Atlanta Hawks: It’s media day (and time to talk to J-Smoove)

Vivlamore with your (early) Hawks report.

Today the 2012-13 season officially gets underway with media day. I have a lot of people to introduce myself to before we really get things started. Practices begin Tuesday.

There are obviously a lot of topics to cover as this season begins. I have a lengthy list myself. However, if there is something you want me to write about please post your ideas. I will add as many as I can to my list and we’ll get moving. Thanks all.

This will be my first chance to talk to Josh Smith since the end of last season – and there is a lot to talk about with all the off-season changes, trade rumors, his contract status, etc. In preparation for today’s story on J-Smoove here a couple of quotes from GM Danny Ferry and coach Larry Drew about the franchise fixture.

Ferry:

Q. Are your impressions of Josh Smith the same now than they were before you got here?

A. Josh is a good player. I’ve said that from the day I got here, from the outside in. The things I like about Josh’s game is he can be a game changer defensively and cover up a lot of mistakes and ground and he’s versatile in doing so. Offensively, he’s capable of scoring. He’s a very good passer. I like that about his game. Offensively, he can get the rebound and take it up court. It throws an [opposing] team off balance a little bit when guys can do that. He’s had a really strong career so far and let’s see if we can take it another level. Larry will push him, I will push him, to go from that really good to try to get to that next level.

Drew:

Q. Josh Smith is entering the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent following the season. As I’ve been told, it is unlikely a new deal will get done before the summer. Will that be a distraction? How will to prevent it from becoming a distraction?

A. I try to maintain my focus on the big picture. Certainly, Josh Smith has been a vital, vital part of the success that we’ve experienced here. He’s been phenomenal. These type situations are the business side of it and you certainly understand his side, you understand the organization’s side. We know we love him. We know we want him back. We certainly understand what he’s thinking is. It’s my understanding that there has been some dialog with his representatives. Whether something is resolved during the season or whether they wait until after the season, that’s the business side of it.

My job and my focus, as a coach, with Josh Smith is to get his game to that next level. And that next level means that he is an All-Star. I don’t think there is any question about Josh’s ability to be an All-Star. It’s up to me to try to get him there. Me and him have had some dialog this summer. Josh is a very bright kid. Certainly with what he brings to the table in order for us to achieve any type of success, we need Josh to be at the top of his game and committed. From the conversations that I’ve had with him, he’s committed to that. I don’t anticipate any type of distraction. What I anticipate Josh Smith doing is going out and focusing on basketball and allow everything else to work out itself.

Q. When you say ‘Get him to the next level,’ can you give me tangible examples of what needs to be done?

A. I think it’s a combination of things. I think it’s an overall approach to how to you reach it. I think he has improved his outside shot. I think he has to be a little bit more selective with his outside shot. He has certainly improved his low-post game. I still think he can be even better. I think he’s one of the best power forwards in our league in rebounding out of his space and getting the ball and initiating the break. I think he is one of the best defenders in our league because he can defend all five positions. I think he is one of the smartest basketball players that I’ve coached. This guy sees things before they even take place. He is a student of the game. He watches a lot of film.

Does he have to be better in how to deal with the officials? Yes he does. I think his overall game, his overall approach, he has to improve in all those areas. I think he knows that. These are things he and I have talked about. He knows in order for him to reach that next level, he knows the areas he has to get better. It’s going to be my job to push him to do that. I certainly plan on doing that.

- I will update after I speak with Smith.

- Chris Vivlamore

THE LATEST NEWS

* Five questions headed into training camp

* Next phase of the Ferry Project about to get underway

* Drew on rotation at point guard, center

* Initial training camp roster released

* Wanted: Two new starters

* Who is the on-court leader?

* Smith “unlikely” to re-sign during season

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

32 comments Add your comment

Luv Josh Smith

October 1st, 2012
10:22 am

Show some discipline with the jump shot. Continue to work on the inside games. Own the PF slot.
Don’t show up the refs as much = All Star berth. This is a contract year and the future is bright. I don’t see the Hawks dangling you to set the price. Smoove – MVP.

Just Joe

October 1st, 2012
10:25 am

Thanks CV.

Ask Josh, in his opinion, what would a successful 2012/13 season look like?

I’m interested to see if the all-star game, or other personal goals, come up. I also wonder if he views this season, like a lot of fans do, as a rebuilding year, or are his expectations to make a deep run in the playoffs. I know what the politically correct answer is, but sometimes Josh is candid enogh to really call it like he sees it.

I’d also like to know if the idea of the Hawks having tons of cap space next summer, and the possibilities that come with it, excites him at all. Just to kind of see if other free agent names come up, and if he feels like his signing next summer is going to happen.

cb

October 1st, 2012
10:42 am

Does Josh think he can recruit another elite free agent to come play with him in Atlanta? I would like to know his true feelings on this question

Melvin

October 1st, 2012
10:50 am

No more Joe so this is Josh’s team now. Hopefully he’s ready to setup to the challenge… It’s time for him to be the leader of this team and depending on how this team perform under his leadership will have direct impact on his next contract…

2 FOR JOHN DREW

October 1st, 2012
10:52 am

LET’S GET TO GETTIN’ IT ….. IT’S NEW DAY … LET’S GO HAWKS … LONG LIVE C-VIV !!!!!

Astro Joe

October 1st, 2012
11:17 am

Please ask Josh if he is a better fast break facilitator or finisher.

I’ll hang-up and listen.

Homer

October 1st, 2012
11:24 am

Josh is getting traded before the end of season, have a great day people

oldmike

October 1st, 2012
11:25 am

What happened to Mr. Cunningham?
Good luck with the blog Chris…
Should be an interesting year for the Hawks. Without JJ and Marvin sort of starting over. Without imploding and hitting lottery-land.

Melvin

October 1st, 2012
11:54 am

Astro,

Please don’t have CV ask trick questions… LOL

Melvin

October 1st, 2012
11:54 am

Astro,

Please don’t have CV to ask trick questions… LOL

Astro Joe

October 1st, 2012
12:01 pm

Melvin, my “Josh forecast” is that he will be a Hawk at least through the summer of 2014. Ferry will definitely offer him a 5-year contract and only if Josh is desperate to leave the Hawks, will he accept a 4-year deal with someone else. Therefore, I’d much rather spend the next 82+ games watching him finish than the alternative.

The Truth

October 1st, 2012
12:11 pm

C-Viv

Can you ask LD could he share his experience meeting with the Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt? Even though Danny stated in MC report:

“Hawks GM Danny Ferry confirms that Drew is not seeking to add Blatt to his staff but went to Maccabi’s camp to observe, learn and share ideas with Blat.”

http://blogs.ajc.com/hawks/2012/09/12/atlanta-hawks-larry-drew-reportedly-meeting-with-euro-coach-david-blatt/

Left much speculation about the purpose of the trip, exactly whose idea was it to take the trip, his or Danny? What did he learn and can we expect any changes in the offense as a result of this experience?

beone

October 1st, 2012
12:18 pm

+1 for questions regarding the Blatt trip.

vava74

October 1st, 2012
12:23 pm

AJ,

Shoot away. If Josh finished rather than played Magic his ppg would raise by at least 2 to 3 points, his FG% would rise by at least .075, his TOpg would drop on or around 0.5.

The only negative would be his apg, which would drop at max only about 0.5.

It would be a win win win win situation.

2 FOR JOHN DREW

October 1st, 2012
12:26 pm

Josh Smith showed a great deal of maturity & leadership last year, but at times it seems as though he’d revert back to some bad habits of: sulking too long if a call doesn’t go your way or blasting the refs where it’s not productive & can only come back & haunt you on future calls. Other than those, I feel for the most part JS plays hard. I also get a feeling him & JJ weren’t that close or should I say there seems to be a jealousy or competitive thing there. If JJ shot too much JS would keep the ball all the way down on the break, sometimes that’s frustrating. But, this year he has everything to prove …. LET’ GO JOSH !!!!!!!

Section 303

October 1st, 2012
12:48 pm

It’s going to be interesting watching Josh Smith this season. Contract year, so motivation should not be a problem. Josh has all the tools to be one of the best in the game. If he as locked in as he should be, we could have a lot of fun looking on at the Highlight Factory this season! Josh can be great, but can he be great night-in, night-out?

Get our first look on Sunday afternoon. Can’t wait!

The Truth

October 1st, 2012
12:48 pm

It would seem in the “new age” of the NBA, the center position is transitioning into speed over size. At least the Miami Heat and Chris Bosh think so:

“They need me to be fast against other [centers],” Bosh said. “That’s my advantage. We want to make teams match up to us and that’s how it’s going to be here.” So, the plan to load Bosh’s body down with extra weight is officially over. “I’ve put all that to the side and just focused on my game,” Bosh said. – Miami Herald

“Still, the question remains: How is he going to match up against the game’s traditional centers? Things slow down in the playoffs. Games grind to a halt and half-court basketball takes over. What then? Is he worried about banging inside with Philadelphia’s new center, Andrew Bynum, and the Lakers’ new tent pole, Dwight Howard? “Not even those two,” Bosh said. “I’ve played them before. It’s nothing I haven’t seen. Yeah, they do have a weight advantage but that’s only in your mind.” Bring it on, says Bosh. “If teams feel like they have an advantage, tell them to dump it down there if they can,” Bosh said. “That’s my answer to everything. If they say, ‘Bosh can’t play the five. We have an advantage,’ and people think that, then tell them to dump it down there and we’ll see what happens.” What will happen? “I’ll play defense, get the rebound and we’ll go,” he said. – Miami Herald

Bosh response to bigs with size is appropriate; it’s all about the atitude. We’ve heard this cliche before:

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight … It’s the size of the fight in the dog.

I would just add to this though:

As a coach, you need options (like a bigger meaner dog) for those days when the smaller dog don’t feel like fighting (on that day).

Supersize that order, mutt

October 1st, 2012
12:53 pm

Supersize that order, mutt

October 1st, 2012
12:55 pm

Please pretend to have

Astro Joe

October 1st, 2012
1:02 pm

vava, it appears that there are only 2 people who think that Josh leading a fast break is a good idea… Josh and LD. I’d be in favor of Josh rebounding the ball and dribbling as far as the opposing team’s free throw line before passing, but no further than those 12-16 feet from the rebounding position to when he passes the ball.

MannyT

October 1st, 2012
1:03 pm

For Ferry:

Last year’s team had several years playing together. How long do you expect it will take all these new players to get into a cohesive team? (Remember, it took awhile for the Heat to get it together when they got Bosh & James.)

cdog

October 1st, 2012
1:07 pm

josh smith going to the basket is unstoppable.if he improves his shot he will be unstoppable.he can be like julius dr. j irvin and dominique wilkins all wrap into one

Astro Joe

October 1st, 2012
1:15 pm

And the same applies for Horford… pass the ball to a guard, please.

I’d be interested in knowing what has LD learned in the last 2 years and how has he modified his 5 man attack based on watching the offense deployed for the past 150+ games.

smittyderf

October 1st, 2012
1:23 pm

It worries me that Ferry said, “he can get the rebound and take the ball upcourt”. I hope ferry is merely being cautious and diplomatic about discussing Josh Smith with the press, that Ferry understands that Josh Smith led the team in turnovers, that he had more turnovers than Teague and Hinrich combined.

The Truth

October 1st, 2012
1:33 pm

C-Viv

Asked Josh has he played any pick-up games with any of the new additions to the roster and what has been his impression from playing with or against them. I’m particular interested guys like

Scott
Benson
James
Anderson
Petro

vava74

October 1st, 2012
2:00 pm

Grandad

October 1st, 2012
2:54 pm

” When you say ‘Get him to the next level,’
can you give me tangible examples of what needs to be done? ”

Simply the best question that I have heard from a beat writer
to a ” Hawk ” in the last 7 or 8 years !

I wish LD`s answer would have been of the same quality.

C-Viv … You are the Man !

Luv Josh Smith

October 1st, 2012
4:31 pm

co-sign Grandpa…that was a delectable followup question to LD.

Chris Vivlamore

October 1st, 2012
5:06 pm

Folks: Just finished up with media day. Talked to most everyone. As I tweeted earlier (during the middle of the event) former Tech player Isamail Muhammed added to the training camp roster. Let me get working but there will be no shortage of items to come, plus practice starts tomorrow. I will give you this from Josh Smith: When asked about the addition of so many 3-point shooters and if he would be attempting as many this year, he started reciting all of the others long-distancers by name – and then noted he left himself off the list. Looks like he might not be taking as many.

glw

October 1st, 2012
5:12 pm

Wow, my man Ish. Was a beast at Tech. now that is a true lock down defender right there. HOpe he makes it, but I know he is the longest of longshots.

Marcus

October 1st, 2012
5:27 pm

Commentary from SI.com – re: Smoove’s new adidas commercial highlighting all things ATL – despite low prospects of in-season contract extension:

http://tracking.si.com/2012/09/27/josh-smith-adidas-commercial-atlanta-hawks-contract-extension/

cp

October 1st, 2012
6:11 pm

I have always been a fan of Ish but no way he makes this team with all the guards we have. He is a few years late as I think he would have been a better fit than Mario was.