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 in that their efficiency stays strong. Lou is used to coming in and taking a load off a game, for example. Devin Harris has been an all-star and has played at a high level.

“I think we will just be a different team. Some roles will change some and evolve. Whether that’s Josh, whether that’s Al, whether that’s Jeff or Devon, that’s going to have to unfold by itself. I can’t create that. The guys in the locker room create that. The coaches create that.”

I thought it was an interesting point in the statement by Ferry that the usage rate of those veterans may go up. Ferry did say he considers depth – along with speed and shooting ability – to be a strength of the Hawks this season.

What are your thoughts about the on-court leadership of the Hawks?

- Chris Vivlamore

97 comments Add your comment

MsDee

September 26th, 2012
10:57 am

first..YEAH!!

MsDee

September 26th, 2012
11:01 am

I like that it will now be more than 1 person to focus on this season. This way it keeps the defense honest. Anyone can truly hit the BIG shot now. I am SO looking forward to this season..GO HAWKS

Joe Johnson

September 26th, 2012
11:02 am

How is Korver going to be vocal? No one is going to listen to someone who can only shoot threes and can’t defend a chair.

show me state

September 26th, 2012
11:02 am

The Hawks will have a great season. Some are optimistic about that analysis but this a veteran group and a better team in my opinion than last year. Change is good! Btw its Devin not Devon.

Astro Joe

September 26th, 2012
11:11 am

FTPB.
Strickland, I have long held that Van Exel has had a positive impact on Teague. Specifically, the little floater that has helped Teague become a much better player. I recall Teague having his shot blocked quite often when he was a rookie, because he wasn’t used to the quickness and athleticism of NBA bigs who could swat his lay-up attempts. NVE had a lethal floater as a player and I think that Teague has been much better shooting in the lane because of NVE’s help. I say all of that because I think Jenkins could also likely use a floater. Obviously, when the defender sees him standing behind the 3 line, they will attempt to “run him off” that shot. If Jenkins learns to pump fake and drive and get off a successful floater he could easily become a very potent offensive player. That floater won’t happen after 2 days or even 2 months… it will take time. As I said the other day, if Jenkins doesn’t get a ton of playing time before the trade deadline, I don’t think it would stunt his growth… NVE could be spending quality time with him geting him ready for life after either Korver and/or Morrow are traded. I still believe that player development isn’t just about giving guys time in real games… I think the bulk of player development happens out-of-sight of the most devoted bloggers/fans.

Astro Joe

September 26th, 2012
11:14 am

I hope that LD allows the players to select 1-2 captains. 3 captains selected by the head coach doesn’t work too well.

PEDRO EL GITANO

September 26th, 2012
11:28 am

PG:D.Harris-J.Teague
SG:L.Williams-A.Morrow-D.Stevenson-J.Jenkins
SF:A.Tolliver-D.James-K.Korver
PF:J.Smith-I.Johnson-M.Scott
C:A.Horford-Z.Pachulia-K.Benson-J.Petro
SOLO BOSTON Y BROOKLYN PODRÍAN COMPETIR CON ESTE EQUIPAZO!!
UNA PLANTILLA HECHA A MI GUSTO!!!!!!!!!!!

NORRIS CHUCK

September 26th, 2012
11:42 am

PG:D.Harris-J.Teague
SG:L.Williams-A.Morrow-D.Stevenson-J.Jenkins
SF:A.Tolliver-D.James-K.Korver
PF:J.Smith-I.Johnson-M.Scott
C:A.Horford-Z.Pachulia-K.Benson-J.Petro

Thats about as much balance you could get under what Ferry has to work with. Im excited. Now if they could pick up big that could help spead the court, i would be even more excited!

2 FOR JOHN DREW

September 26th, 2012
11:44 am

My fellow bloggers : I have 2 things I can’t figure out, 1)What does FTPB mean ? and 2) – I know PG, SG, SF, PF But C is now OC ? Thanks

Astro Joe

September 26th, 2012
11:51 am

JOhn Drew, FTPB=From The Previous Blog. References a discussion carried over from an earlier blog.

jsmoove

September 26th, 2012
11:51 am

I hope you put time and effort to do your articles. I really hope you can give us some insight on the latest. Anyways, welcome to the club.

Astro Joe

September 26th, 2012
11:52 am

And my guess, regardless of who the designated team captains are, Josh, Al and Lou will emerge as the team leaders.

Astro Joe

September 26th, 2012
11:59 am

If the NBA had a version of Hard Knocks (behind the scenes of a pre-season training camp), I would like to see the interaction between KG and Darko. While Darko was clearly not worthy of his draft slot, he has flashed some interesting talents in his poor career. It would be fascinating to see if KG could make an impact on him, much like he did with several other bigs who he mentored in Boston. Same goes for Fab Melo and Sullinger.

Jimmy Crack

September 26th, 2012
12:22 pm

Josh is the heart of the team who heats everybody up.
Al is the team leader who cools everybody down when they’re too hot.
Teague is the tip of the spear who’s in charge of the play.
Zaza & Ivan are the Equalizers in the paint.
Everybody else is trying out to be the guy who takes “The Shot”.

2 FOR JOHN DREW

September 26th, 2012
12:32 pm

Ahhhhhhhh thanks Astro Joe ….. OC ? Offensive Center ?

stevethehawk

September 26th, 2012
12:37 pm

I would like somebody to explain what Joe’s leadership role was last year? Couldn’t tell he had one…

Astro Joe

September 26th, 2012
12:39 pm

DREW, yes. Although, I’ve never seen anyone use DC (defensive center), so it makes no sense to me. I’m old school…C, or beter yet, combine C/PF and call them bigs and SG/SF and call them wings… in today’s NBA, those positions are often interchangeable.

MsDee

September 26th, 2012
12:39 pm

Yes, John Drew. Offensive Center

MsDee

September 26th, 2012
12:40 pm

Yea, Asto Joe, I think KenS came up with OC, not sure why but indeed I think thats where it came from

The Truth

September 26th, 2012
12:50 pm

“I think we will just be a different team. Some roles will change some and evolve. Whether that’s Josh, whether that’s Al, whether that’s Jeff or Devon, that’s going to have to unfold by itself. I can’t create that. The guys in the locker room create that. The coaches create that.”

This statement is typical manifestation of Danny as an NBA player from a championship team; his understanding of group dynamics and how the team maturation process work, how championship teams are built. A complete about face of the past when LD under Sund (who didn’t have a clue) was assigning roles based on egos and salaries to pacify players while creating double standards.

I’m sensing with his upgraded staff, Danny has raised the standards by which the players must meet to be successful. The new environment along with the upgraded roster should certainly produce a different Hawk product compared to the past.

However, the verdict will be out as to whether this new and different Hawk product will be better than the past. Despite the ISOs, JJ with his mismatches was a great stabilizing force when the team chips were down and needed a lift. His size absence along with the team pre-existing shortcomings are now glaring weaknesses though Danny statements suggest he’ll rather concentrate on the Hawks “new” strength:

“Ferry did say he considers depth – along with speed and shooting ability – to be strength of the Hawks this season.”

“We shall See” if indeed this is the case. While the Hawks think they will be better, the other NBA teams no doubt feel the same way (at this point in the season).

Buddy G

September 26th, 2012
12:58 pm

“Who will assume his leadership role?”

C-Viv, please clarify: what leadership role? Joe Johnson was the antithesis of a leader.

swatguy

September 26th, 2012
1:01 pm

The “Big Dog” will rise from training camp. Which small guy has the most “Dog”, Jeff, Lou or Harris? Which “Big”? Will Al defer to Josh? Do anyone on this roster have more “Dog” than DaShawn Stevenson or Ivan? I think Ivan, Lou and DeShawn have the strongest personalities. Depending on his on-court ability, DS may be our “Alonzo Mourning”. It sets up for Al to grow or shrink, Josh to evolve into a no-doubt “All-Star” or just very good. I hope LD is prepared because this group has much more personality than we have known since the Mookie, Dekembe SS days.

Mick

September 26th, 2012
1:02 pm

Joe never said anything, so he was never a vocal leader. So the same guys who lead last year, Josh and Al, and probably Lou and hopefully Teague mans up.

Buddy G

September 26th, 2012
1:05 pm

The only type of leadership Joe provided was leadership by example. Joe and Josh came into camp last year in tremendous shape. By contrast, Al Horford showed up out of shape. But as far as vocal leadership, everybody on this blog knows that Joe Johnson’s few mumbled words here and there were no type of leadership.

So, C-Viv, we’re all pretty much waiting for you to report on the first day of training camp. Did Josh do it again? Did he show up in the best shape of his life for the second year in a row? Did other players follow his example? What kind of shape is Ivan in? He was carrying too much weight last season. Has he dropped any? Zaza led Georgia in scoring but did not appear in several of the games during Eurobasket 2013 qualifying. Does he have any lingering injuries? Did Al Horford stay in shape after the failed Olympic qualifier? Or did he once again show up to camp out of shape?

These are all questions we are waiting for you to answer as soon as training camp opens. If the majority of the team shows up in prime physical condition ready for an 82-game schedule, it will be pretty obvious that Josh was the leader by example.

This team will live and die by Josh’s leadership. If he stops chucking long twos and takes his game inside, he will be statistically similar to Blake Griffin and have the All-Star appearance to show for it. If Josh continues to try to play point guard, try to be Kobe Bryant, and makes a fool of himself bricking jumpers while surrounded by shooters more qualified to take those shots, the Hawks will self-destruct right along with him.

This is the year Josh Smith proves if he is a franchise player or not. As Josh goes, so go the Hawks. He is the vocal leader. He is the leader by example. It’s all on Josh.

ag

September 26th, 2012
1:09 pm

The first preseason game is the same week camp starts?

cory dillinger

September 26th, 2012
1:21 pm

Honestly I don’t share the good feelings about this Hawks team. I honestly think this is a 20 win team. The good thing is that the losses will be 145 to 129 so there will be a lot of scoreing going on in most games. I still am a fan but don’t the Hawks will make the playoffs for another 7 years.

O'Brien

September 26th, 2012
1:22 pm

FTPB,

Steven A,

Mehemet Okur is still out there. He would be an upgrade at the “5″ position. Our “5″ needs to average 12-14 rebounds per game and 18 points. Right now, we do not have anyone capable of doing that!!!.

Last I checked, Mehmet Okur has career averages of 13.5 pts, and 7 rebs per game. 7 rebs per game from a center who is 6’11, and 260 lbs. Oh by the way, he only played in 17 games last year, and 13 games the season before. There is a reason no one has signed him yet.

Ken Strickland

September 26th, 2012
1:23 pm

ASTRO JOE-I was going to do just what you just did to respond to your previous post. I totally agree with your assessment of NVEs influence on JTeague. It would have been nice if LDrew had allowed Teague to take advantage of what he’d learned from Nick the yr he became the HC. In Harris, Teague, and Williams, the Hawks now have 3 guards that can and will be leaders on the court.

Also, when I mentioned the excellent midrange gm that Jenkins has, I was referring to his ability to fake the 3 when challenged, then step inside the 3pt line and score. His scouting report didn’t say anything about how well he finished at the rim. Anyone that saw him play during the Summer League saw him use that move and score. He’s not just a 3pt sharpshooter like Korver.

MARTIN-From the previous blog. I agree with you on that. I seriously doubt if Ferry will offer Josh a max contract, which would basically negate what he did when he traded away JJs max contract. If Josh wants a 5yr max contract and Ferry isn’t willing to give it to him, then a sign and trade is the only way he’ll be able to get one.

We all know that Ferry’s #1 priority in next yrs FA will be an OC. If he’s successful in getting one, along with a quality SF, Josh’s days as a Hawk could be numbered. Ferry could possibly gets one by doing a sign and trade with Josh. He might also use one of our 2 1st rd picks to draft one. Then again, if either Anderson or James steps up, it would make the position a nonfactor.

With this being the 5th yr Josh and Horford have played together, and they’d played together extremely well, I’d hate to see the dynamic duo broken up. It will all depend on how well Josh plays and how much money he’ll want to remain a Hawk.

Hawks fan

September 26th, 2012
1:23 pm

We got the women getting in first! Handle your business Ms. Dee!

O'Brien

September 26th, 2012
1:23 pm

AJ,

Maybe LD’s plan is to name 5 co-captains. But I’m with you. LD needs to let the players elect captains. And if that happens, it will be Josh and Al (imo).

Astro Joe

September 26th, 2012
1:26 pm

And in LD’s initial year as head coach, after stating that he would reduce the offense’s reliance on Joe, Joe Johnson (reportedly) finished first in LD’s one mile test of pre-camp conditioning. There are way too many examples of players NOT acting like professionals… so yeah, Joe led by example in many ways because he was always professional in his preparation and even in the manner that he handled little things like interactions with referees.

some sense

September 26th, 2012
1:32 pm

Still one bead short of a rosary. Mediocre at best w/ current roster.

Ken Strickland

September 26th, 2012
1:32 pm

MSDEE-Yes, I was the one who came up with OC. I did it because it made it easier to list players by position and keep everything aligned.

Ken Strickland

September 26th, 2012
1:43 pm

I’m also the one that came up with the phrase ANAL MINDED MORON, and it has certainly fit some of our bloggers. It’s hard to believe it all starts in just 7 days. I can’t wait to see if James and Anderson have fully recovered from their injuries, with no lingering effects, and how well they perform.

I’m also excited about seeing how well JJenkins performs. There’s something about him that peeks my interest. Maybe it’s the constant comparisons that have been made with Reggie Miller when he came out of college. I don’t think there will be any surprises with the other players we have under contract.

CBNYC

September 26th, 2012
1:56 pm

You can have leaders on the team, but only one true caption. I can’t see Josh being one of the leaders he sulks too much and doesn’t play hard and within his skill set all the time. Horford would be good but his nature is to be laid back. Lou won’t be playing enough to be leader. It points to Devin Harris coming in an establishing himself. In addition two points won’t work. Teague is talented and going to want to play. He is good enough to play 40- 45 minutes right now bur Hawks won’t let him and every little mistake will be noticed. He makes no more mistakes or turnovers than any other point guard in the league. Check the stats. They need to trade one of the guards too many too small.

Grandad

September 26th, 2012
1:56 pm

Ken Strickland

I`m glad you cleared that up my friend.
I was about to go off on a “dissertation”
about “OC” and my true feelings.
-However-
Since it was you;
I will simply say, I`m gonna stick with [5].

Suffice to say we disagree on this one;
-but-
I concede, to your logic.

Grandad

September 26th, 2012
1:59 pm

C-Viv

I wish to Xpress my appreciation for your new approach to the blog.
The rapidity with which you bring articles / news / stories / blogs …
is most appreciated.

Buddy G

September 26th, 2012
2:30 pm

“I seriously doubt if Ferry will offer Josh a max contract, which would basically negate what he did when he traded away JJs max contract.”

That all depends on how this season goes. Josh is taking a big risk playing out the season without a long-term contract. Any injury setbacks are going to hit him right in the wallet. But if he plays out the year and remains healthy and leads the Hawks to the ECF, nobody is going to question if he deserves a max contract.

Astro Joe

September 26th, 2012
2:33 pm

Buddy, if Josh leads this roster to the ECF in 2013, he should immediately be inducted in the HOF.

Astro Joe

September 26th, 2012
2:35 pm

And LD needs to beinducted with him.

Buddy G

September 26th, 2012
2:41 pm

I’m LD’s harshest critic, but I believe he is trying to get better. If he takes this team to the ECF he deserves a long-term extension. This is a make-or-break year for Josh and LD. Gonna be hella interesting. I’m on the edge of my seat already.

2 FOR JOHN DREW

September 26th, 2012
2:54 pm

Thanks y’all ….. I’m good now

O'Brien

September 26th, 2012
3:06 pm

Buddy,

I’m LD’s harshest critic, but I believe he is trying to get better..

Of course he is trying to get better. The question is…is he getting better. I actually think he will be better this year, even if it doesnt translate into more wins.

O'Brien

September 26th, 2012
3:10 pm

AJ,

I think the Hawks will make the playoffs and lose in the first round.
If Josh goes out and averages 18, 10, and 3, and is the leading scorer in the playoffs, I can see another team offering him the 4 year max, which might force the Hawks to offer the 5 year max and overpay.

Hawks_4_Life

September 26th, 2012
3:21 pm

Guys are we having the fantasy b-ball this season?

tjhook

September 26th, 2012
3:30 pm

@CBNYC,

Thank you for resounding the words I have been spouting about Devin Harris. EXPERIENCE COUNTS! Devin Harris will take this team by the (talons?) and show that he is a true scoring and passing threat; just as importantly he is experienced enough to up the IQ of his teammates. He has played with Morrow, James, and Petro so he knows their strengths and weaknesses. Teague is still learning HIS OWN strengths and weaknesses.
I really want to see what kind of chemistry Harris and Smith have because I think everyone else can eat off the productivity that those two can create. All the shooters will get good looks on offense and Zaza will get a lot of drop off feeds around the basket. I have a question about how effective Horford can be with this group but when Big Al hustles he makes a lot of plays that people are not expecting. I really wish we’d acquired Harris before trading Joe but it is what it is. Joe’s money was too much and Devin has a chance to make our team worth following again.

tjhook

September 26th, 2012
3:30 pm

re-sounding*

Ken Strickland

September 26th, 2012
3:38 pm

OBRIEN-I don’t think Josh will force Ferry into offering a max contract. If Josh receives a max contract offer from another team, Ferry will let him know the Hawks won’t match it. That’s when Josh will agree to a sign and trade so that he can get a 5yr max contract. A sign and trade helps the other team unload a contract or 2 to offset the additional salary.

Ken Strickland

September 26th, 2012
3:51 pm

It won’t matter whether Teague or Harris starts at PG. We’ll be improved at the position no matter which one starts. I believe that any of the SG candidates will be an improvement over Hinrich and his 6.6PPG and diminished DEF ability.

Astro Joe

September 26th, 2012
3:55 pm

Strickland, the new CBA does not allow player to get a 5 year deal in a S&T. The reason a player agrees to an S&T now is because the team he wants to sign with doesn’t have the cap room to sign him at the desired salary.

OB, I’m not sure about that. I think several of Josh’s numbers come from a high usage… which may not be his role in Ferry’s design.