L.D. called guys out during the Thursday video session and apparently some feelings got hurt. When the team huddled up after practice, he told them: “This is no time to be sensitive. I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong and you have to be able to look in the mirror. There is going to be accountability.”
Smoove and Al, who got into during a timeout huddle in the Bucks game, both said the team remains together.
“It took a game like that to wake us up to doing things the right way and staying together,” Smoove said.
“I think for a moment there everybody kind of went their own ways on the court,” Al said. “We came back together [Thursday] solid. We have to make a commitment to each other to always try to stick together even when the going gets tough.”
Wednesday night’s debacle was reminiscent of Atlanta’s meltdown against Orlando last spring, but L.D. said he’s fine with some healthy disagreement:
“It kind of comes with the territory any time you lose. The most important thing is that we don’t fragment. I want those guys upset. I want them mad that they didn’t play well, they didn’t play the way capable of playing. I want them them jawing at each other but do it in a constructive way and allow that frustration to transfer to [Friday] night’s game and let’s take it out on the Jazz. I think it’s healthy for a team if it’s done in the right way. But it it causes any kind of problems among the players, then it’s a problem. I embrace that, especially if it’s done the right way.”
At Hoopinion, Bret LaGree succinctly sums up L.D.’s dilemma when it comes to his reserves:
Larry Drew’s commitment to using his bench both to develop depth* and not to exhaust his starters is theoretically sound. Practically, he lacks the personnel to accomplish either goal without suffering in-game consequences. Jamal Crawford** and Zaza Pachulia are his only (healthy) quality reserves. There are very good reasons why Josh Powell, Jason Collins, and Etan Thomas have not been rotation players in the NBA for years and the drop-off from All-Star starters to sub-replacement level reserves will cause conflict between Drew’s desires and the realities of winning basketball games.
**Jamal Crawford is still a valuable offensive contributor to this team but, as he reverts to his career norms following a career year and has to fit into a team concept which does not suit his particular skills as well as the absolute scoring freedom Mike Woodson gave him, his weaknesses become more apparent with each passing game.
And the consequences of the conflict for Drew that LaGree desribes, which has been exacerbated by injuries exposing Atlanta’s unbalanced roster, lead to the kind of things you saw in the Bucks game: Guys are playing out of position, not suited for their roles or simply not good enough, and suddenly the whole thing falls apart and everyone’s frustrated.
Mo is back tonight (L.D. said he would come off the bench) and Marvin is close so perhaps when those players return and the rotation gets back to normal things won’t be so out of whack for the reserves.
“I like our bench,” Zaza said. “We have great guys. We’ve got bigs, athletic, shooters, quickness. I feel confident about our bench. We just need to make it more consistent.”