Atlanta Hawks: Larry Drew is the choice for coach

Hawks pick Drew to be next coach.

Hawks pick Drew to be next coach.

The Hawks have decided to hire Larry Drew as their next head coach, people with knowledge of the decision said today.

Drew was Atlanta’s lead assistant for six years under Mike Woodson, who was let go last month. Drew and the team are working out the details of a contract this evening and the official announcement of his hiring is expected on Saturday.

Drew, 52, emerged from a group of finalists that also included Avery Johnson, Dwane Casey and Mark Jackson. Once Johnson agreed to coach the Nets early in the week, that left Atlanta’s ownership group and GM Rick Sund to choose from among the other three candidates.

This will be Drew’s first head-coaching job after he’s been an NBA assistant for the the last 14 seasons. He worked for the Lakers, Wizards, Pistons and Nets before joining Woodson’s staff for the 2004-05 season. Drew played 714 games over 10 NBA seasons from 1980-91.

“He’s very experienced, just being around the game,” Hawks guard Jamal Crawford said. “He’s very knowledgeable. I think he is prepared for a lot of different situations.”

When Sund decided not to retain Woodson, he said the team needed “another voice” after the team lost in the second round of the playoffs the last two years. The Hawks apparently decided Drew will have a leadership style distinct from Woodson while also having the advantage of established relationships with players and familiarity with the team’s issues.

“He knows the faults of our teams,” Crawford said. “It’s not like we are a bad team. Now we can continue to build; we don’t have to start over.”

Drew inherits a team that won 53 games next season and, among its core players, has all but Joe Johnson under contract for next season. But he will face some challenges as the Hawks look to break through after getting swept in the second round of the playoffs in consecutive years.

Drew is popular among players but now his role changes from sometimes-confidant to the person in charge of their playing time and involvement in the offense. He also will have to reprimand players for their mistakes while trying to maintain relationships and team chemistry.

“Everything is going to be a first for him,” Crawford said. “But I think it will be a little bit easier transition because he knows our team. He doesn’t have to come in and learn the different personalities, what makes people tick and how to motivate them.”

When the Hawks let Woodson go, among the concerns expressed by players and management was what they considered Woodson’s differing levels of accountability. They said Woodson didn’t rebuke certain players as often as he did others, leading to some resentment in the locker room.

The Hawks also want to move away from an isolation-heavy offensive approach that was influenced by guard Joe Johnson’s playing style. Johnson is eligible to become a free agent next month, and the Hawks still want to re-sign him.

A person with knowledge of Johnson’s plans said he’s still open to returning. But the person said the new coach would have to sell Johnson on relying more on his teammates in the offense and ensure him that locker-room chemistry would improve.

MC

552 comments Add your comment

KevinM

June 11th, 2010
6:45 pm

A lot of guys predicted that here and I wouldn’t have believed it. That doesn’t seem right to me that the best choice available is already on the payroll.
I gotta admit it is consistent with the organization to not make any major changes. We saw that last year resigning Bibby, Marvin and Zaza.
Wow, I am surprised but I shouldn’t be.

N-Trigue

June 11th, 2010
6:45 pm

Jody

June 11th, 2010
6:47 pm

Though I don’t quite understand this, congratulations to Mr. Drew.

My Man Woody

June 11th, 2010
6:48 pm

Worst possible hire, I will be shocked if he has the job in 2 years.

N-Trigue

June 11th, 2010
6:48 pm

Out of the three remaining I’m glad Drew was selected! He definately is an upgrade over Mike Woodson!

freshd

June 11th, 2010
6:49 pm

Enter your comments here

lewis

June 11th, 2010
6:50 pm

I can’t believe that was Sund’s decision.
We’re screwed.

Jim

June 11th, 2010
6:50 pm

Wow! I thought they were waiting on Doc. I hope Mr. Drew will use his bench.

lewis

June 11th, 2010
6:51 pm

on the other hand, hopefully we actually run an offense

Paul

June 11th, 2010
6:52 pm

Atlanta Hawks at there Best.

KevinM

June 11th, 2010
6:52 pm

Looks like Doc will get a chance in a couple of years if he is ready to return after leaving Boston. The luck of the Hawks is that he continues to coach. Oh well, coulda shoulda woulda….

The cheapest way to get this decision done. Congrats and good luck to Coach Drew. I hope his son stays in school for awhile though.

KevinM

June 11th, 2010
6:54 pm

Speaking of a bench, can we put Bibby and Marvin there to strengthen it?

lewis

June 11th, 2010
6:54 pm

larry drew and mo evans
congrats sund

STEEL (Formerly VenomSpitter)

June 11th, 2010
6:55 pm

Good luck. I hope he can become the next Phil Jax.

FYI Phil Jax was the asst to Doug Collins. And ya’ll know the rest.

Lets just cross our fingers that he isn’t anythhing like Woody’s sorry butt.

KevinM

June 11th, 2010
6:57 pm

Well, a lot of said anyone but Woody, so we get what we wished for…I guess the ASG read a bunch of the blogs over the past 3 years!

How much $$ did the ASG waste bringing in these other guys when they knew they couldn’t make a huge decision to ignite this fan base?

freshd

June 11th, 2010
6:57 pm

I think it was a good choice, because they should have named him the head coach when Billy Knight wanted to fire WOODY. I hope he brings that uptempo style of play like the KINGS and LAKERS of the west coast. It was DREW who always coached the HAWKS summer league teams, and I hope Randolph Morris resigns with the hawks because I believe Drew will give him a chance to play.

Clint

June 11th, 2010
6:58 pm

Should have just kept Woody. Isn’t the point of changing coaches to get a better one? Terrible hire. God why can’t the Hawks get a good owner?

lewis

June 11th, 2010
6:59 pm

i know nothing about larry drew
really thought it was going to be casey

can anyone tell me something good about him?

N.D.T.K.A

June 11th, 2010
6:59 pm

Are you kidding? No words to describe the feeling! Simply speechless! Is this the twilight zone? I am still a Hawks fan but this seems crazy, hope Drew does a better job than Woody. Now that I think about it, how could he not do a better job than Woody?

The Truth

June 11th, 2010
7:00 pm

Considering the options, not bad, not bad at all. You can actually call this the safer option. Now we can finally move on.

KevinM

June 11th, 2010
7:01 pm

Lewis, Drew played for the Kings back in the day, the same team Woody spent the bulk of his years. Neither guy fits the mold in that neither had any championship game experience as a player.
Oh yeah, Drew has a PG for the future in place: his son at UNC, Drew II.

Bob Weiss

June 11th, 2010
7:02 pm

Of course it’s Larry Drew.
Way to go…again.

Same goal as the last 30 years: 2nd round of playoffs.

awc

June 11th, 2010
7:03 pm

Larry Drew was the supposed “offensive guru” under Mike Woodson and our offense consisted of 90% isolation plays. Can’t wait for next years mediocrity.

Bob Weiss

June 11th, 2010
7:04 pm

I should say I wasn’t a fan of Mark Jackson anyway, though.
Judging by his playoff announcing, he would try to sign Nate Robinson to a long-term deal and make him his common-law wife (or husband…depending).

JASon

June 11th, 2010
7:04 pm

This is the equivalent of John McCain choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate.

lewis

June 11th, 2010
7:05 pm

Next, we all wonder how ASG manages to hire Larry Drew and give JJ max.

STEEL (Formerly VenomSpitter)

June 11th, 2010
7:06 pm

According to Sekou Smith. Woody didn’t listen to Drew. So take that how u will. Ya’ll know how stubborn woody was.

RealSquawk

June 11th, 2010
7:06 pm

not mad at the decision. form what I heard through the reports here is that he has a very different philosophy and we won’t have to worry about a coach coming in and not knowing player personalities. Now the first thing he needs to do is to establish an authority system, which would have been easier with a high profiled coach, but as long as they are backing him he should be fine.

The Colonel

June 11th, 2010
7:06 pm

This guy was definitely not my top choice, but maybe this will turn into an Alvin Gentry-type situation.

LEA

June 11th, 2010
7:08 pm

I don’t like this at all, and there is nothing they can do to change my mind. They should have just kept Woody instead

JeJe

June 11th, 2010
7:08 pm

LET’S SEE SOME CHANGES

LET’S SEE TEAGUE GET MINUTES AND DEADWEIGHTS DUCK AND BIB GET BENCHED

jgsbrids

June 11th, 2010
7:09 pm

wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this is the best possible guy we could come up with? i hope i’m terribly wrong–but this is a joke! i will admit to saying “anyone but woody.” i sure hope i’m wrong! go hawks–this team better respond now!

Matt

June 11th, 2010
7:10 pm

ASG- “Putting the “EPIC” in Epic Fail since 2005″.

Now I can’t wait to see what kind of crappy coach the pick for the Thrashers. Wow, just WOW.

JMar

June 11th, 2010
7:10 pm

Way to make a splash, Atlanta Spirit. You signed the Mo Evans of potential coaches.

Athenzdawg

June 11th, 2010
7:10 pm

another year of crappy basketball here we come

freshd

June 11th, 2010
7:10 pm

Larry Drew also played and coached for the LAKERS and he was a 1st round draft pick as a point guard. I will take him over Rev. MARK JACKSON. I cant stand another hand down, man down comment, or mama there go that man.

John

June 11th, 2010
7:10 pm

Ok….they fire Woodson who did an ok job, then they bring in his assistant as a head coach?? That makes NO sence, slap in the face to Woodson. Geee you have Phil Jackson, Byran Scott, Jeff Van Gundy…terrible ownership decision…Just sayin!

DawgNDallas

June 11th, 2010
7:11 pm

Marion Campbell, anyone?

Over It

June 11th, 2010
7:11 pm

No disrespect to Mr. Drew, but do they really expect to “get to the next level” with a first time head coach? No they do not. This group obviously is satisfed with with just making the playoffs. Kinda like UGA. As long as they win 10 games and beat Tech they’re happy.
I’m OVER IT!

Stotts Era

June 11th, 2010
7:11 pm

anyone notice this came out on a Friday night so everyone will forget about it by Monday.

This franchise is a damn joke, Micheal Gearon is a joke, I’d rather just have steve belkin take over.

No offense to Larry Drew though, he used to come into my restaurant and get blitzed, pretty ok guy.

STEEL (Formerly VenomSpitter)

June 11th, 2010
7:12 pm

Woody did not do a GOOD job. He was awful. They wouldn’t hire Drew if he was more of the same.

Section 303

June 11th, 2010
7:14 pm

I like it. Glad this is over with.

Still do not understand the people on here who hate the hire already. You don’t know, yet, how this will work out. So, stop acting like you do. Because you don’t.

I am most interested to see how the offense looks. One thing Sekou said about Coach Drew is that his offense is way more sophisticated than Mike Woodson’s. Looking forward to seeing that.

kerpal

June 11th, 2010
7:14 pm

dang I wanted Avery but I wasn’t suprised with this choice. I hope Larry Drew does good job and be more assertive. Plus I hope he uses the bench more and improve teague and williams

Mike Woodson

June 11th, 2010
7:15 pm

Hey Larry, old buddy……Need an assistant coach? I’ll teach the switching D!

STEEL (Formerly VenomSpitter)

June 11th, 2010
7:15 pm

@ Section 303

EXACTLY. Woody did not listen to Drew.

O'Brien

June 11th, 2010
7:17 pm

Congrats to coach Drew. I hope he has a plan for with JJ, and without JJ. And I hope he doesn’t bring back ty hill and Bob Bender.
Would he hire woody to be his defensive assistant? J/k.

I hope rick sund will make some moves, because the team needs some tweaking.

Ironically, if BK and woody had allowed drew to leave when he wanted to, he probably Would not have been selected as HC.

No wonder they say everything happens for a reason.

TROTTINGHOME

June 11th, 2010
7:19 pm

Well…looks like Casey struck out…dang, another 3 years of heart ache.

NOTSO FAST

June 11th, 2010
7:20 pm

JUST PROVES THAT THE HAWKS NEED NEW OWNERSHIP. MONEY HAD TO BE THE DETERMINING FACTOR.

aubrey

June 11th, 2010
7:22 pm

If Drew is the new coach what changes. It seems that he has been part of the problem as a long time staff member. That being the case how can he be the solution. If he doesn’t have a strong enough personality to get Woody to change how can he control a roster of 12-15 professional athletes. This does not look like a good hire and definitely not the best of available choices, some of whom did not even get a look see. Was 53 wins a peak and do we see regression next year? Remember tho old Hawks, about 50 wins every year, early exit from playoffs, the blowing up the roster as players started getting older. How long till a repeat?

hawkville

June 11th, 2010
7:22 pm