If you are wondering if things are all good as far as Ivan Johnson is concerned, consider the scene at the end of Hawks practice today.
“Hey, Ivan, did I shoot you out?” Larry Drew called out.
“I let you win,” Ivan responded.
Drew schooled Ivan in a game of H-O-R-S-E before practice, then afterwards said there would be no more discipline for the rookie’s verbal altercation with teammates during the Celtics game.
“He’s back to full status,” Drew said. “He came in and gave me a big hug this morning. I brought him in this morning and shot him out before we got started. He’s back on board.”
I know this is the kind of thing that inspires conspiracy theories among those who like to fashion the facts to fit their preferred narrative about Drew’s relationship with players. But there’s no evidence there will be any lingering fallout from this. Heck, Drew kept playing Josh Powell after he suspended him last season, and it’s not like Powell was giving the Hawks much.
Also remember that Drew played Tracy McGrady 22 minutes the very next game after he publicly complained about his playing time and 15 minutes in the game after that. McGrady’s subsequent reduced role was about his declining production and withdrawn demeanor, not his gripes. McGrady has been noticeably more engaged lately and, what do you know, he’s getting more time (and playing better).
Ivan said he’s ready to move on.
“It’s things I’ve got to learn in the league, how to channel my anger,” he said. “It’s still going good, it’s just the heat of the moment, man. I’m so competitive in a game that you want to win, you don’t want no mistakes to happen.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks