Archive for September, 2012

Atlanta Hawks: Five training camp questions

Vivlamore with today’s Hawks report.

As the Hawks officially kick off training camp Monday, the AJC takes a look at five things that will be determined with practices and exhibition games prior to the start of the regular season.

1. Who will replace the scoring of Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams?

Johnson was traded to the Nets and Williams to the Jazz as the rebuilt Hawks lost two-fifths of their starting lineup. Johnson averaged 18.8 points per game, tied with Josh Smith for the lead lead. Williams averaged 10.2 points per game. The combined 29 points a game represented 30 percent of the offense.

“Both of those guys were very key and big pieces to our puzzle,” coach Larry Drew said. “This opens up opportunities for new guys, guys who have been here, guys who are coming in. It doesn’t happen overnight. We are going to have to lace it up and really go to work and try to, as a team, try to step up. Everybody has to step their game up now. You lose an all-star in Joe and …

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Atlanta Hawks: The next phase of the Ferry Project gets underway

Vivlamore reporting. Here is the training camp preview story that will appear in Sunday’s paper. I hope you enjoy.

Call it the Ferry Project.

When Danny Ferry took over as Hawks general manager in June he considered his inheritance a good team. However, not one that was capable of bringing Atlanta an NBA championship.

So Ferry set about his re-construction project on a team that had made the playoffs five straight seasons. He jettisoned six-time all-star Joe Johnson and his max contract to the Nets. He sent former first-round draft pick Marvin Williams to the Jazz. Johnson and Williams made up two-fifths of the starting lineup who will need to be replaced. There is nearly an entire new group of bench players.

The Hawks opening training camp Monday with only five returning players – Josh Smith, Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Zaza Pachulia and Ivan Johnson. That’s it.

“Our depth is going to be good, we are going to have some speed and we are going to be able to shoot the …

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Atlanta Hawks: Drew on the rotation at point guard, center

Vivlamore with today’s Hawks report.

As promised, here is a little more from my pre-training camp interview with Hawks coach Larry Drew. You -  and I -  are curious about what the rotations will be at point guard with Jeff Teague, Devin Harris and Lou Williams and at center with Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia and others.

Here is how LD answered:

Q: Can you share how you will rotate the point guards?

A: As of right now, I don’t know. I know that by bringing in Devin Harris we bring in another guy who is basically a speed merchant. A guy who can get from one end of the floor to the other. A guy who has the ability to run pick-and-rolls, break the defense down, he’s a good passer. He’s smart. He can make a 3[-pointer]. Lou Williams comes in and we know he can score. He’s a great pick-and-roll guy, a great open-court guy. I have three guys that basically are guys who can impact the game. As far as rotation right now, right now I don’t know. I know that I will be smaller in …

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Atlanta Hawks: Training camp roster released (updated)

Vivlamore reporting.

The Hawks’ initial training camp roster features 18 players, five more than the 13 currently under guaranteed contracts.

Additions to the roster are James Anderson, Keith Benson, Damion James, Carldell ‘Squeaky’ Johnson and Anthony Tolliver. Benson and James are former Hawks draft picks.

It is possible the Hawks could add a player in the next day or two before the start of training camp with a media day on Monday and first practice on Tuesday.

“It’s really just a matter of getting everybody in [camp],” coach Larry Drew said of his roster of veterans, rookies and invitees.  “Once you get all the pieces to the component, then you can really see how guys gel off one another and who plays well with one another.”

Many Hawks players have been at Philips Arena the past several weeks working out on their own.

* Anderson is a former first-round pick of the Spurs in 2010 (20th overall). The 6-foot-6 guard played in 77 games over the past two seasons …

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Atlanta Hawks: Wanted – two starters

Vivlamore with today’s Hawks report.

I spent a half hour talking to coach Larry Drew this morning. I came away with lots of stuff that will be making its way into this blog and training camp previews in the coming days.

One of the questions on my list was how would the team replace Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams, two regular starters?

Drew wouldn’t tip his hand this early about their replacements just yet. Oh, he has an idea but will let training camp play out.

“It’s an open competition,” Drew told the AJC. “I would be lying if I said I didn’t have an idea but part of this whole process is looking at different combinations and a lot of our camp is going to be about that. Just to get a real feel for the 10-11 new faces that we have coming in here. I don’t want to pigeon hole and say this is who is going to be the starter. I don’t want to do that. I want to go out and starting next Tuesday, I want guys to go out and know that they have an opportunity, particularly if …

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Atlanta Hawks: Who is the on-court leader?

Vivlamore with today’s Hawks report.

Who is the on-court leader of the Hawks?

With the departure of the co-captain Joe Johnson via trade this off-season, one question facing the Hawks this season, starting with the training camp next week, is who will assume his leadership role.

A. Josh Smith, who was the other co-captain last season.

B. Al Horford, who is healthy again.

C. One of the many new faces that joined the team this off-season, such as Devin Harris, Lou Williams or Kyle Korver?

The answer might just be:

D. All of the above.

(Isn’t it always D in multiple choice tests?)

“The leader of this team is the team,” general manager Danny Ferry said Tuesday. “There are guys who are going to be more vocal. Kyle is going to be more vocal than people have had here, I think. I think Lou will definitely [play a leadership role]. As far as roles, certainly Devin and Jeff [Teague] and Al and Josh, these guys have been around. There usage rate may go up a little more. Hopefully …

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Atlanta Hawks: New contract for Smith ‘unlikely’ this season

Vivlamore reporting.

Josh Smith is entering the final year of his current contract with the Hawks but it is “unlikely” that he will be re-signed before the end of the upcoming season. The forward is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Don’t panic yet Hawks fans.

Under the rules of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, it could be advantageous for Smith, and to some degree the Hawks, to wait on a new contract. In simplest terms, if Smith re-signs with the Hawks before June 30, the extension can be for only a maximum of three years. If he waits until after his contract expires, he can re-sign for up to five years.

According to Hawks general manager Danny Ferry, Smith and his agents have said he would like to remain in Atlanta.

“I’ve been clear that I value Josh as a player,” Ferry told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He has worked hard this summer and I believe he is going to have great season. I’ve been in contact with …

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Updated: Tolliver will be in Hawks training camp

Vivlamore reporting.

Sorry folks, was involved in some interviews to prepare for the start of Hawks training camp one week from today. You ready?

The Hawks will start training camp on Tuesday with 13 already guaranteed contracts and as many as seven other players competing for a roster spot. The Hawks may, or may not, carry the limit of 15 guaranteed so they have some flexibility after the start of the season or  for the trade market. However, there will be two spots up for competition. I expect the full training camp roster to be announced some time this week.

One player I know will be in camp is Anthony Tolliver. The forward played the past two seasons with the Timberwolves, where he averaged 4.1 points and 3.0 rebounds in 51 games. He has also played for the Spurs, Trail Blazers and Warriors. He was with the Cavaliers after going undrafted out of Creighton University in 2003, but never played. Tolliver’s one-year contract is not guaranteed.

Over his five-year career, …

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Handing off . . .

Whenever I’m asked why I call my blog people “my blog people” I always think back to something I wrote when I started the Hawks beat for the AJC.

“I care that you care. It’s my job to give you your Hawks fix and I take that responsibility seriously, but I hope we can have some fun along the way. My aim is to be informative, entertaining, fair, interesting and, above all else, honest.”

Now that I’m (sort of) moving on my hope is that, on balance, I’ve met those goals more often than not.

I’ve moved to a new role as a general assignment sports reporter for the AJC. Chris Vivlamore is now the AJC’s Hawks beat writer. He’s a real pro and I’m sure he will do good work giving you your Hawks fix.

In my new role I will be covering all of the teams we follow at the AJC. That means you’ll still see my byline on Hawks stories and on the blog, but you’ll also see it lots of other places in the newspaper and at ajc.com.

I sincerely appreciate my blog people for giving me an audience for …

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Atlanta Hawks: Narain named VP of Public Relations

Vivlamore reporting.

The Hawks named Garin Narain as Vice President of Public Relations, the team announced Monday.

Narain joins the Hawks after spending the past nine years in the basketball communications department of the Cavaliers, most recently as director of basketball communications.

A native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Narain attended the University of Florida.

- Chris Vivlamore

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