Atlanta Hawks: Camp Report Day 3
Notes gathered while sleepwalking and dreaming about a sandwich. . . .
- Rick Sund said the Hawks are interested in Gilbert Arenas and Chauncey Billups if they clear amnesty waivers. If teams with cap space don’t bid on those players by tonight’s deadline, they become free agents. (Note: Arenas already has cleared waivers, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, and wants to join up Dwight Howard.)
- Asked about acquiring another center, Sund said:”I like our ‘bigs.’ We’ve got so many players that are versatile. Larry [Drew] is comfortable using those guys in different position.”
- Billups isn’t a pure point guard but has great value for the Hawks because he can play the 2, is a big-time shotmaker and adds leadership and toughness. He’s also really, really good at doing something the Hawks were really, really bad at doing last season: getting to the free-throw line.
- The Hawks still have no plans to use their amnesty clause this season.
- Al Horford said he and fellow captains Josh Smith and Joe Johnson are still looking for the Hawks to make more moves after they added Tracy McGrady, Jason Collins and Vladimir Radmanovich. “I just hope they give us the opportunity to show something and still play at a high level,” Horford said. “Its’ a shortened season so there will be a lot more games in fewer days. So we need to have a deep team.”
- The feeling among Atlanta’s captains is they don’t want to take a step back after taking Chicago to six games. “You want to build on it,” Horford said. “We need some sort of depth. I think that’s what gave Chicago an edge over us. I think we wore down in the playoffs a little bit. If we are able to get some more pieces, we should be in good shape.”
- The Hawks scrimmaged for the first time today and us media types got to see the tail end. Jeff Teague was smooth and in control and Pape Sy made a couple nice pull-up jumpers.
- Horford on Teague: “I think he’s just more confident as a player. I think the playoffs helped him. I just hope he keeps that edge and confidence and keeps playing hard.”
- The Hawks ended practice with sprints. Teague, Johnson, Smith and Zaza Pachulia were out in front.
- I will say this about Josh: He’s a pro. There’s been no sign of discontent and lots of evidence that he’s focused and working hard. He frequently pulls younger players to the side and points out where they are supposed to do.
- Drew said Josh’s slimmer build doesn’t mean he will play him at power forward less often: “With him losing the weight, I see that he’s got his quickness back that he had when he first got here. He looks a lot faster, a lot quicker, which is a good sign because that’s been a strength of his game is his athleticism.”
- Funny exchange between Josh and assistant Lester Conner during the sprints. Conner: “They are going to be saying, ‘Damn them Hawks get out on the break!” Josh: “They was already saying that.”
- Not to judge a second-round rookie too harshly on his third day, but I don’t see Keith “Kito” Benson as a factor until he gets bigger and more aggressive. “I’m just trying to stay low in the post so I don’t get knocked off position,” he said. “I’m getting used to the stronger players that have played in the league.”
- Kito finds himself on the same floor as guys he once idolized. “[Jerry] Stackhouse was on the Pistons when I was younger so I used to watch him a lot,” he said. “I had the T-Mac shoes and everything.” I had those blue-and-white T-Macs, too.
- Horford on Kito: “He’s very athletic. He’s definitely going to have to work himself in the weight room a little more and get stronger but I like his enthusiasm and his energy. I’ve noticed that he can shoot a little bit in the mid-range area. That’s always good to see.”
- Rookie prospect Brad Wanamaker has yet to practice because FIBA hasn’t yet cleared him after he played in Italy. Wanamaker said an Italian holiday is holding up the paperwork but he hopes to be cleared by tomorrow.
- Atlanta’s $3.6 million trade exception from the Josh Childress deal expires on Dec. 16. Since the Hawks aren’t going to take on more salary than they send out, the exception will expire without being used.
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat