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 they show they are capable of being a starter and if their play speaks in volume, I’m certainly going to have to consider that. With all the new faces, we are going to have to go out and see what we have.”
Drew spoke highly of Johnson and Williams. He said their loss will take some of the team’s versatility away. However someone will have an opportunity to step up.
“Both of those guys did a phenomenal job for me,” Drew said. “I really appreciate everything that they did. Not just as Hawks players but they were both outstanding young men. When you make a decision to trade a Joe Johnson or a Marvin Williams, certain guys who have been a fixture of your organization, things just don’t happen overnight. Both of those guys were very key and big pieces to our puzzle. Both of those guys are guys who brought something to the table. This opens up opportunities for new guys, guys who have been here, guys who are coming in. It doesn’t happen overnight. Starting next Tuesday, 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 Marvin played a huge role for us because he had the versatility of a starter and he was very productive coming off the bench. We are going to have to roll our sleeves up, bust our behinds and lay it on the line night in and night out.”
I will try to get an indication of what the starting lineup plans are from the limited about of practice I’m allowed to watch come Tuesday. Perhaps the biggest indicator on who will step in will come next Sunday with the first preseason game. Stay tuned.
- Chris Vivlamore
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