why did they suck? Washington used to have Brendan Haywood, along with Javale McGee and a couple of other sizeable guys. Sure, they beat the Magic in the regular season a few times in the last couple of years, but again….they sucked. Joakim Noah is taller and longer than Horford. We beat the snot out of the Bulls. So many teams have “size”, but aren’t better, period. Aren’t the Celtics bigger? How’d we sweep them in the regular season?

The only real size issue we have in the East centers around one guy: Dwight Howard. And last I looked, he was a problem for everybody.

If you want to rate the Hawks as a possible team heading down, pin that on the right problem: the eventual realization that Teague might not cut it.

I’d pin it on more than that. For one thing, Teague played spare minutes last year and we never got to see him truly in the fire. So we have no clue whether he can cut it or not. The question is how long does “eventually” take? If he struggles in the first half of what will be his first real season, should we lose all hope? And why pin it on just him? What about the fact that we signed Bibby to a 3 year contract, watching him fall off the edge of the planet in the first year of said contract? What about the fact that we left ourselves with no real other options at pg?

I’ll say this much: Jamal might be better off not looking for that extension in the ATL.

Big Ray

September 26th, 2010
11:03 am

Ken ,

I agree. Bosh will never be what KG was in his prime. But on paper, Miami will be the team to beat in the East. On paper, I said. :)


September 26th, 2010
11:04 am


Two things:

one thing is the physical toll and I expect that the partying in Miami will be a lot more intense than in Cleveland… also, Lebron is a force of nature but has played 7 seasons already at maximum level (40mpg, 80g per year + playoffs).

the second is the metal toll that comes with the partying and the consequent lack of mental fortitude necessary to face adversity and rise up. A party goer is never 100% professional, ready and focused to win.

Lebron is basically a brat who first was convinced that he could make it on his own because he was so good, then he thought that his teammates were not good enough and that they were to blame for not winning the big one (only partially true) and now he is convinced that he is in a set up where he can coast a bit since Wade and Bosh will be there to share the responsibilities…

All miss steps from someone who does not really know what is necessary to win.

He may indeed win in this set up just on account of the massive firepower amassed in MIA, but HE is not a winner.


September 26th, 2010
11:11 am


I was talking merely we moving down THIS year due to Teague not cutting it. If you want to, you add “YET” to the end of the sentence.

What really hitches is that ESPN is almost a monopoly and like all monopolies it is in cruise control offering garbage as if it were gourmet.

This was another example of LAZY journalism.

As I said about Chad Ford previously: I accept that they may put a lot of question marks on our coming season, but I don’t accept that they do it as they have been doing: a 100% lazy and lame exercise which implies ZERO thought on what the Hawks are really like and how they can be and what they may eventually be missing.

Ken Strickland

September 26th, 2010
11:14 am

BIG RAY-Woody refused to develop and give consistent mins and attention to our MADE IN AMERICA rookies, so why would our cash strapped owners waste money bringing over players he’d have even more disdain for? I think LDrew sees in Pape Sy what the Hawks thought they saw in BDiaw. LDrew wanted him here so he and his staff can acclimate him to the style of ball they want him to play, groom him into the type of player they think he can be.


September 26th, 2010
11:19 am


I like your optimism but I have little doubt that MIA will win the #1 seed in the East.

The regular season is very forgiving for flawed teams (like the hawks last year).

I doubt, however, that MIA will reach the finals and if they do, that they win the title.


September 26th, 2010
12:24 pm