Today at Philips Jeff Teague pulled up for a 3-pointer but Marvin Williams reached up and got a piece of the ball as it left Teague’s hand.
As Teague ran to collect the ball, he told Marvin: “I’m not used to you being that tall.”
Teague was joking, but not really. Marvin’s posture really did look more upright than usual. He appeared to move more fluidly.
And, most importantly, Marvin says back surgery alleviated the pain that has nagged him after he’s taken some spills over the last few years.
“I feel ten times better to be able to run and jump and be pain free,” he said. “I know tonight when I go to sleep I won’t wake up and feel sore.”
Marvin had surgery on June8 to alleviate an isolated bulging disk. He said he was immobile for nearly 12 weeks following the procedure.
“I could not even clean my room,” he said. “I could not bend. It was a task to shower.”
Marvin said he started lifting weights in mid-August and returned to court work in September. He’s been playing and working out regularly since then.
As for the timing of the surgery, Marvin said ht discussed the possibility with Hawks training personnel at the end of the season.
“We thought it would be a good idea with the lockout coming,” he said. “I went home and talked to my parents about it and they felt it would be the best thing for me. It thankfully worked out. The timing was perfect for me.”
Marvin looked to be in great shape and so did Teague, who enters camp facing a situation similar to before the East semis.
Kirk Hinrich is out injured and the Hawks have no other real options at point guard. This is Teague’s chance to show the East semis were not an aberration, that he can indeed be a bona fide NBA starter.
The way Teague sees it, he was going to do that regardless of whether Hinrich got hurt or not (though it does mean L.D. doesn’t have anyone else to waive in for Teague right now).
“Everybody tries to make it like me against Kirk, but I like Kirk,” Teague said. “He’s a good player. I know at some point I was going to be able to play along with him. He’s a great player and I love playing with him when had the opportunity to play with him.
“Now that he’s injured somebody has to step up and it looks like I’m that guy. Whoever they bring in, we have to come together and make a great back court. I’m all about winning.”
Teague said he spent his offseason working on his jumper. That’s important because opponents will have a better scout on him this season and work to keep him away from the rim and his floater sweet spot and make him prove he can shoot better than 34 percent from 10 feet and beyond.
Teague said he’s focused on getting his hand under the ball each time he shoots.
“I feel like my jump shot has come a long way,” he said. “It’s a matter of putting more arch on it. I could always shoot. I’ve always relied on my ability to get to the basket but now I am more confident in the shot.”
Teague said he’s also spent a lot of time in the weight room and feels stronger–he claims he’s “jumping a lot higher right now” though I couldn’t tell if he was just boasting. He said his weight increased to as much as 190 pounds earlier in the offseason buthe’s back down to 180.
“I tried to get bigger but it felt like it was slowing me down when I got in the 185, 190 range,” he said. “It doesn’t feel comfortable.”
Teague and Marvin worked out alongside Stack while Kito shot baskets at the other end. I’m told Damien was at Philips earlier in the morning but I never caught up with him. Pape Sy was lifting weights during the time us media types where there.
There also was a brief Rick Sund sighting but he declined my interview request.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat