Atlanta Hawks: Van Exel helping Teague find his inner ‘dog’

Hawks want Teague to attack like Van Exel.

Hawks want Teague to attack like Van Exel.

They called Nick Van Exel “Nick the Quick” during his playing days because of his speed, and in that way Jeff Teague is similar to Van Exel.

But Van Exel also had what L.D. calls an “edge” and “played with a chip on his shoulder.” Teague doesn’t have that so L.D. brought in Van Exel to help him find it.

“We call it ‘the dog’ in the NBA,” Van Exel said. “We are trying to bring that dog out of him.”

For Van Exel, the dog was a natural thing. You saw it in his brashness, his attacking style and his knack for taking and making buzzer-beating shots. Of course, sometimes it could be tough to contain Van Exel’s “dog”–he had a history of untimely technical fouls and a rep for difficult relations with coaches and teammates–but you could never say Van Exel wasn’t aggressive.

These things don’t come naturally for Teague.

“He’s kind of a quiet kid,” Van Exel said. “He likes to joke around and have fun. But there are times when somebody makes him mad, and he is just blowing by guys. And we are like, ‘Man, you’ve got to to that all the time.’

“He can do it. He has those skills. We are thinking about maybe going up to him and making him mad before every game, making up stuff just to get him going.”

You see flashes of fire in Teague. During one of the informal pickup games last week Bibby called a foul on Teague, who thought his block was clean. Teague angrily protested the call and in the next few possessions attacked the basket with zeal. His banter with Bibby continued in locker room, and though it was in that half-joking, half-serious tone, there was no doubt Teague was still ticked about the call.

Hawks coaches want to see that spark all the time.

“He has all the tools,” Van Exel said. “It’s just a matter of him bringing an aggressive style and approach to the game every night. Skill-wise, I think he is up there with the best of them. He can shoot it. He can get in the lane anytime he wants. He can break the defense down. He has all the skills.”

Van Exel retired from playing after the 2005-06 season. He ranked among the league’s top eight in assists for five different seasons and the top 10 in 3-pointers made in four seasons.

Van Exel said he had planned to take a couple years off after his retirement and then get an NBA coaching gig but that didn’t work out. He was an assistant coach at Texas Southern in Houston when L.D. called.

“This is really I wanted to be,” he said. “It is great to be back [in the league].”

MC

145 comments Add your comment

Coscro

September 29th, 2010
4:31 pm

Teach’em Nick

josh

September 29th, 2010
4:31 pm

fuel the angerrr

mike

September 29th, 2010
4:37 pm

“handle like van exel”- jay z

jdewayneatl

September 29th, 2010
4:44 pm

light that fire Nick

kwooden1

September 29th, 2010
4:47 pm

Nick played with the right kind of attitude to help Jeff, I hope that Jeff gets it. Nick should also take sometime to pull the dog out of Marvin also, our team really needs it!

newkid

September 29th, 2010
4:49 pm

Can Nick the Quick spell M-A-R-V-I-N? If there’s one player in the entire NBA who needs to have this thing called ‘dog’ unleashed, it’s Marvin Williams. C’mon LD, what about a 2 for 1?

allan in texas

September 29th, 2010
4:50 pm

Get at em’ Nick! Coach em’ up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

layinlow

September 29th, 2010
4:56 pm

You cannot teach that inner fire or will to beat your man. You either have it or you don’t. Some hawks fans continue to wait in vain on Marvin to “step up his game”. If teammates and coaches have to constantly push a guy to take it up a notch then he is probably going to just be a bust. I fear that Teague his cut from the same cloth as Marvin. However, in fairness we have to give him this season to see if he can find that inner dog.

cp

September 29th, 2010
5:03 pm

lol kwooden1 I was thinking the same thing. Nick should be in Marvin’s ear too. An aggressive Marvin and Teague is what this team needs

SteveW

September 29th, 2010
5:03 pm

My observational analysis of Teague exactly – been saying it on this blog for a while – and Nick has a lot better view than I do. All the tools to be among the best – good jumper – best at quickness. What a great move by LD to bring Nick in. If Teague can’t learn from 3 of the better PG’s to ever play in the NBA (to some degree) – Nick, Bibby, and LD, I don’t think we can help him. All the tools are there.

And I would give Teague more than this season to find himself. It was Lavin then of ESPN who said within 5 years Teague may be the best PG of that PG heavy draft. And Hollinger I believe it was said he had Rondo type potential.

BrittishAnger

September 29th, 2010
5:04 pm

Brings an optimistic tear to my eye….MORE OF THIS!

SteveW

September 29th, 2010
5:06 pm

There is still a lot of feeling out there in the blogosphere and fantasy owners however, that JT2 (Jeff Teague) is closer to JT1 (Jason Terry) than a true PG. Let’s hope they’re wrong.

SteveW

September 29th, 2010
5:08 pm

MC – Great work the last 3 or 4 days – keep them coming!

Sautee

September 29th, 2010
5:17 pm

As The Emperor said: “Yessss…. I feeeel your hate. It’s growing inside you. Now, take your weapon, strike me down and take your father’s place at my side”

Jeff may need the Dark Side if he is to succeed in this league. The Force has never overcome a poor jump shot. ;-)

Sautee

September 29th, 2010
5:19 pm

We’ll just have to hope that “That dog can hunt”.

Michael Cunningham

September 29th, 2010
5:39 pm

@SteveW: “MC – Great work the last 3 or 4 days – keep them coming!”

thanks . . . it makes it a lot easier when i have access to the team. now we just need some games.

Melvin

September 29th, 2010
5:47 pm

Teague will be good. Just give the kid an opportunity to play…

Rod from College Park

September 29th, 2010
6:06 pm

Kwooden1,

“Nick should also take sometime to pull the dog out of Marvin also, our team really needs it!”

Can’t pull a dog out of a duck. (LOL)

jason

September 29th, 2010
6:15 pm

If teague wants to start in this league he has to be more aggressive and needs to work on on his mid range and 3 point shot.

O'Brien

September 29th, 2010
6:20 pm

Rod,

Maybe we can bring the swan out of Marvin.

At least that way, he might be more graceful on the court, rather than the stumbling bumbling fumbling Marvin…

F the Hawks!!!!!

September 29th, 2010
6:21 pm

I hate to say it, but I think Im starting to see what the Spirit saw in Drew when they hired him. There is something about him that I like even more than Woodson and even before Ive seen a game. There is a it factor with him that Woodson just did not have.

truthspiter

September 29th, 2010
6:21 pm

You can not be taught this. If so, I hope he teaches Marvin also but it is not possible. I think Teague is another wasted pick

Ken Strickland

September 29th, 2010
6:27 pm

I posted this comment on the previous blog. After LDrew made JSmoove a co-captain and explained to him and the media why, I believe LDrew was merely trying to provide motivation for JTeague, when he said Bibby was the starting PG until someone takes it away from him.

I find it all but impossible to believe LDrew would make a public issue of needing Teague to step up, then hiring Nick Van Exel just to tutor him, if he had any intention of him being anywhere but the starting PG when the season starts.

The season hadn’t even started yet, and LDrew has hired an assistant coach to tutor a young PG, an assistant to develop the DEF, and made a key young player captain, in hopes the added leadership responsibilities will help him mature and gain control of his on court emotions. That’s a faaaarrrrr cry from Woody’s habit of going an entire season ignoring his problem, even defending it on occasion, while also ignoring and/or refusing to even acknowledge or mention, let alone address, the struggles MWilliams and MBibby were having.

HAPPY COWS MAKE BETTER CHEESE, AND HAPPY HAWKS MAKE A MUCH BETTER TEAM.

Rod from College Park

September 29th, 2010
6:37 pm

Good one O’Brien.

O'Brien

September 29th, 2010
6:55 pm

Ken S.,

Happy cows come from California, but lets hope the Hawks here in Atlanta will be happy Hawks all season and during the playoffs.

So far, LD has said all the right things, and he has done all the right things. And he has to. Because in my opinion, he will be under pressure this year.

Although he has a new offensive system, he has been with this team for 6 years, and he convinced the ASG and Rick that he was nothing like Woody.

Well, as AJ points out, Woody led the team to 53 wins, and a second round spot. And since LD has a (slightly) better bench than last year, I dont see why the ASG should not expect a competitive second round series at a minimum from the Hawks.

KevinM

September 29th, 2010
7:14 pm

I think it was a good move to bring in Van Exel who had lots of success. Seriously though, he can’t be considered as a Jason Terry clone until he is able to hit the jumper consistently. Being compared to Rondo though, sounds more reasonable. I don’t recall Van Exel being a defensive stalwart though…on the ball pressure will be needed.

And Bibby is the starter until he flops. On the defensive side of things, if Bibby is held accountable for defense, it will be the first time.

The key to this team is defense, not offense. Rebounding the basketball is second. These 2 determine how successful the core is this year.

Only time will tell as to whether the players will be held accountable and be put on the bench when needed. I have to see it to believe it.

dos hawkquis

September 29th, 2010
7:14 pm

Larry Drew’s performance as coach will be a referendum on Mike Woodson. If Larry can top the 53 games and make it out of the 2nd round,
Woodson may never get a job again. WOW!!

“I don’t always watch basketball, but when I do, I prefer the Hawks.”

Prison Mike

September 29th, 2010
7:30 pm

I love that drew was a ten year pg in the league and of course nve in teague’s corner just pushing him only guys like that can. This will easily make bibby more expendable in the near future.

Section 303

September 29th, 2010
7:42 pm

I think Teague can be a good player. He can jump out of the gym, play D, and handle the ball. Just have to get him to do all those things all of the time. He can.

Like others, I’m liking Coach Drew so far. Looking forward to next Thursday.

Astro Joe

September 29th, 2010
7:55 pm

Man, I didn’t see the jumper from Teague last year… I agree that he has the other tools mentioned though. Van Exel may be the single best move by the Hawks of the summer. Although I doubt that JC2 is missing that dog :lol:

OB, from the previous blog, if you’re telling me that Dwayne Casey or Mark Jackson or any other “outside” coach would have done no better than “lose better”, then Drew at the minimum salary was the right move. But that is the issue, not Woody, but was dude truly the best coach available to take the reigns of this team? I sincerely hope that all of his counter-moves work out well… because it is the adjustment that ultimately makes (or breaks) head coaches.

RomeDawg

September 29th, 2010
7:55 pm

Unfortunately, you can’t coach that “nastiness” or “killer instinct” so that probably means Teague ends up being another Marvin. I don’t care how much physical talent you have, if you ain’t got it between the ears, you’re screwed!

Astro Joe

September 29th, 2010
8:00 pm

Ken, Dredw is setting Teague up for success, but if he doesn’t earn the starting spot (by remaining too laid back to lead a 50+ win team) then starting him prematurely would do more harm than good. So I wouldn’t take all of these “tools for success” and assume that Teague is the default starter. If anything, Drew is showing that Teague wasn’t ready and needs the extra help… I see no need to ush the issue. If Teague plays 18-20 minutes from the bench in the first 30-45 days of the season, i don’t see a problem. Make him earn it (which is exactly what Drew said a few weeks ago and many of us said all of last season).

Rev in Tampa

September 29th, 2010
8:04 pm

@O’Brien – “So far, LD has said all the right things, and he has done all the right things. And he has to. Because in my opinion, he will be under pressure this year.”

O’Brien, unless I am misunderstanding you, I must disagree with your point. Negative pressure usually makes people make mistakes. That’s why opposing coaches exhort their team to keep the pressure on their opponents. Negative pressure typically does not make people overacheive – unless you thrive under pressure. But then pressure would not be a negative, but a positive.

I believe all that we have seen from Drew is Drew. There is no pressure. I believe he feels released from the pressure of sitting in the #2 chair under a stubborn boss, one-dimensional boss. He knows what this team needs, he knows how to motivate them, and he knows how to lead. I don’t think he feels pressure right now. Of course, we will still need to evaluate how he reacts to a three-game losing streak. That’s when the pressure will be felt.

Rev in Tampa

September 29th, 2010
8:07 pm

Section 303, what’s happening next Thursday?

jhan

September 29th, 2010
8:10 pm

I agree you can’t teach someone to have fire. You can teach them how to bring it out of themselves & channel it towards production on the court.

Najeh Davenpoop

September 29th, 2010
8:18 pm

“Can Nick the Quick spell M-A-R-V-I-N? If there’s one player in the entire NBA who needs to have this thing called ‘dog’ unleashed, it’s Marvin Williams. ”

I don’t think Michael Vick could unleash the dog in Marvin.

O'Brien

September 29th, 2010
8:45 pm

Rev in Tampa,

If the Hawks win 48 games and lose in the first round of the playoffs, how will Drew be perceived?

The only change the team made this offseason, is to change coaches. Consequently, the ASG has put all their eggs in Drew’s basket by saying Woody was the main one holding the team back (directly and indirectly).

So it is up to Drew to prove that the ASG is right. Woody was the problem. And to do that, he needs to get to the second round, and actually win games.

The Truth

September 29th, 2010
9:05 pm

Sautee:

“As The Emperor said: “Yessss…. I feeeel your hate. It’s growing inside you. Now, take your weapon, strike me down and take your father’s place at my side”

Man I’m LMAO because I was thinking the same thing

cp

September 29th, 2010
9:16 pm

So a guy who played limited minutes in his first year is already a wasted pick? SMH

JSS

September 29th, 2010
9:16 pm

To all of you Salary Cap freaks and those riding Jamal (some of it is deserved)…
It’s on!!! Negotiating the new CBA is going to be Hell!
http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory?id=11760890

Ken Strickland

September 29th, 2010
9:32 pm

ASTRO JOE-On the 1st day of practice the team ran a mile, and MC said all of our centers made the cut, but 2 players didn’t. What do you want to bet Bibby was one of those 2 players. I don’t think Drew has any doubts about Teague’s ability to run his team and OFF, but he wants to make certain he’s hits the ground running on day one.

I believe our roster will be more than slightly better than last yrs. JCollins is lighter, more mobile, and in better overall condition, and will almost certainly be more productive. EThomas is far more physical, aggressive, a much better rebounder and DEF player than RMorris. Both Pape Sy and JoCrawford are far more versatile and talented, particularly on OFF, than MWest. JTeague as a starter adds far more speed, quickness, penetrating ability, DEF, versatility, stamina and athleticism than Bibby.

Bibby is a much better option coming off the bench than JTeague was last yr under woodson. I believe all of our front line players will be more productive, both on OFF and DEF under LDrew. THE ATLANTA HAWKS ARE GOING TO BE A MUCH, MUCH BETTER TEAM THAN THEY WERE LAST YR. THE KEY TO THEIR SUCCESS WILL BE “CONSISTENCY” AND “EFFICIENCY”.

There’s absolutely no way he wants to start the season with Bibby as the primary PG running his fast breaking, uptempo, attacking the basket motion OFF, let alone spearhead his perimeter pressure DEF. What Drew wants from his primary PG requires too many of the skills Bibby lacks.

OBRIEN-I have to agree with REV IN TAMPA. Drew will be under less pressure than Woodson was under last yr. I doubt if Sund and the ASG will make the regular season a big issue with Drew. The biggest pressure he’ll face next yr will be during the playoffs. And all he’ll have to do to be successful then is get to the 2nd rd and have the Hawks perform like they did against the Celtics in the 07/08 playoffs.

shaqtus thorns

September 29th, 2010
9:36 pm

I like Teague and Marvin, but they are nice guys. Maybe we need to draft some killaz instead of nice guys. Go Hawks!

Rev in Tampa

September 29th, 2010
9:52 pm

O’Brien, for the sake of clarification, I’ll grant that what you are saying is true. Maybe there is pressure being applied by the ASG, but Drew is not acting like a man who is motivated by having to win now. He is like a man who has been unleashed.

The wisdom many of us are seeing in Drew doesn’t come in flashes of pressure-induced brilliance. He has a plan that has been well thought-out. And he is methodically proceeding along that course.

As to your question, “If the Hawks win 48 games and lose in the first round of the playoffs, how will Drew be perceived?” I for one, will be surprised and disappointed. I believe this team, as presently constituted, has incredible potential. I think Woodson misused the talent on this team by keeping it chained up in iso-Joe/Jamal and defensive switching. I believe this team will be much better than last year. How much responsibility Drew will bear depends on variables such as injuries, Teague’s development, etc. But Drew will bear some of that responsibility. And unless he is a complete hypocrite (all that he has said about players taking responsibility, etc.) he will gladly bear it.

Drew seems to me like a young man who has watched his grandmother drive her 67 mustang to an from church and to the grocery store while never exceeding 45 miles per hour. And she has just died and willed it to him. He is not worried about getting a ticket for speeding from the police. All he is thinking about is all that unused potential that he is about put into motion.

I even doubt that Drew is worried about that paltry salary that ASG gave him. He is just ready to have fun and put all those un-listened to suggestions into practical reality.

If Drew is going home and sweating about whether he will have a job next year, then he is not the same man who is talking to MC and making all these bold, focused, and wise decisions.

Samuel

September 29th, 2010
9:58 pm

Ken,
What you fail to realize is that if we don’t finish in the top 5 (which is entirely possible), there will be no second round.

dos hawkquis

September 29th, 2010
7:14 pm

Larry Drew’s performance as coach will be a referendum on Mike Woodson. If Larry can top the 53 games and make it out of the 2nd round,
Woodson may never get a job again. WOW!!
Big “IF”. On the flip side, if we don’t make the playoffs, what does that say about Woody? COY

SteveW

September 29th, 2010
10:03 pm

The Lakers won 57 games in the tough West – and are NBA champs. The East just improved dramatically this off-season, so winning 53 games will not be nearly as easy. I say with the improved East, if the Hawks win 46 games but play tough in the 2nd round of the playoffs – or even go the the EC Finals – it’s an improvement. Don’t judge by games won versus Woodson – not apples to apples because they’re playing 2 different seasons, and most everyone I’ve read agrees – the East had a huge balance of power shift towards it this off season, starting with John Wall, Amare, Boozer etc. And the East may be in for ‘Melo also if the Nets obtain him.

So LD should be judged on what he does with the Hawks in ‘010 – ‘011 – not with how the his regular season record is. If he goes 52-30, it doesn’t mean Woodson is a better coach.

SteveW

September 29th, 2010
10:04 pm

The Cavs won what, 66 games or something? But the East wasn’t as good as the West was last year, and they couldn’t even get out of the 2nd round against the 50 win Celtics.

Grandad

September 29th, 2010
10:31 pm

For those wishing for van Exel to take on Marv
as an additional project;
I think that job has been filled already.
Marvin meet Mr Etan Thomas.

Section 303

September 29th, 2010
10:32 pm

Rev in Tampa, Next Thursday is the first preseason game. At Philips, against Memphis. Will be good to see some games again.

Also, Tuesday is the first ever Hawks preview event. Coach Drew and Rick Sund are going to preview the upcoming season and answer questions. I’m planning on attending that, too.

The Truth

September 29th, 2010
10:49 pm

“Guard Pape Sy (back) has yet to practice, but Drew said the medical report from his visit with a doctor Tuesday was positive.”

“It’s not as serious as we thought it might be,” Drew said. “He is going to take a little more time to rest it.”

Not sure what to make of this. If he’s not injury prone, then the question becomes, is he soft?

Grandad

September 29th, 2010
11:13 pm

Someone mentioned from yesterday’s blog;
“Josh was behind LD shooting (3’s)”.
I happened onto that video a few min ago
and noticed something:
Josh has changed his shooting mechanics.

* Josh worked this summer with NBA trainer Idan Ravin.
“He pushed me.
We worked on various things:
ballhandling, the midrange jump shot”

Someone has done something positive with Josh!
Actually shooting as opposed to launching.

Mark Price…now what was his job again…?
I think [Price & Terry Pendleton]
both went to the same teachin’ school.