Atlanta Hawks: Larry Drew says lineup change, trades may be needed to disrupt team’s ‘comfort zone’

Larry Drew looking to upset team's 'comfort zone' (UPI Photo)

Larry Drew looking to upset team's 'comfort zone' (UPI Photo)

In the immediate aftermath of another home beatdown, L.D. sounded the alarm about the Hawks and said changes to his starting lineup may be in order.

But after sleeping on it, watching the game video and holding a team meeting this morning. . . well, L.D. basically turned up the volume on the alarm. He said he’s still looking at changing the starting lineup and added that a trade might be necessary before the Feb. 24 deadline to shake up the status-quo.

It seems that team meeting didn’t go as Drew had hoped. He said he asked every player and coach why the Hawks seem to play with more urgency on the road. There were a variety of answers, Drew said, but he concluded the Hawks too often fall into a “comfort zone . . . a safe zone” at Philips.

So Drew has that in mind as he looks at possibly changing up his starters.

“Just to give us a jolt,” he said. “Just to get us out of a comfort zone. We are 50-plus games into the season and I think at this stage we need something to give us a jolt, to wake us up. We have, in my opinion, fallen into a bit of a comfort zone with everything. It may be time to do something just to rattle the cage a little bit. ”

L.D. said he hasn’t made up on his mind about changing the lineup and didn’t get into any specifics about what they might be. He said it’s possible he could experiment with different lineups in practice over the next couple days.

Drew didn’t sound like a coach who was simply ticked at his team for a bad loss. Rather, he sounded like a coach who has come to realize that sending out the same players in the same roles is good enough to be on pace for 52 Ws but isn’t going to lead to a much better ending for the Hawks than last spring.

“I am not one to react on emotions but I have had this feeling for a little while,” L.D. said. “I have been in situations where it has been like this, where a team has had to do something just to shake the cage a little bit. It’s something I’ve been thinking about. Will I do it? I have a couple days to practice and make a decision.”

L.D. already has shown a willingness to be flexible with his lineup, sending out six different groups of starters when all of the candidates have been healthy. But if the right mix of players just isn’t on this roster, then it’s out of Drew’s hands and in the wheelhouse of Hawks GM Rick Sund, who has said he’s always looking to improve the team but isn’t interested in “lateral moves.”

The Hawks are a good team so a blockbuster deal isn’t necessarily in order. But Drew acknowledged there have been internal discussions about how to shore up the team’s weaknesses through the trade market.

“With the trade deadline coming up, there is always discussion about possible trades, personnel changing,” he said. “There is always that dialogue going on about looking to improve the team. ‘Would this be a good fit? Would that be a good fit?’ There is always that possibility. Certainly at this stage we have to continue to explore those possibilities.

“I don’t think at this stage . . . at least I don’t feel comfortable, totally comfortable with where we are after 52 games. We have had some bad losses here at home. That may be a sign, I don’t know. I never want to throw out the possibility of making our team better.”

Atlanta’s weaknesses have been pretty obvious for most of the season. The Hawks struggle with defending dribble penetration, defending in transition, rebounding, and scoring consistently in the post or at the rim when they aren’t making their favored jump shots. The Sixers, hardly contenders, exposed them all last night by competently executing a sound game plan, and certainly the East contenders are capable of doing the same no matter how much energy and effort the current Hawks regulars might generate.

It’s getting late in the season for the Hawks to still be trying to shore up their issues. So it’s understandable that Drew might be feeling that the only way to change things is by drastically altering the way he uses his players or through acquiring different players.

“At the end of the day, regardless of what happens [with trades], we still are going to have to go out there and improve our club,” he said. “After last night’s loss, I do believe we do have to look at our situation very seriously and possibly look at a lineup change, possibly doing something that will jolt this team. Because I don’t want this team to get into a comfort zone. The minute we get into a comfort zone, what happened last night, that is the end result.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

460 comments Add your comment

Grandad

February 9th, 2011
3:01 pm

Glad to be 1st.

Grandad

February 9th, 2011
3:03 pm

Now that I’ve accepted my honorary position, I’ll move on.

ole richie

February 9th, 2011
3:04 pm

marvin needs to be comming off the bench 100% of the time

Jerry West

February 9th, 2011
3:04 pm

Hey LD, don’t talk about it, be bout it bout it!

hmmmm........

February 9th, 2011
3:05 pm

Marvin needs to be traded

Pen-is A Lotta

February 9th, 2011
3:06 pm

Fire Sund-joke of a GM…these trades are what should happen.

Smoove and JC for a C and reliable bench scorer

Smoove, Williams, and Teague for a star PG; move Bibby to the bench where he belongs

Joshua Barlowe

February 9th, 2011
3:06 pm

We need a point guard and a better three-point threat.

And somebody with some fire in their belly.

shawn

February 9th, 2011
3:07 pm

LD is right and we need a trade…….

buckhead benny

February 9th, 2011
3:09 pm

Trade Marvin- they don’t need him or his salary- they were fine without him in the lineup period- if you can get teague traded that much better as well- they need a true banger where Marvin’s position is- someone that can bang with people and intimidate people trying to penetrate.

Look the two worst losses the hawks suffered without their captain and the toughest guy on their roster Al Horford- They are too soft and complacent- Just look at the way Marvin walks and that should tell you something-

Chi Town

February 9th, 2011
3:09 pm

Crumpy is frisky.

Grandad

February 9th, 2011
3:10 pm

Trade for some players with gumption!

dynasty19

February 9th, 2011
3:11 pm

we need a new small foward and point guard. trade marvin williams,mike bibby and a 2nd round pick to go get mo williams and antwan jamison from the cavs.

{MAC-Town Georgia 478}

February 9th, 2011
3:12 pm

Get a PG that can do more than be a streaky jump shooter. The PG is the catalyst!!!.

Trojan

February 9th, 2011
3:13 pm

The Hawks will be killed by a good team in the playoffs.

Pen-is A Lotta

February 9th, 2011
3:13 pm

Again, I reiterate….

FIRE SUND…that piece of s**t isn’t good enough to be the alternate waterboy for a middle school girl’s tennis team. Anyone who gives a 29 year old sporadic shooter $120 mil should check into a mental facility for head injuries.

ILL-Logical

February 9th, 2011
3:15 pm

MC: Thanks-you answered my questions9 at least partially) about whether or not Sund and Drew can/will do something to at least stop the bleeding. BTW is it true that ASA will do anything to win except play center?

DHD

February 9th, 2011
3:17 pm

Aaron Brooks

{MAC-Town Georgia 478}

February 9th, 2011
3:18 pm

It’s good to see someone in the organization making a stand and saying enough with this BS.

slimjr

February 9th, 2011
3:19 pm

“FIRE SUND…that piece of s**t isn’t good enough to be the alternate waterboy for a middle school girl’s tennis team. Anyone who gives a 29 year old sporadic shooter $120 mil should check into a mental facility for head injuries.”
LOL LOL LOL………whew………………..

terrell

February 9th, 2011
3:19 pm

I wish it were Sund and the ASG saying there were trades needed. LD cant make no damn trades, so our bench is still going to stink no matter who’s startin.

Smiling Jack

February 9th, 2011
3:19 pm

Do really need more “mo”??? After last night, I’m about ready to say “no mo hawks for me!”

wolfman

February 9th, 2011
3:20 pm

Doesn’t he need to make room for LD II who just QUIT on the Tarheels?? Maybe the coach is setting a bad example for the players… What do you think??

Smiling Jack

February 9th, 2011
3:20 pm

These guys just don’t make sense!

Melvin

February 9th, 2011
3:20 pm

I give LD credit for speaking out (if for anything he put Sund on the hot seat) but lets see if he follows thru with a lineup shake up….

Boneyard Randy

February 9th, 2011
3:21 pm

Devin Harris for Mike Bibby. Straight up.

N.D.T.K.A.

February 9th, 2011
3:22 pm

Anyone who doesn’t defend or listen to the coach should be up for a new home!! No defense, tons of ill-advised jump shooting,no rebounding,no attacking the basket on the offensive end. Someone needs to go and fast. Bibby cannot remain as the starting point guard. Josh Smith cannot stay on the perimeter shooting jump shots, not defending at the rim, and not boxing out defenders. I am not a coach or gm but there clearly needs to be changes made to get the guys to realize the same play and same excuses no longer fly. Getting blown out by teams like Philly at home is embarrassing to say the least.

Smiling Jack

February 9th, 2011
3:23 pm

There you go…just what the Hawks need …LD II who quit on the Tarheels.

terrell

February 9th, 2011
3:23 pm

If Bibby starts Sat, I wont believe another word out of LD’s mouth. He’s the weakest link. And I swear, if I see Bibby, and Jamal on the floor together again I’m going to ……. scream! They better step up Sat for sho. And that’s on the real!

Shawn

February 9th, 2011
3:23 pm

As much as I hate to say it: Josh Smith is holding this team back. He settles for 18 to 21 foot jump shots because its the easy way out. He picks and chooses when to play with energy and those times come way to rarely. He can be taken out of his game by a bad call from the ref. And who can forget in the playoffs when it mattered the most, he almost gave commentator Hubie Brown a heart attack with his disinterested play. Unfortunately, we fans need to accept that as long as Smith, Zaza, Williams, and Teague play for this team we will not even make it to the Conference finals.

Bet on it!

Mr Mojo

February 9th, 2011
3:23 pm

Even Al Horfords Dad knows we need a trade. Everyone but the owners and our crappy GM.

terrell

February 9th, 2011
3:23 pm

And when I say they better step up, that means EVERYBODY!

RayStantz

February 9th, 2011
3:24 pm

I’ve said this after each playoff lost over the past couple of years, how does the Hawks expect to improve without addressing the center position? You keep putting the same players back on the floor, you will continue to produce the same results. Every contender around them have been actively improving their team while the biggest spalsh the Hawks made was resigning one player to a 100 million dollar contract… Ask the Knicks how that went with Allen Houston…. It’s not rocket science.

allan in texas

February 9th, 2011
3:24 pm

Do what you always do, then expect to get what you always get. You hired a different coach, now it’s time to try with a different set of players. Keep Big Al and after that all bets are off.

Dawglasville

February 9th, 2011
3:24 pm

Outside of Horford this team has no heart.

dynasty19

February 9th, 2011
3:25 pm

This should be the hawks new starting line up. mo williams at pg,
j.jhonson at sg, josh smith at sf, al horford as pf and hasheem thabeet as your center go get him from the grizzles and make him aforce to be racken with in the paint.

slimjr

February 9th, 2011
3:25 pm

“NEWSFLASH” LD your team has no comfort zone after losing TWO MASSIVE BLOWOUTS at home in the past 3 weeks Sir…..Get a grip please…BTW maybe your squad should grab their crouch to check and see if they still have a set!!! At least Josh checked…..cost him 25 large though…LOL

newowners

February 9th, 2011
3:26 pm

Nothing will happen when this ownership group in place. They suck and have no money….. Sell the hockey team and part of the arena so you can at least have a good basketball team.. OR SELL EVERYTHING…. You 152 owners look like a monkey trying to hump a football.

john mickins

February 9th, 2011
3:27 pm

if this team stands pat (like it usually does) they will be a 2nd round exit once again….and in this case if everything falls into play they could be a 1st round exit if the magic lock up the 5th seed and we all know the hawks dont stand a chance in hell against them. but as usual this organization (and city for that matter) will stand for mediocrity. yes these guys have chemistry and have played together for awhile but theyve maxed out and to those of you who think they havent obviously you dont live on planet earth….

tdub

February 9th, 2011
3:27 pm

It’s time MC: The hawks must call denver now. Let’s send Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Mike Bibby, Mo Evans, a 1st round pick, and J. Childress trade exception to Denver for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. We must take a stand now. Stand because we need fans in the seat. I actually like the AOL spirit group and I really like Sund and L.D. I believed they really tried to get Shaq but he wanted to go elsewhere. Carmelo would put people in the seats and he would look better in between Joe Johnson and Al Horford than anywhere else in the league. They could really play well with each other. Chauncey is getting older but he still could defend better than most at the point position. He would also provide veteran leadership during playoff time. If Carmelo bolts after the season and refuses to sign an extension then we still win. A deep playoff run and about 30 million in savings would be enough to get Joe and Al some more help if needed. I really believe Carmelo would love playing here. The bottom line is money and Carmelo simply puts people in the seats, its a win-win situation that we should explore. Make this happen Mr. Sund. A true fan of yours. Oh, our bench would be pretty solid with Crawford1, Pachulia, Wilkins, Teague, Powell, Thomas, and Crawford 2.

Big Daddy

February 9th, 2011
3:28 pm

Understand the idea for a shake-up. This has been a topic on these blogs for months. It has to be done with a business sense and not on emotion. Some of the proposed trades I see on here are pretty much fantasy trades and not realistic.

The most outstanding need we have right now is for a point guard who can run the team. This has to be someone who is aggressive, but smart, can make a lot of assist, but still score and definitely will get others involved. These are the type of players who are coveted by all teams so to pry one away is going to have to be somethng significant.

For all of the times he drives us crazy with his outside shot selection and arguing with the refs, this team would miss Smoove more than any other player. Too many people only look at those two issues rather than what he does as an all around player. His all around play with steals, blocks, rebounds, intimidations and all of the little things player do to help their teams is actually outstanding. However, it may be the time where he is the most valuable commodity that someone will want. Think about it, his stats are pretty even most of the time and generally, when they change it is almost always for the better. He does score 34 points one night and 6 the next like someone else on the team. He is a steady player day in and day out.

Who do we have that someone else would really want. The only expiring contact of any consequence is JC1 and JT make fare better in another environment where there is a real mentor and he is given the opportunity to develop. So, if we can get someone who is outstanding in the point and give them JC1 and JT and maybe a 2nd round pick, we may be able to get someone in who can help us

roge

February 9th, 2011
3:28 pm

Will he bring LD three since he left UNC?

ltruks

February 9th, 2011
3:28 pm

T Mac as a Hawk.Think about it

slimjr

February 9th, 2011
3:28 pm

Einstein said quote ” Insanity is doing the same thang over and over again and expecting different results”!!!

Sund+ASGEEmen= INSANITY WOW…………………………

Big Daddy

February 9th, 2011
3:30 pm

It should be he doesn’t score 34 points one night and 6 the next…….

Hollywould

February 9th, 2011
3:30 pm

Laughed at that one Slim.

slimjr

February 9th, 2011
3:32 pm

it was a terrible pick Marvina Williams should be jettison first along with his side kick the ole geezer MB yesterday……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

W

February 9th, 2011
3:35 pm

This is why the Joe Johnson signing was stupid…he’s a great player but after Orlando trounced us, it was clear this Atlanta team was good but would never be great and challenge for the title. Why do you keep that nucleus together?

The glaring need is obviously PG and so long-term we need to develop one, but I don’t think Teague is the answer. Do you make a trade for a guy like Calderon? I don’t think it’s a bad idea…Toronto would love to dump his contract to save $$…would Crawford’s expiring deal work?

K.W.

February 9th, 2011
3:36 pm

The Hawks front office should have done more last summer. It’s sad that when the critics actually praise the Hawks then they turn around and do something like last night. Then it’s back to are the “Hawks contenders or pretenders.” This organization has to get it together.

woodpecker

February 9th, 2011
3:37 pm

We need a big man in middle and a more aggressive PG I like Bibby, but he is just not getting the job done. JSmith takes to many 3pointers and mwilliams is just mwilliams. We need the likes of a DHoward and a monta ellis. Both are still young and very aggressive. LD make it happen.

{MAC-Town Georgia 478}

February 9th, 2011
3:39 pm

AL HORFORD’S DAD FOR GM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!