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 the backcourt than I have in the past. I don’t have that versatility that I had by moving Joe [Johnson] to the 2-guard and using his size. What those guys bring, they bring an unbelievable amount of speed and quickness to the game. Speed and quickness, we’ll be in the open-court more, running more pick-and-rolls, just utilizing what the strengths are. With those three guys, they bring an incredible amount of speed to the game.

Q: Will you use a similar rotation at center this season by starting Al Horford?

A: Yes, I would say there will be a similar rotation. [Horford's] ability to play some 5, his ability to play some 4, certainly enables me to use him in different ways, different capacities. Zaza played extremely well for us last year, particularly when Al went down. He has shown that he has the ability to be a starter. I’m not going to completely rule that out. I think there are going to be some times when we start Zaza at the 5 and Al at the 4. I’ve been in situations where I’ve used that combination and moved Josh [Smith] to some 3. I want to allow myself that type of flexibility again. I think with the makeup of our team right now, I don’t think we will be as big and as versatile particularly without Joe [Johnson] or Marvin [Williams] where we could move both of those guys to the 2 or 3. We may be a little smaller but I think we will be a lot quicker. I think we will be a team that will really move the basketball because we have good passers. But I really want to allow myself the versatility to be able to move things around.

- Chris Vivlamore

THE LATEST NEWS

* Initial training camp roster released

* Wanted: Two new starters

* Who is the on-court leader?

* Smith “unlikely” to re-sign during season

* Tolliver will be on training camp roster

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

55 comments Add your comment

Ra'mon

September 28th, 2012
2:13 pm

Great blog CV.

DS

September 28th, 2012
2:21 pm

Teague should definitely start, and let Jenkins go with the starters. A second unit lead by DHarris and Lou would be unstoppable. But give Teague the keys to the team!

Jesse

September 28th, 2012
2:26 pm

DS, good point. They just need to run and gun. Get Al and J-Smith out on the wings and just run. Even on made baskets. Use the speed.

Ra'mon

September 28th, 2012
2:28 pm

I have to say that I think the big rotation depends a lot on James, Anderson and Korver’s ability to man the 3 position. If they show up and play with high energy, I’m all for James and Anderson making the team, even over Tolliver. I actually think that Scott will be battling Tolliver for his spot on the roster. If James, Anderson, and Korver can effectively man the SF position, this will allow LD to use his regular lineup of Al at the C more. I’m liking the addition of James and Anderson because if healthy, they will be the most athletic players on the bench the Hawks have had since Josh rookie season. Having Williams, Harris, Jenkins, James, Anderson, and Zaza on the bench would give the Hawks a second unit that can run with most starting units.

The Truth

September 28th, 2012
2:34 pm

“He’s smart (Devin Harris). He can make a 3[-pointer]”

LD seems to be caught-up in his emotions early. Devin shoot 36% from the 3-pt line last season and that was a career high.

Jay

September 28th, 2012
2:42 pm

Sucks we lost some versatility. Hope there is another trade because we need to unload a pg…we can’t constantly be undersized in the backcourt.

Grandad

September 28th, 2012
2:51 pm

C-Viv:

You are the man !

I`m glad LD gave Zaza some props.
Zaza deserves every opportunity to start after doing yeoman`s
labor last season !
Zaza is a Great Teammate & deserves the chance to excell.

Zaza is the perfect compliment to Al & Josh in the frontcourt.

Yawl know my feelins about Josh playin` the [3];
he`s a basketball player which = he can play basketball.
-simple- … ! … or in other words -kiss- … !

O'Brien

September 28th, 2012
3:03 pm

Unless Harris thoroughly outplays Teague in camp, I think Teague will get the starting nod over Harris.

Zaza is the best backup center in the league, but at the end of his contract next year, I wonder if a team will overpay him to be their starter.

HueyFreeman

September 28th, 2012
3:04 pm

CV, great job with the regular coverage! It’s nice to have regular updates on here, however small. MC definitely checked out on us months ago.

Teague earned the starting PG spot, Zaza earned the starting C spot last year. Start DH at the 2 for now until Jenkins is ready to man that (if he gets there). Have Lou as the 6th man similar to Harden closing out the game at SG for OKC.

There is no starting caliber SF, and I haven’t seen enough out of James or Anderson yet so I guess slide Josh Smith over there and just keep him in the post as much as possible. I don’t like Al at the PF as much as Josh but the big lineup is better for matching up in the post against teams with a traditional PF and C like the Lakers and the Grizzlies.

Between Korver, Stevenson, Jenkins, Morrow, and Anderson there’s too many guys with similar skill sets. Lou is more of a SG, off-ball type guard than Teague or DH. I wonder how the rotation and trades will eventually play out.

Grandad

September 28th, 2012
3:14 pm

vava: [from earlier this morn]

*Concerning Benson:
… touche` …

When I said KB was not a b-b player;
I should have qualified that statement and stated:
” at the NBA level ”
I just felt, after the SL, my opinionon of young Mr Benson was/is:
he didn`t have the ingredients to be a rotational player.

Sure, he can ride the bench for a non-contender,
for a couple of years.
But, once again [opinion], as a team wishing to build a
Winning Culture, Benson did not show me:
he has what it takes.

I do appreciate the civility of discourse
and the respectful manner with which you disagreed.

I actually hope I am wrong about the young man.

I hope he shows up at camp and plays like a badger.

Grandad

September 28th, 2012
3:16 pm

HueyFreeman

Did MC ever really check in ?

Joe Johnson

September 28th, 2012
3:32 pm

Same old sh*t. LD clueless as always.

BravesFan79

September 28th, 2012
3:38 pm

Teague, Morrow, Smith, Horford, Zaza. Our best 5.

AG

September 28th, 2012
3:45 pm

I am very disappointed (but not surprised) that LD did not say JT0 is the starting PG. If JT0 doesn’t start, he will be setting this franchise back. Bringing in D.Harris and starting him was similar to the previous season by bringing KH in at $8million. Harris should be the backup and JT0 should continue to play 53-40 minutes per game.

O'Brien

September 28th, 2012
3:48 pm

NBA could be going after floppers (or their money anyways).

From si.com;

One note from ref camp: NBA is close to finalizing policy on flopping. Will not carry in-game penalty. Will be reviewed after. Poss fine.— . Howard Beck (@HowardBeckNYT

New “flopping”rules in NBA. Game refs won’t make these calls. League will review tape & notify offending floppers next day.#nbameetings.— . David Steele (@SteeleMagic)

O'Brien

September 28th, 2012
3:50 pm

AG,

I think Teague will be the starter, but LD could be using it as a motivational tool to continue to push Teague to work hard, and not get complacent.

AG

September 28th, 2012
3:50 pm

I have watched to many Hawk games to want ZaZa as our starting center. As O’Brien stated, he is a good center coming off the bench. You like the attitude, the toughness, but face it guys, he can’t jump over a business card laying flat! He is not athletic at all. They say work beats talent when talent does not work hard – but at this level, talent works hard! I cannot stand watching ZaZa fumbling great passes out of bounds, or getting offensive rebounds and missing easy shots! With Horford starting, we have another finisher on the court.

BravesFan79

September 28th, 2012
3:51 pm

Id like to see the Hawks break the bank, bring in a offensive coach like a Don Nelson or the old Phoenix Suns coach.

Ken Strickland

September 28th, 2012
3:51 pm

JAY-there were many who felt the Pistons backcourt of Dumars, Thomas and Johnson was too undersized to win a title, but we all know how that turned out don’t we. Let’s face it, the backcourt rotation of our defending NBA title holders(Miami Heat) could also be considered undersized. If fact, if we started any of our SG candidates, other than LWilliams, our starting backcourt would be about the same size as Miami’s.

This undersized crap is just that, especially if one considers size and height the only criteria that matters. Throughout NBA history players have overcome a perceived lack of height and/or size by using speed, quickness, athleticism, aggressiveness, versatility, and/or intelligence.

I don’t know how many of you remember a little 6′1″ PG named Nate Archiball, who overcame the undersized label to become the only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring and assists in the same yr. What about HOF Charles Barkley, who would definitely be considered an undersized PF at 6′ 4″, or Wes Unseld, who could also be considered an undersized C at 6′7″? This undersized crap just doesn’t hold water.

AG

September 28th, 2012
3:52 pm

O’Brien, he clearly said Al was the starter. Why not clearly say JT0 is the starter. He certainly deserves it more than ZaZa. The more JT0 plays, the better he will get. He will average 15/8 assist easy on this team as long as he is on the floor.

Chris Vivlamore

September 28th, 2012
3:52 pm

Blog folks: Check back later tonight, around 8 p.m., and I will post the training camp preview story that will run in Sunday’s paper.

AG

September 28th, 2012
3:54 pm

I am really torn about the starting 2 and 3 spot. Those are the only positions to debate. I hope Jenkins could start, but I don’t want to automatically make Lou the 6th man candidate. Give him an opportunity to start at the 2.

AG

September 28th, 2012
3:55 pm

Chris, thank you for keeping the blog fresh and finding stories.

prison mike

September 28th, 2012
4:03 pm

Damn CV is hitting the ground running like a giraffe. But yeah, Zaza will start with Josh at the 3 when we go up against big teams like Philly and Crooklyn.

Buddy G

September 28th, 2012
4:03 pm

“I have to say that I think the big rotation depends a lot on James, Anderson and Korver’s ability to man the 3 position.” – Ra’mon

I agree. Here’s what I said about the power rotation in July:

http://repatl.blogspot.com/2012/07/as-it-stands-look-at-hawks-roster.html

“This could be either a strength or a weakness depending on what happens with the small forward position… The hole in the Hawks’ perimeter defense may prove to be just as large as the current hole at small forward. Furthermore, the two are interrelated. How Ferry addresses the small forward position is going to have a significant impact on overall front court depth. This in turn will have an impact on the amount of hustling, help defense the front court will be able to play in trying to overcome the limitations of the wing defense. Ferry must find a starting-caliber small forward.”

Buddy G

September 28th, 2012
4:06 pm

It looks like LD is hedging his bets about somebody winning the small forward position. Yesterday C-Viv noted in the comments that LD plans to play Horford primarily at center. Today, he quotes LD saying he will keep his options open as far as moving Zaza into the starting lineup and moving Josh to small forward.

It sounds like LD is hoping for somebody to step up and claim the small forward position, and Josh at small forward is the backup plan.

Luv Josh Smith

September 28th, 2012
4:09 pm

LD – Talking loud and saying nothing. Teague and Harris will start. Hope Jenkins gets meaningful minutes. Will be hard with Williams coming off the bench. Zaza was starter – got beat out by Horford. He is our back up Thank you Chris for all you do.his

Ra'mon

September 28th, 2012
4:09 pm

Huey, love the handle, lol.

Truthfully, what would James, Anderson, or Korver need to do to provide the minimum effectiveness of Marvin? Did Marvin shut down Carmelo, Lebron, Rudy Gay, Granger, Pierce, or other wing players? Because I seem to remember Marvin not showing up a lot of games. And offensively, when Marvin would put out 13-16 points, we were all surprised. So I don’t see what the drop off was. Marvin didn’t get his contract because of production. And Marvin didn’t get his starts because of production. Marvin got his contract and chances because of POTENTIAL, not because of current production level. In fact, there have been a number of options on the bench who should have been rewarded the starting job over Marvin (Childress, D. Wilkins, Evans gave the Hawks a better winning percentage when he started; and we know how limited he was). With the scoring punch that the Hawks have now, even Morrow would be just as effective as Marvin Williams. By starting Al and Zaza, you take away the flexibility of the lineup and the depth at the front court. Because when you go against some team, you’re going to end up with Zaza and Al in foul trouble at the same time. You don’t want your 3 best bigs starting at the same time. And as good as Ivan has been, you don’t want Ivan to be the first big off of the bench.

Buddy G

September 28th, 2012
4:11 pm

“Zaza is the best backup center in the league…”

Najeh insists that Tiago Spliter took Zaza’s lunch money. Unfortunately, Spliter can’t play at the close of games because he can’t make free throws.

Ra'mon

September 28th, 2012
4:17 pm

Luv Josh Smith, if Pargo and Green got a lot of playing time last season, than there will be no excuse not to get Jenkins some playing time as well. Especially, if LD remembers that the main reason his predecessor was fired was because of failure to develop Teague, and Ferry has said player development will be the primary agenda going forward.

brigadierjerry

September 28th, 2012
4:20 pm

one thing i have noticed with ld, his in game adjustments are not good as well as his substitutions.

i also think times when he needs to go to a defensive unit for stops, he wont do it.

he seems to prefer having a mix of offense over defense as oppossed to woody who liked the opposite.

also not stating teague is starter as if he has to fight for the spot i dont like

i like the team and mix but dont like ld as a big time coach to be honest.

chris enjoying the constant update showing how it is supposed to be done. no offense mc

Buddy G

September 28th, 2012
4:21 pm

C-Viv showing much love to the blog denizens.

Ra'mon

September 28th, 2012
4:25 pm

Rasheed Wallace heading to the Knicks.

gtt

September 28th, 2012
4:32 pm

Did Cunningham leave? Also, Chris Vivlamore does great work backing up (and exceeding) Ledbetter, backing up (and exceeding) Cunningham. Good job C-Viv.

The Truth

September 28th, 2012
4:33 pm

Devin (and also Teague) perimeter shooting abilities have always been suspect. The obvious strategy for the defense if both players are on the court together is to zone them, dare them to shoot from the perimeter.

With this back-court, force the Hawks to play a half-court game with one-shot opportunity per possession along with a small frontline. In other words, just slow them down, winning becomes easier for the opponents if the wrong line-up is on the court..

Just Joe

September 28th, 2012
4:48 pm

I prefer two shooters in the starting lineup with Teague (slasher), Smith (slasher/low-post player), and Horford (shooter).

That lineup (3 shooters on the floor at one time) gives you the best chance of evaluating your current 3 starters.

Teague, Jenkins, Morrow, Smith, Horford

I don’t really care if the other team scores 125 a game. Ferry doesn’t have “his” roster yet. No need to try to maximize the potential of a broken roster. Establish your offensive philosophy (a dominant low-post player, spacing, ball movement, and 3-pt shooting), and then replace the players that don’t fit.

grimey

September 28th, 2012
5:09 pm

LET ZAZA START

steven a smith

September 28th, 2012
5:11 pm

All of these “Blogg Scrubs” making comments about height. “SIZE MATTERS” scrubs. That’s why Shaq, Hakeem, David Robinson, Ewing, Tim Duncan, Kareem, Artis Gilmore, and the list goes on. ALL of these guys were huge and they DOMINATED!

Just Joe

September 28th, 2012
5:13 pm

With the first PG injury already reported (Wall out 8 weeks), would anyone entertain a deal centered around Trevor Ariza and a 1st rd pick for Devin Harris? Ariza has a large player option for next year ($7M+).

HueyFreeman

September 28th, 2012
5:15 pm

Grandad: Foreal man. Ever since game 6 against Boston it’s been a wrap lol.

You guys make some good points! AG: I think Teague needs some competition to motivate him to not just play, but to push him to that next level (which may or may not be in him, we can’t tell). I think DH is still an upgrade over Kirk everywhere except on D. DH is quick enough for to mask this is he’s attentive though

I could see starting Lou at the 2, provided he can be antagonizing on D. Obviously he won’t be shutting down the best SG’s in the league, but if he can just annoy and pester on D for steals and deflections. He’s got good foot speed. I’ve seen DH be a defensive pest in past years…good hands.

Ra’mon: Good point. The ‘big’ lineup has it’s faults with our roster as it is now. I like the speed advantage with PF Josh and C Al. Spot on about Marvin…I could see Korver contributing more to our success than Marvin did lol. Although against OKC, MIA, and NY for example, I think Josh guarding the SF (even if he doesn’t end up playing much or at all there) would be a much better option that anyone else on the roster.

But, like you said, the lack of usable bigs on the bench, with or without foul trouble, needs to be improved. Throwing Al, Zaza, Ivan, and Petro in the paint against any of the top C’s in the league is a quick fix. We need a legit 6′11+ banger under there. Even if we keep Benson and Zaza comes off the bench with Ivan, I could see foul trouble and our big men getting it handed to them down low. Gotta get some size (and intensity) down low.

SuckerFree

September 28th, 2012
6:04 pm

Larry Drew is an idiot

SuckerFree

September 28th, 2012
7:01 pm

TIAGO SPLITTER?????? *in my Stephen A. Smith voice*

Zaza Pachulia is heads shoulders knees and toes above that guy. I’ve been saying it for a minute but Zaza is a starting caliber center.

That doesn’t mean he will set the world on fire but he can start for plenty of NBA teams because defensively he’s not a liability, he has the size and WILLINGNESS to bang, he’s a rebounding machine and can shoot free throws. He’s not an offensive player but he can score with off. rebounds and free throws and occasionally hit a 15 footer.

If Larry had any inkling of basketball knowledge he’d start Zaza along with Al & Josh….put Teague and Devin out there and roll.

But instead he’s talking about open competition. These aren’t rookies, they’re veterans and you’ve seen what they can do.

Smith, Al, Zaza, Ivan and Tolliver can rotate that 4-5 role. Mix and match…it’s easy.

The real problem is at SF because other than Smith I’m not high on any other guys on the roster. Korver is the definition of a defensive liability and Stevenson and Morrow are smallish. I guess they can kinda fill in but Paul Pierce, KD, Lebron….those guys are tall.

At least Marvin was 6′9 with some strength. As much as I hate to say it….we’re going to miss Marvin Williams.

2 FOR JOHN DREW

September 28th, 2012
7:59 pm

LONG LIVE …. C-VIV !!!!!!

Points

September 28th, 2012
8:41 pm

Looking forward to more coverage from CV. Great stuff so far.

Rusty

September 28th, 2012
9:52 pm

Larry Drew is a idiot who should not be the head coach at the NBA level
He is just stupid.

ECF or Bust

September 29th, 2012
8:43 am

Thank you Mr Vivlamore for waking up the Hawks coverage.
things just keep getting better in the ATL.
si

Larry Drew

September 29th, 2012
9:53 am

I have no idea what I’m going to do with this squad. I have 8 guards

KevinM

September 29th, 2012
10:05 am

I get more useful info from Ken S and Just Joe than I got from LD.

What exactly did we clear up? That our backcourt was now smaller than LD was used to? That we no longer have Joe and Marvin?

What exactly did LD do with his more versatile lineup? Keep us around .500?

Take the mic away from this guy…just coach and don’t give us your observations……I’m ready to move on from this experiment.

KevinM

September 29th, 2012
10:07 am

SF….”At least Marvin was 6′9 with some strength. As much as I hate to say it….we’re going to miss Marvin Williams”

Please explain what we are going to miss other than a #2 grossly overpaid and overrated ‘athlete’ to stand at the 3 pt line?

falCans

September 29th, 2012
3:21 pm

tKudos Chris V….. Im lovim the activity on the blog. We aint gotta wait a month fa a new piece