Atlanta Hawks: Camp Report Day 8 (Public Scrimmage)

  • The Hawks had a public scrimmage. They let me in, too. I don’t want to make too much of a camp scrimmage but I was so happy to see competitive professional basketball again I have to make some observations even if they end up meaning nothing.
  • Nice crowd at Philips–the Hawks put it at 2,500. The fans were into it. “That felt great to see that,” Josh Smith said. “The fans are really anticipating this season and looks like they are really excited to see something special we are putting together.”
  • The fans saw a scrimmage that was cleaner than any I’ve seen at camp. That doesn’t mean it was very good. “Overall, it was OK,” Larry Drew said. “But we still have a ways to go.”
  • Joe Johnson (13 points, three rebounds, seven assists, very very unofficially) looked like he could go out and play 40 good minutes right now. He scored effortlessly, made his 3-pointers, defended with vigor and generally showed the young guards in camp what an All-Star talent in top form looks like. “I didn’t know when the lockout would end, and I just wanted to come in in great game shape,” he said. “If you come in in good shape, everything else takes care of itself.”
  • Joe said he’s down to about 236 pounds after weighing as much as 247 last season. “I feel a little faster, more durable,” he said. “I am going to try to keep it down.”
  • “He’s playing really well,” L.D. said. “He’s having one of his best camps that I’ve seen him. He looks comfortable. He’s picking and choosing his spots. I think having guys like Tracy [McGrady], [Jerry] Stackhouse and [Vladimir] Radmanovic out there, I think he feels a comfort level with those guys because he knows those guys have been in the trenches.”
  • Jeff Teague (16 points, four rebounds, one assist) pushed the pace and got to the rim whenever he wanted. Finishing was another matter. Teague tends to have tunnel vision while heading to the basket, which isn’t so bad because it means he’s being aggressive. However, he will draw a lot of defensive attention and he’s playing alongside scorers now so probably good to look for them.
  • Josh Smith (10 points, six rebounds, two assists) was off and running every chance he got (though he, too, had some trouble finishing at the rim). He’s definitely faster but probably sacrificed some strength.
  • Smith said he will have to change his approach to playing in the post: “I’m doing pretty good with that. I have just got to make sure I am low at all times and be able to create the contact and not wait for it. I’ve got to be ready for guys like Derrick Favors, Zach Randolph, Amar’e Stoudemire, all those guys who are strong down low.”
  • Pape Sy (two points, two rebounds) didn’t make many shots but was aggressive with the ball and made some good decisions when he got to the basket. He threw down an alley oop dunk on a lob from J.J. “He’s very athletic,” Drew said. “He can get up and down the loor, he’s got a good body on him. He’s a really hard driver, too. He puts his head down he usually gets to the rim.”
  • I’ve heard Keith Benson (10 points, four rebounds) has struggled during camp but he had his moments tonight. He’s got a smooth mid-range J, which was expected. He also showed no fear with banging in the paint for rebounds and post position, which were good signs for his development.
  • McGrady (two points, two rebounds) never really seemed into it. Stackhouse (four points, two rebounds) competed hard on D and running off screens but the first step is lacking and the jumper wasn’t falling.
  • Vladimir Radmanovic (three steals, two blocks) showed that he can at least hold his own on defense. He’s got quick hands and anticipates plays well.
  • Al Horford (seven points, four rebounds, three steals) tried to work on his post game but he ended up mostly going to the spinning fadeaway Js. Those are the moves Brandon Bass and Joakim Noah anticipated and disrupted. I didn’t see him try to drive much, either.
  • Drew said Magnum Rolle suffered a foot injury while playing in Korea over the summer. That helps explain why Rolle looked out of shape early in camp. He’s got good size and was making smooth jumpers. “I like his size, I like his length,” Drew said. “He’s a guy that hopefully he can keep getting better. You can throw him the ball down there and he can do something on the block.”
  • I thought Brad Wanamaker (nine points, three assists) and Donald Sloan (five points, three assists) both looked pretty good. Both players are solidly built.
  • Wanamaker is the crafty combo guard.”He’s a tough kid,” Drew said. “Very steady. He’s got some bulldog in him. I like that about him. He doesn’t back down. He’s a competitor.”
  • Sloan is the speedy one, especially for his size (6-3, 205). He looks the part to play in the league. “I think he has the talent, I think he has the body,” Drew said. “All of the essentials needed at the guard position, I think he possesses those. He can knock down shots, he’s good on the pick-and-roll, he’s a distributor.”
  • Zaza Pachulia (seven points, six rebounds) did what he does: He went hard to the basket and didn’t finish particularly well but drew fouls and kept collecting his own rebounds because he competes.
  • Jason Collins did not play.
  • Shout out to Hawks PR staffer Jason Roose for supplying the unofficial stats.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

143 comments Add your comment

@DanWeiner

December 16th, 2011
11:14 pm

Thanks Michael, really enjoying these reports.

I hope Wanamaker makes the squad. He’s a real competitor. The Hawks could use that tenacity off the bench. Also hoping Benson keeps improving. He’s skilled if lacking in size for a big man.

Gilley

December 16th, 2011
11:15 pm

First? It was great to be back in the highlight factory!!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

December 16th, 2011
11:16 pm

“Al Horford (seven points, four rebounds, three steals) tried to work on his post game but he ended up mostly going to the spinning fadeaway Js. Those are the moves Brandon Bass and Joakim Noah anticipated and disrupted.”

I hope we don’t spend his entire career saying “he’s one back to the basket move away from being dominant”.

Matt

December 16th, 2011
11:17 pm

Pape Sy was first.

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2011
11:18 pm

Yeah, MC. I pretty much had some of the same assessments myself. I thought Benson gave up ground too much and I noticed that Rolle received much more court time than Benson. Benson could use a full season stint in the D-League. He has a nice skill set but needs to get his “grown man strength”. Rolle seems more ready to contribute now than Benson… but neither impressed me with their athleticism. They are more skilled than athletic (which is not a bad thing).

Reality Check

December 16th, 2011
11:19 pm

Pape Sy seems to be the most intriguing player in camp. Haven’t heard/read anything negative about him yet. They can’t ride Teague TOO much with this condensed season, and Kirk’s out, so I’m interested to see what Sy’s got when the real competition begins.

Gilley

December 16th, 2011
11:20 pm

Yes!!!!! I loved Wanamaker out there. He is feisty, aggressive and can get to the basket!!!!

@DanWeiner

December 16th, 2011
11:21 pm

“They can’t ride Teague TOO much with this condensed season, and Kirk’s out, so I’m interested to see what Sy’s got when the real competition beg”

Which is why I think Wanamaker makes the squad. They need bodies to stay fresh during the insane schedule this year.

Reality Check

December 16th, 2011
11:21 pm

Also, how did Marvin look, MC?

Astro Joe

December 16th, 2011
11:22 pm

BTW, if the roster remains the same, I think Joe, Teague and Josh will likely be among the league leaders in minutes played this season (or at least until Hinrich is healthy for Teague and Joe to get relief). The depth behind those guys doesn’t look like it is consistent with a top 4 seeded team.

doc

December 16th, 2011
11:26 pm

astro i apologized from the last blog but when i posted it was refused and never to be seen again 4 minutes too late,. heck of a deadline, when it ends it is over, even if in mid-sentence and you got the box to put it in. anyway, i see josh did more than take jumpers. underhelmed by all the accounts on tmac and sad that he has a contract in hand as he seems to have a place in our hearts of joe smith and etan. stack being a step slow is not an omen for anything more than filling the vet minimum criteria.

MC in the new cba does the league still pick up part of the tab on these vet minimum types? it is all so alluring to our cheap owners trying to save a mil or two while filling all the bench seats, though some of these retreads deserve to be sitting next to me and astro, “up in the fiiiirrst roow”, as bob uecker used to say.

Reality Check

December 16th, 2011
11:28 pm

Dan Weiner,

Yeah, it looks like he’s making a good impression on everyone.

Nique

December 16th, 2011
11:29 pm

MC

So with Jamal not coming back, i know we talked about getting another big before, does this free us up to actually make that happen now? & Two names, I’m really interested in are, one’s abig & one’s not, Troy Murphy & Michael Redd? Any Buss about either of these guys

Melvin

December 16th, 2011
11:30 pm

Chuck Swirsky: Bull waive Jannero Pargo Twitter

Sund please sign Pargo….

superiorblogman

December 16th, 2011
11:31 pm

Benson looked good to me and Wannamaker looked good also. I don’t see anything in Pape, sorry just don’t he has some hops though

Buddy Grizzard

December 16th, 2011
11:31 pm

Bay Ray in response from the last blog… agree with all your comments. Josh will have Teague to run with this year but don’t expect a bunch of oop’s because Teague is not a great passer. Josh will be rebounding alot of Teague’s misses because Teague mostly looks for his own shot.

Michael Cunningham

December 16th, 2011
11:31 pm

@Reality Check: “Also, how did Marvin look, MC?”

he looked good physically while running the floor. didn’t take too many shots.

Michael Cunningham

December 16th, 2011
11:32 pm

@doc: “MC in the new cba does the league still pick up part of the tab on these vet minimum types?”

haven’t heard this officially but Larry Coon said he thinks it’s the same.

Michael Cunningham

December 16th, 2011
11:35 pm

@Nique: “MC So with Jamal not coming back, i know we talked about getting another big before, does this free us up to actually make that happen now? & Two names, I’m really interested in are, one’s abig & one’s not, Troy Murphy & Michael Redd? Any Buss about either of these guys”

they need a vet guard more than a big. they are right up against the tax line but i think Sund is authorized to sign another vet minimum. from Drew’s comments yesterday it sounds as i they want to get a look at some of these young guys before doing that.

Michael Cunningham

December 16th, 2011
11:38 pm

OK, blog people, i’m out for tonight. anybody ever take the anti-inflammatory meds, Etodolac? they make my back injury feel better but damn they make me crazy dizzy/sleepy.

look for my full Gearon Jr. Q and A tomorrow.

O'Brien

December 16th, 2011
11:44 pm

Do the hawks have the money to sign Keith Bogans to be their backup SG? He started at SG all 82 games for the Bulls last year. He plays decent defense and made some 3’s for the Bulls last season.

Also, Bogans can play extra minutes at the 2 when they give JJ more time at SF (cutting into Marvin’s PT of course), or when they give JJ some rest (I don’t want him to wear down later in the season).

O'Brien

December 16th, 2011
11:45 pm

Thanks for the report MC (and others).

Grandad

December 16th, 2011
11:45 pm

I was not there but – an observation – nonetheless:

“Jason Collins did not play”

Section 303

December 16th, 2011
11:47 pm

Michael, I was there tonight. I was going to say hello, but you looked like you were locked in to your writing. I didn’t want to bother you. I’ll come introduce myself at a game this season.

O'Brien

December 16th, 2011
11:49 pm

It will be interesting to see how LD manages the minutes for the players.

Melvin,

I would take Pargo right now, because from what I have read, I am not convinced that Sy can be an effective backup PG, and if Teague ever gets injured, we will be in serious trouble.

Nique

December 16th, 2011
11:50 pm

Thx MC,

Any interest in MIchael Redd? we say we want a vet guard & Drew says he wants more shooters, seems like a perfect fit, especially since he’s only going to demand aroung the vet min. The Knicks are now turning their attention to Redd according to recent reports

O'Brien

December 16th, 2011
11:51 pm

Grandad,

Jason Collins did not play because Dwight Howard was not in the game :smile:

doc

December 16th, 2011
11:53 pm

well the new cba will continue to encourage our owners to dip into the well of old disabled vets to provide reimbursement through the league to fill out its roster. i wonder what is the average of teams that rely on this to max out their obligations to the cba?

thanks mc for the continued excellent work. sorry to hear the back has been hurting but watch out for those meds if they are doing that to you.

Section 303

December 16th, 2011
11:53 pm

I have been luke warm on T-Mac. My thinking was that he is past his prime and will probably be injured. But, when I arrived at the season ticket event prior to the scrimmage, T-Mac was out shooting. I have to admit that it is pretty cool having him on the team. He’s one of the greats. Plus, he got a huge ovation when introduced. So, obviously the city is excited he’s here. So, I am on board with T-Mac. Glad he is here.

I agree with Michael. Teague really struggled to finish. He has had this problem in the past. He can do everything, but score. He’s fast. He has good moves. Getting the ball through the hoop is another story sometimes, though.

Josh Smith looked good tonight. I think the weight loss will help him. He shot a few too many jumpers for my liking, but he played hard. He also set up the play of the night. Josh dove for a loose ball, gained control, passed to Joe, who hit Sy for a sweet lob dunk. Great play!

Keith Benson has some moves in the post. He, like Teague, has trouble finishing.

I thought Wannamaker and Solon both looked decent.

Vlad was a nonfactor tonight.

Michael said that Magnum Rolle has been looking good. That is no lie. He looked good tonight. Hit jumpers and played strong D.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

December 16th, 2011
11:55 pm

Josh Smith was still out on the perimeter shooting jumpers.

Grandad

December 16th, 2011
11:58 pm

“they need a vet guard more than a big”
- Michael Cunningham -

I’m assuming Michael has picked up on this from
someone within the Hawks organization.

Regardless – I vehemently disagree !
Is there a stronger word than vehement, if so, insert.
We Need a Big More Than a Guard !

Jason Collins did not play & who cares.
He rarely plays anyhow.
Fit & fiddle, cut & toned, best shape ever …
is he or is he not a key component of this team ?
A regular, a rotation player, not a specialist who plays
eight games a season ?

My Original Point:
We Need a Big More Than a Guard !

Get one !

Grandad

December 17th, 2011
12:02 am

I left out part of a sentence:

Fit & fiddle, cut & toned, best shape ever…* then where was he ? *

Grandad

December 17th, 2011
12:08 am

O’Brien
duly noted – ha

Bronn

December 17th, 2011
12:08 am

I would like to see Donald Sloan make this team.

Grandad

December 17th, 2011
12:19 am

Josh should not have lost strength by losing wgt.

It’s possible he lost bulk, therefore losing some
leverage, compressive strength, and or power, thrust and force.
I’m not a physicist, so all these terms are beyond my expertise.
Even so, losing wgt will not cause a loss of strength in and of itself.
Stay on the wgts Josh.

Harry Hawk

December 17th, 2011
12:21 am

Josh lost all that weight so he could shoot jumpers without hurting his knees.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 17th, 2011
12:25 am

The only players who played hard were the camp invitees and end of the bench scrubs who had something to prove. I really don’t think there’s any point in taking anything away from this scrimmage other than how those players played. The regulars were clearly not going at 100%. I am not concerned at all about T-Mac based on tonight, for example. We’ll see what they really have in the tank as we get closer to the start of the regular season.

I agree with Grandad. The depth isn’t great in the back court or front court, but I think a quality backup big is a bigger need than a quality backup guard. I am more confident in T-Mac’s ability to provide quality minutes at the 1 and 2 until Kirk gets back than I am in the ability of someone like Collins or Rolle to be the 2nd big off the bench all season.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 17th, 2011
12:29 am

In fact when you look at the positional depth on this team, it becomes more apparent that Radmanovic wasn’t the greatest signing, even at the veteran’s minimum. Sure, he will stretch the floor and can probably provide quality minutes, but the 3 and 4 are the deepest positions on this team. It would have probably made more sense to go after someone like Murphy who could fill in at the 5 in a pinch, or someone like Redd who would provide back court depth; both of them can stretch the floor as well as do other things.

Typical uncreative Sund, bringing back his wack ass lottery picks from Seattle.

Demetrius

December 17th, 2011
12:31 am

Well, sounds like an interesting scrimmage. I didn’t get to see it, myself, but I wouldn’t put much emphasis on it. Guys are really just out there to work on conditioning, have some fun, and give the fans something to cheer for. The lineups used are highly unlikely to be used during the regular season. The preseason games next week might give us a sightly better indicator of how guys are doing, but until the regular season actually starts, it’s tough to predict what this team will be capable of, and what our different players have worked on.

Grandmaster JeJe

December 17th, 2011
12:37 am

EVERYONE TALKS LIKE STACK MADENE TEAM. HE TALKS LIKE IT. THEN WE SEE SUND SAY WE PROB WONT SIGN AN SG

THIS IS SO F’ING ANNOYING. IS STACK A CONSULTANT OR IS HE GONNA MAKE THE DAMN ROSTER?

AND DONALD SLOAN SOUNDS LIKE A 70 YEAR OLDS’ NAME

Section 303

December 17th, 2011
12:40 am

Najeh, were you at the scrimmage?

Normally, I would agree with you. A scrimmage will tell you little about a team. But, I don’t think that was the case tonight. The guys, for the most part, were going hard. There were a lot of guys diving on the floor and a lot of banging down in the paint. It was entertaining and well played tonight. Main reason was the effort put forth by the players.

T-Mac was set in cruise control tonight, though. No doubt about that. Not worried about him, either. In fact, I would rather he take it easy in a team scrimmage. He has to last through the season.

northcyde

December 17th, 2011
12:42 am

Grandad . . what you have to realize with the Sund – Drew regime, is that they have an “offense first” type of mindset. Sund has never had an affinity for defensive player or had an eye for quality big men. And Drew is definitely an offensive coach.

So in their minds, we need a guard before a big man. And I guess since MC is used to seeing Jamal Crawford do his thing, he agrees with them.

Now would it hurt to bring in an experienced guard? Not at all. Baron Davis is a guy that comes to mind. As long as Joe Johnson stays healthy, you can dang near put any guard beside him. As long as he has a specific skill set, and as long as he can do it on a nightly basis, that guard would be OK alongside JJ.

But I don’t trust these 2nd round bigs at all. I would much rather that Sund add a “big” guy who can either rebound the basketball, or defend at the rim by blocking shots.

Problem is . . how do you find these guys if you’re only paying them the vet minimum?

DeAndre

December 17th, 2011
12:46 am

Based on what I’ve seen, I was impressed with what looks like physical improvements for some of our players. Joe looks like he’s in really great shape. He looked like he was in mid-season form already. Josh definitely looks quicker and appears to have less body fat than in previous seasons. Whether or not his drop in weight will affect him on the defensive end while guarding post players remains to be seen. You don’t really need to have a ton of weight or bulk to guard guys in the post. You need to have a strong lower base to keep guys from backing you down in the post, which he likely has. Operating at a higher weight, you are often more used to the resistance and force you’ll feel in the post since it’s similar to what you experience during some of your own workouts. Josh will likely have to adjust a bit, but I think he’ll be fine most nights.

Also, Al looks bulkier than he has been in the past, but in a good way. It looks like he added some extra muscle to his frame. Horford never had many strength problems in the past, but I think added bulk could help him out while playing the 5.

tyger

December 17th, 2011
12:47 am

Good to see the “new” look Hawks:

1. Regulars were regular, nothing new there…
2. Magnum Rolle impressed, good size, skill set, looked like he belonged…
3. Both Sloan/Wannamaker look like keepers…didnt play like rookies….
4. Benson needs seasoning, but put it in the basket…
5. T-mac could’ve cared less…
6. Stackhouse has to make shots…but looked like a keeper…
7. Radi-dadi didnt impress…ditto for Marvin – unaggressive
8. Hawks are bigger, longer, deeper…
9. Disagree about depth issues, this is the most interchangeable group I’ve seen…
10. Cut down will be interesting, a good player or two will be cut…

Najeh Davenpoop

December 17th, 2011
12:48 am

“Najeh, were you at the scrimmage?”

Nah, I just saw most of the stream on Hawks.com. Those are just my impressions from watching the stream. I’ll gladly defer to people who were actually there watching, but it didn’t seem from what I saw like most of the regulars were going all out.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 17th, 2011
12:52 am

I really hope either Sloan or Wanamaker proves himself worthy of the backup PG job in preseason, though. Being able to use Kirk’s expiring contract as a trade chip to fill other roster needs will be huge when the trade deadline rolls around. $9 million can bring in a lot of help.

superiorblogman

December 17th, 2011
12:52 am

I like Jeff Teague if he ever realizes he is not a scorer in the NBA and just decides to create for others there will be big problems for the league, it will not be this year though.

#1 Josh Fan

December 17th, 2011
12:55 am

The hawks are will be slightly above average.

#1 Josh Fan

December 17th, 2011
12:55 am

are and will be

doc

December 17th, 2011
1:25 am

g dad, mass is mass, when it is of equal strength mass wins. however, it is not all about mass as bird showed everyone, it can be about guile, quickness, effort, etc. we all know what josh can do with effort and quickness it is the guile part that holds him back and his oppositional attitude that shows from time to time.

i think his weight is more where it needs to be for the near term and long haul and once again shows how dedicated he is to the game as each summer he works on something he changes to make himself better. the head may follow as he is now at an age of 26, where if a boy is going to grown into a man, his synapses to the prefrontal cortex connects and are now complete. that means executive decision making function, that is reasoning, turns on and better decisions are made in general.