First, let me say I don’t think attendance at the first day of voluntary workouts should be any kind of litmus test for the Hawks’ leadership. It would be different if coaches were allowed to run workouts but, since they are not, what’s the difference between guys lifting weights and playing ball at Philips or doing those same things somewhere else?
With that being said, Josh Smith was the first guy at Philips, which he called his “sanctuary.”. It could turn out he was the only Hawks player to use Philips today, though I can’t know for sure because players can access the facilities at any time and eventually us media types had to go.
More relevant than who or who didn’t show is that J-Smoove is slimmer. I noted he looked to be in good shape when I saw him at the local pickup game back in October, but he’s even slimmer now, suggesting he’s been putting in work since then. The torso is slimmer but the shoulders are still stout, as you can see here at the Hawks web site.
If you are keeping count, Josh joins J.J. and Teague as guys I’ve seen recently who look trim and ready for camp. Smith said Al came out to L.A. to train for a bit and he looked good to go, too.
“I think everybody else is ready to go, too,” Smith said. “I think if the captains are ready to be in shape and be ready to go, I think everybody else will, too.”
Josh said conditioning will be key for a short camp and truncated, busy game schedule.
“I like it, obviously,” he said, laughing, about the shorter camp. “It just depends on if you come in shape. It’s probably going to be a couple of guys [around the league[ who are going to come in out of shape and they probably won’t be able to get rolling until midseason. I think that everybody has done a good job staying in shape on this team. I don’t think a short camp will hurt this team.”
Games will begin nearly two months later but the season was extended only 10 days. Those 66 games are going to be squeezed in.
“It is probably going to affect us physically because they say we are playing three days in a row sometimes,” Smith said. “It is probably going to become a mental and physical challenge but you have to be able to just be strong in all those angles.”
Smith said he did most of his conditioning in LA, where he ran hills at the Runyon Canyon and played pickup with other pros. He also said he was neighbors with Kim K.
Smith didn’t talk about today’s Adrian Wojnarowski’s report that he “welcomes” a trade. The reported motivation this time is doubt that ownership will commit to improving the team; back before the draft it was Josh’s unhappiness with criticism from L.D. and media.
For what it’s worth, a Hawks official flatly denied the June report on Josh-for-Kanter, saying teams called to inquire about Josh but the Hawks weren’t trying to deal him. But it does seem as if Rick Sund and ASG have softened their stance on the sanctity of (and the members of) the proverbial “core” group.
For his part, Josh didn’t sound as if he’s eager to escape from his hometown team. Of course just because he doesn’t say it publicly doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t want to be traded, but he seemed sincere when talking about playing for the the Hawks.
“I am just ready to get back to work,” he said. “I’m excited to be here.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat