Atlanta Hawks: Defense first even with new up-tempo offense

New Hawks guards Lou Williams (left) and Devin Harris are, according to coach Larry Drew,a "two-headed snake" that will enable the team to play a more up-tempo style.

New Hawks guards Lou Williams (left) and Devin Harris are, according to coach Larry Drew, a "two-headed snake" that will enable the team to play a more up-tempo style.

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my main story for Wednesday’s paper.

It didn’t take long for Larry Drew to see the good – and perhaps the bad – from his new-look roster.

The Hawks coach watched a pick-up game this summer featuring point guards Jeff Teague and Devin Harris on the team’s practice court.

Teague picks up the story. “I played with Devin for the first week and, man, he’s a blur,” the fourth-year guard said. “I remember one time we were playing against each other. I went down and scored a full-court layup. He came down and scored a full-court layup. I went down and scored a full-court layup. Coach Drew pulled us aside and said ‘Y’all not going to play any defense?’ I’m like ‘He’s fast. I’m fast.’”

Drew is adapting to his roster, which features only five returning players, to more of an up-tempo style of play. Coach and players have used the description time and again as training camp gets underway. While the Hawks were not a half-court offense last season, the additions of Harris, Lou Williams and several others in the back court has caused Drew to re-work his offense. The Hawks will be smaller with the loss of 6-foot-7 Joe Johnson and 6-9 Marvin Williams but quickness can have advantage over size, Drew said.

“This team is a team who can get up and down the floor,” Drew said. “Last year, we had some guys who can run. This year, we really have guys who can get out and run. When you think of our fast break you think of Jeff Teague having the ball in his hands and getting from one end of the floor to the other. I think we have somewhat of a two-headed snake with Devin and Lou who are just as fast and creative in the open court. With Kyle Korver, everyone knows he can shoot the basketball, but he does a really good job getting up and down the floor. For big men, both Josh [Smith] and Al [Horford] are two of the best runners in our league. We have an opportunity to be even that much more effective in the open court.”

Drew quickly followed with words of caution.

“I really want to make sure that these guys understand that because I’m talking about play a more open-court basketball game that is not going to be an excuse to be a bad defensive team,” Drew said. “Our focus and emphasis, as it has been the past two years with me being the head coach, our emphasis is defense. We don’t get out and run unless we defend. That is going to be the tone set throughout this training camp.”

Drew said he has not yet decided on a rotation at guard, including who will replace Johnson as the shooting guard. Teague said he was told he will again be the starter at point guard. He said he welcomes the additions of Harris and Williams, who will take pressure off him bring the ball up court and will allow him to slide to the wing at times.

Fitness will be an issue with the new offense, especially for the big men on the roster. They’ll have to keep up with the speedy guards.

“For Josh and myself, we are drooling over this new look just because he’s going to be running the floor, I’m going to be running the floor,” Horford said. “We have some of our other bigs coming off the bench who can run the floor as well. I think that as long as we move the ball around and we defend, I think we are going to be in great [position].”

Drew said he spent the summer de-constructing and re-constructing his offense to fit the new roster. He threw some things out from last season. He added some new elements. He tinkered when not satisfied. He spent four days in Israel with David Blatt, who coached the Russian national team to a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics and is now with Maccabi Tel Aviv, for new offensive principles.

Veteran DeShawn Stevenson, acquired from the Nets in the trade for Johnson, will be looked to as a defensive stopper when the Hawks are undersized.

“The misconception is you go up-tempo you stop guarding,” Drew said. “That is one thing I’m not going to allow of the players to even sink in or thought about. We are still going to be a team that is going to guard, is going to defend.”

- Chris Vivlamore

THE LATEST NEWS

* Pachulia, Harris limited in first practice

* Assorted quotes from media day

* Video: My report from media day

* Josh Smith calls himself a “Mid-range Shawty”

* Isma’il Muhammad added to training camp roster

* Five questions headed into training camp

* Next phase of the Ferry Project about to get underway

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

91 comments Add your comment

High-sider

October 2nd, 2012
9:15 pm

According to NBA TV, 27 days, 22 hours, 45 minutes and counting until the NBA season begins…

High-sider

October 2nd, 2012
9:24 pm

Overall, the Hawks trade/move [a] big [backcourt] for [a] small[er backcourt] and expect to improve over the previous seasons? Get real [smh]. Now, the Hawks will feature the following big men: Zaza Pachulia, Johan Petro and/or Keith Benson. Where’s the upgrade? [smh]

http://www.nba.com/hawks/roster/2012

gypsyjoe

October 2nd, 2012
9:25 pm

I really like our team going forward. Ferry has done a hell of a job. If our health stays good we will kick some butt. GO HAWKS.

Rev in Tampa

October 2nd, 2012
9:30 pm

Devin Harris wearing #34!!!! Will my mind be able to adjust to watching #34 zipping up and down the court?

steven a smith

October 2nd, 2012
9:42 pm

Ken Strickland “Lord of The Idiots” and his followers. How about this trade scenario? Al Horford and Kyle Korver to Utah for a REAL center, “Al Jefferson!”

Re post

October 2nd, 2012
9:47 pm

Ken Strickland
September 15th, 2012
9:30 pm
IGNORANCE is a commodity that every human possesses, that’s called STUPIDITY.
+ you are an anal minded moron
When they continuously reject or refuse to accept that knowledge, no matter how many times or different ways it’s presented, and they hide their DELUSIONAL BS by using multiple names, yet continuously repeat the same STUPID DELUSIONAL BS over and over, then that’s called EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED, or INSANE. We definitely have at least 1 or 2 who fit this definition on these blogs. because they are psychologically damaged and just don’t know how to act. We’re seeing more and more of that type of mental deficiency being played out daily on these blogs by STEVEN A SMITH, and all of the various TS manifestations.
Only an extremely sick and immature mind could consistently derive any pleasure or satisfaction out of such a childish endeavor. It’s been said that there’s a thin line between genius and insanity, you anal minded moron. as s holes only sautee and I are geniuses the rest of you are truely insane, but they’re also dumber than 2 dead gnats.That is TS and Steven A. Smith and any other Anal minded as s hole moron psycho muther fcker who is not a fan of Al horford Fck you. Get some help you sick anal minded MORONS!!!!!!
and another thing go see a psycho doctor like me As s hole. Me and Sautee are the only smart ones and we are Al horford fans right Sautee?

D Mann

October 2nd, 2012
9:57 pm

Damn, Ken Strickland is a sick muther Fcker.

Back to reality. This will be a much better team when we get rid of Al Horford.

D Mann

October 2nd, 2012
10:00 pm

Harris > Teague

LOL

October 2nd, 2012
10:10 pm

Ken Strickland “Lord of The Idiots”

steven a smith

October 2nd, 2012
10:20 pm

Co-sign

D Mann

October 2nd, 2012
9:57 pm

Back to reality. This will be a much better team when we get rid of Al Horford.
At least move horford to a Back-up role, 6th man.

Slimjr

October 2nd, 2012
10:22 pm

” Now, the Hawks will feature the following big men: Zaza Pachulia, Johan Petro and/or Keith Benson. Where’s the upgrade? [smh"

How dare you not mention AllNBA, AllStar 2x as the [CFO] of his Fan club cherishes to mention all the time[repeats-sound familiar doc?]

He is back to clog the middle to provide escort service at all cost.. Those opposing point guards cherish his defensive court presence at all times..

D Mann

October 2nd, 2012
10:39 pm

Yeah, Its really frustrating that we havent done anything to improve the center position. We were a much better team with out Al last year.

I really wonder why Super V did not ask our question of having Zaza and Josh start and Al come off the bench. I also do see that when we put zaza into that game that Josh should have to move to let Al stay on the floor.

Al weakens us defensively, has limited offensive tools and needs to be setup because he cant create.

Super V can you ask Drew if Al can come off the bench (or be traded) ? We are more of a fighting team with out Al.

Plus I am tired of having the same conversation at the end of every season. We can not and will not advance with Al in our front court as a starter.

Slimjr and Steven A Smith among many others are right. We need to trade Al for Al Jefferson or find some way to upgrade the center position.

Other than that, we all know we will be back here next year having the same ol conversation about the hawks need a center.

D Mann

October 2nd, 2012
10:45 pm

opposing guards love “escort Al” and they really like dunking over the guy. Even mike Woodson would run switch plays to help Al. Drew does too. Al can not protect our rim whether at the Pf or C position. It would be ok if “mediocre” Al was an offensive weapon then we could cancel out his lack of defense. but his offense aint that good either.

That Al Horford for Al Jefferson trade would be better than the Marvin Williams for Devin Harris trade.

i_am_soulstar

October 2nd, 2012
10:46 pm

Maybe Josh and Al are trying to be humble in those interviews, but how could we miss the playoffs? Perhaps they’re saying that know that they don’t stand a chance in the playoffs, and so it’s best to focus on the regular season. That’s understandable.

Seeing as how we play in the same conference as:

Detroit
Toronto
Orlando
Milwaukee
Cleveland
Charlotte
Philadelphia (added Bynum, Nick *cough* overrated Young, and J-Rich, but no more Lou Will, Iggy, or Brand

the only way we miss the playoffs or finish with a lower record than any of these teams (as currently constructed) is if Josh or Al suffer a major injury (knock on wood).

D Mann

October 2nd, 2012
10:46 pm

Yes, Al could help this team better if he came off the bench and gave Zaza or Josh a breather.

steven a smith

October 2nd, 2012
10:48 pm

Maybe we need to start a petition or something similar to get this trade or bench Al movment to “Move Forward” Clearly Al is no Dwight Howard, Al is no Andrew Bynum, Al is no Al Jefferson, Al is not even Tyson Chandler!!! Larry “Scrub” Drew and Co. need to “stop urinating down our legs and telling us that its raining.” We did not just fall off the Watermelon Truck!!! Get a real NBA Center NOW PLEASE!!!

D Mann

October 2nd, 2012
10:49 pm

“he only way we miss the playoffs or finish with a lower record than any of these teams (as currently constructed) is if Josh or Al suffer a major injury (knock on wood).”

ROTFLMAO

If We lose escort Al it will be a blessing again. This team was much better with out him. Al adds nothing. and is more like Marvin or Koncak.

D Mann

October 2nd, 2012
10:52 pm

CO-SIGNING BIG TIME!!!

“trade or bench Al movment to “Move Forward” Clearly Al is no Dwight Howard, Al is no Andrew Bynum, Al is no Al Jefferson, Al is not even Tyson Chandler!!! Larry “Scrub” Drew and Co. need to “stop urinating down our legs and telling us that its raining.” We did not just fall off the Watermelon Truck!!! Get a real NBA Center NOW PLEASE!!!” – Steven A Smith!!! :)

D Mann

October 2nd, 2012
10:56 pm

“stop pissing down our legs and telling us that its raining.”

Al horford runs an escort service not a defense. We aint going no further than Josh can carry us as long as Al is starting at center or power forward. We can do better than Al.

doc

October 2nd, 2012
11:43 pm

these guys are laughing at all y’all suckers out there:

http://www.ajc.com/gallery/sports/hawks-media-day/g5cY/#2741987

doc

October 2nd, 2012
11:44 pm

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

October 2nd, 2012
11:49 pm

Thought that was Jason Collins on the right for a split second

Grandmaster JeJe (GM)

October 2nd, 2012
11:55 pm

Cosign bigdave. Korver does strike me as pretty emotionless though

doc

October 3rd, 2012
12:01 am

gmjeje, that was my reaction as well. i did a double take there.

doc

October 3rd, 2012
12:03 am

aj, you on for this?

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/atlanta-gets-team-in-lingerie-league/nSRrX/

boys night out for a little football appreciation?

doc

October 3rd, 2012
12:03 am

actually i shuddered, then remember he is now a celt. heh heh

I MUS WRITE

October 3rd, 2012
6:25 am

Pancakes are delicious…..

Astro Joe

October 3rd, 2012
7:07 am

doc, so much material, so little time. I heard on the radio that there will be a comparable basketball league… comparable to the lingerie football league.

“There must be a God, somewhere”.

ag

October 3rd, 2012
7:09 am

I just can’t believe you guys are Hawks fans. Al Horford must have angered several people and people on on the blogs venting! To read we were a better team without Al last year and Al should come off the bench and start ZaZa… I am certainly agreeing with Ken Strickland.

ZaZa was the Hawks starting center. We drafted an undersized center to take his place. This undersized center has outpreformed ZaZa every year. Numbers do not lie.

ag

October 3rd, 2012
7:14 am

The Korver interview did not look good. He was upset when he was traded here and it is shows.

lir(Dominican)

October 3rd, 2012
7:46 am

Don’t lose your time they are trolls, they just talk to troll everyone who likes another player who is not a josh lover

doc

October 3rd, 2012
8:09 am

AJ, yeah bro, bought my tix to bikini bbal. the promo says 7 players that can play, 7 players that maybe can play and another 7 players to do trampoline stunts and blow balloons. swear.

brigadierjerry

October 3rd, 2012
8:11 am

chris v,

any chance of the blog requiring email address or account login to clean up the blog?blog has been on a downward path for sometime now. it is very much needed.

Mike is Back

October 3rd, 2012
8:27 am

CV, really good stuff…I too am excited to hear the eagerness of all the players going into training camp…let the games begin.lol

I may have undervalued Korver, he has never been known as a defensive stopper…BUT the one thing he can do is… knock down BIG Shots @ Big Moments in the game…we will need to someone to take up some of that slack…I think he can do it.

I hope James and Benson don’t squander this opportunity…it’s right there for them…they just gotta…GO GET IT!!!

GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

wordsmithtom

October 3rd, 2012
8:33 am

brigadierjerry,
By requiring a case specific login they could eliminate the copying of blogger’s names. That would help. I think they could make it where a blogger could only use one name per machine that they use to post. That would help the multiple alias problem. Costs money, however.
Just thinking, but the troll didn’t really start hating on Horford until he got married…to a beautiful woman, by the way. Could it be that this troll had a man crush, but when his unrequieted love became unavailable, his love turned to hate? Explains a lot….the obcession….the venom. Sick puppy, that troll.

brigadierjerry

October 3rd, 2012
8:56 am

wordsmithtom,

yes that would be the options i would want. all other major papers or blogs require one username and they log ur ip address so u cannot create multiple usernames. it would eliminate and clean up 90% of the blog.
blog has really deteriorated the past few years. i mostly lurk these days. i will post if the topic is pertinent but i dont debate on here anymore

Big Ray

October 3rd, 2012
9:23 am

Al Horford is half right. The team has to defend. The other half is rebounding. And that’s all I really wanted to hear out of Al – rebound, rebound, rebound.

Nobody with half a brain expects Al to be a major shot-blocker. It’s never been his game. But what he can do is play rugged body-up defense. If he can get back to doing that like he did in his first 2-3 years, we could be okay with some bigger body help from Zaza and somebody else (which we don’t have).

But Al will have to step up his rebounding effort much the same way Josh did when Al was out.

How about Teague’s response when asked if he or Devin were going to play any defense? “He’s fast”

So saddle up, kid.

doc

October 3rd, 2012
9:25 am

thibs a defensive minded coach and sloan also coming from that perspective didnt bury korver on the bench. he might perform there better than some think though in a team concept rether than individual. he wont be as bad as bibby.

i hope korver has a professional attitude and gives it his best in a contract year. i think he will. he has played for two of the best coaches around and never heard to be a discontent so i expect the same even if he doesnt smile a lot and show the type of emotion we want.

he did like utah and that is my guess he goes back there, like hinrich going back to chicago to play a significant role there. he was a fan favorite. if contracts are the same and he loses nothing by doing it that is where he will land.

though something can be said that these guys are free agents and not going to stay here, it is a bonus. none of these guys are finished like some of the recent off season acquisitions we are used to getting like stack and tmac who leave and are out of the league forever as we fool ourselves by remembering their long lost greatness. these free agents will have to show what they can do in many roles and situations to embellish their potential contracts going forward.

steve brown

October 3rd, 2012
9:27 am

I watched the Korver youtube sent by Big Dave and I do not know what you all are friggin talking about-you all are nuts.

Astro Joe

October 3rd, 2012
9:31 am

Funny.

Brian T. Smith: Mo Williams said he and wife expecting fifth child in Feb. Said he has deal with baby: Be born during All-Star break, get nice car. Twitter @tribjazz

doc

October 3rd, 2012
9:33 am

korver’s demeanor sort of reminds me of chipper in some of his interviews. we are too media conscious reading too much into how folks say things on camera not how they act IN their jobs. we have been hood winked into receiving news about wars from announcers with pleasant smiles on their faces, sort of repulsive with a major disconnect with reality but it becomes part of us if we listen too much and too often. just because he isnt saying something with a smile or voice like a chipper weather broadcaster telling you your weather is going to be the same for the next week to somehow give it more meaning it isnt important. let him talk on the court.