Al was at Philips to work out today. He said he worked out in LA with D-Rose, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love (they have the same trainer). He said he worked on his post game and driving to the basket, but more on that later.
Al had an interesting response to the persistent question about whether he prefers to play center or power forward.
“I am still going to keep playing both,” he said. “I think that Josh and myself we can bring a lot of problems to people. At times I am going to have to play the four and I think Josh is OK with playing the three. That way we stay very athletic and we can do different things.
“And I think that’s why we need big bodies here, a couple of solid bigs to come out here and help us out. I know there are quite a few of those out there in free agency and we should try to pursue them.”
Al doesn’t control the purse strings, of course, but that’s the most public prodding of the front office by a Hawks player that I can remember since I’ve been around. I’m told that ASG still haven’t decided if they want to keep building the roster by paying into the luxury tax; should find out more once the CBA is ratified and the league lifts the restrictions on teams commenting.
Al also said he hopes the Hawks re-sign Jamal because “he is a huge part of our team.”
“We are a much better team with him,” Al said. “We need his scoring and his presence.”
Al said his conditioning is about what it should be entering training camp. He said he was able to work on his game while playing last summer for John Calipari, the coach of that other school.
“I am really trying to get better with my shooting and with my post game, really trying to be more assertive in the past than I have with it,” he said. “Cal was my coach for the Dominican national team for the FIBA game, and with him his whole thing was a lot about driving and penetrating. That is something in my game I really didn’t do much before but I think I was able to do a little more of it this summer.”
My T-Mac take
I was kind of surprised at the negative reactions on Twitter to the T-Mac news. Then I realized that those who don’t like it assumed he would be the replacement for Jamal or otherwise believe the Hawks see him as a major piece, in which case I would understand.
But it remains to be seen what other moves the Hawks will make and what role McGrady will play. Once all that gets settled then we can determine whether he’s a good addition or not.
If T-Mac ends up starting and/or or playing 25 minutes per night then it would mean the Hawks are scary-thin. My take after watching him play for the Pistons against the Hawks last season and looking at his numbers is that he’s no longer cut out for that kind of gig. I’m sure I’m not the only one who saw it.
But I see no problem with McGrady as a 10-15 minute per night “point forward” who is a good passer (which the Hawks can use), just posted his best true-shooting percentage since he was an All-Star and is a pretty good defender: 14.0 opponent per as a shooting guard last season according to 82games.com; a positive defensive rating at basketballvalue.com, and decent Synergy numbers.
Aside from his passing possibly setting up teammates for higher-percentage shots–1.7 of his 3.5 assists per game last season led to baskets within 10 feet–McGrady isn’t likely to help diversify Atlanta’s offense, which needs it badly. He’s made 33.7 percent of his 3-point attempts in his career and 206 of his 515 field-goal attempts last season were long 2s. His 15.14 percent turnover rate also is high for a wing.
But T-Mac is a veteran who can be useful in a limited role, and what else do you expect for the vet minimum?