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

Ghost Of Woody

October 2nd, 2012
4:02 pm

C-Viv is on it. So many blog updates. Appreciated.

i_am_soulstar

October 2nd, 2012
4:02 pm

Many thanks for the frequent posts Viv

Sneaker Pimp

October 2nd, 2012
4:11 pm

I like what I’m reading/hearing from Drew. Can’t slip up on defense to win in the East. But… he’s still Drew. Let me know if Blatt convinced him to do away with that silly 2-foul rule.

Chris Vivlamore

October 2nd, 2012
4:16 pm

Hey look, I was finally able to put a photo in the blog!

Chris Vivlamore

October 2nd, 2012
4:20 pm

To all: Thanks so much for all the kind words. There is certainly a lot to write about with the start of training camp. I feel like I haven’t scratched the surface. Keep reading and keep me on my toes. I don’t know if I’ll be posting four blogs a day during the regular season but I will pass on as much information as I can. Thanks again!

Geronimo

October 2nd, 2012
4:22 pm

A different squad, a different feeling heading into the season. I’m ready to try out the new Hawks lineups in NBA 2K13 today after work…

savannah hawk

October 2nd, 2012
4:28 pm

Can’t wait for the season to begin….go hawks

Luv Josh Smith

October 2nd, 2012
4:34 pm

C-Viv II luv this!. Our bigs can run. Zaza is not a plodder and Ivan can be counted on to go with the flow.
Iso – who dat?
The key is defense, if you don’t defend, you don’t run. Undersized backcourt worries me, particularly when opposing team posts up, but speed and swipes lead to turnovers and Smoove and Al are shot blockers back there. Looking forward to the regular season. I am getting the NBA package so I can watch this team since I am stuck here in Pacers territory.

Buddy Grizzard

October 2nd, 2012
4:35 pm

C-Viv, still would appreciate any assessment of the fitness level of the individual players. Do you notice any change in Ivan’s build since last year? It sounds like everybody came to camp ready to go but any further details would be appreciated.

Hawks yeah

October 2nd, 2012
4:35 pm

Wow…..full time job to read all these blogs hahaha. When will I have time to work again?

Buddy Grizzard

October 2nd, 2012
4:40 pm

As far as Zaza goes, I believe it was a strained leg muscle that was reported in the coverage for Eurobasket 2013 qualifying this summer. Despite the injury, in the game in which Georgia clinched qualification, Zaza made the winning basket on a layup where he beat everybody down court. He looked fine on that play, but he still missed at least three of the games in the qualifying tournament.

NCBravesFan

October 2nd, 2012
4:42 pm

Good stuff, CViv! Keep it coming!

Gray Mule

October 2nd, 2012
4:55 pm

Chris V.

Great to have some one looking in and letting us know what’s going on.
No one is giving the Hawks much hope. We will therefore be able to
slip up on some people.
We changed some players but we ain’t dead.

GO DREAM!!

glw

October 2nd, 2012
5:01 pm

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

Translation: He dumped the iso Joe offense.

glw

October 2nd, 2012
5:08 pm

Sure sounds like Drew likes Korver, sounding more and more like a starting lineup of

pg – Teague
sg – Devin
sf – Korver
pf – Josh
c – Al

Also, looks like Stevenson is in the plans for his defense and will be used as I figured, against teams that have elite offensive wing players.

I wonder where this leaves Morrow in all this?

Ra'mon

October 2nd, 2012
5:20 pm

glw, Morrow would be the back up 2 guard, with Lou running point it seems. The question with Stevenson playing more where will it leave Jenkins minutes. However, if Jenkins lights up preseason, look for Morrow to be traded before the third week of the season.

bigdave

October 2nd, 2012
5:27 pm

just seems like a guy that doesnt want to be here….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCaX2KGVoTI

rms

October 2nd, 2012
5:30 pm

Chris V: since you got so much to write about and havent begun to scratch the surface can you PLEASE stop mentioning losing Marvin Williams as if we were begging him to stay and Utah was dying to get him! We know thats not the case and he wont be missed. What you could mention is are they finally going to establish an identity as a team. If they plan on going to the playoffs that “run and gun” offense wont work in a 5 or 7 games series and what is their contingency plan barring an injury to maybe Josh Smith, Al Horford, or Teague. Or any of the guards for that matter??

falCans

October 2nd, 2012
5:43 pm

Highlight Factory?!?! CANT WAIT!!!

Chris Vivlamore

October 2nd, 2012
5:49 pm

rms: Wow, really? The only thing I’ve mentioned about Marvin Williams is the fact the Hawks are smaller without him. That’s just a fact. Coaches and players are all talking about it. It changes the way they will play. That’s all I’ve mentioned. Whatever your personal bias is that is your business. In reference to your other ideas, I’m working on them. Although I would say the above story pretty much sums up the “identity of the team.” Again, there is a lot of cover and many new players to profile.

Slimjr

October 2nd, 2012
5:54 pm

This is J Smoove team not the faux AllStar. Josh is irreplaceable at this time..

darrell starks

October 2nd, 2012
6:13 pm

If Drew starte Horford at center and Josh at PF look for the hawks to finish dead last in rebound.

You have no 6′7 Joe or 6′9 Marvin no more so your a liability on defense now.

I hope Drew is not that dum as a coach.

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

Slimjr

October 2nd, 2012
6:13 pm

The mid-range jumper is indefensible at any level. Josh [mid-range shawty] will take this game by storm if he can master one the deadliest offensive weapons know to man..

Josh has finally figured it out. I hope he can now execute with the [precision of a surgeon]..

GO SHAWTY!!!!!!!!

Peachtree Fan

October 2nd, 2012
6:18 pm

Chris – V

You notice this time of the day (everyday) through midnight we get these same Haters masquerading as Hawks Fans spreading Hater about our players? Whether its former players like Marvin Williams or current players like Al Horford, these crowns jerks-off advancing their agenda even before the regular season has started.

If you won’t called them out, I will:

Slimjr
Steven A Smith
A host of other AKA handles too cowardly to show themselves

darrell starks

October 2nd, 2012
6:19 pm

STARTER TEAGUE, LOU, JOSH, HORFORD, ZAZA

BENCH DEVIN, MORROW, KORVER, IVAN, ?

RESERVE JENKINS, BENSON, PETRO

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

ECF or Bust!

October 2nd, 2012
6:24 pm

WHAT DOES SHAWTY MEAN?
HE’S SHORT?

Slimjr

October 2nd, 2012
6:24 pm

darrell, we don’t intimidate anybody up the middle..

This team will probably slip to 10th through 15th in defense.. Should not surprise even the experts..

Joe will be missed guarding those tough two guards..

vava74

October 2nd, 2012
6:25 pm

C-Viv,

Great job. As requested by Buddy G, who looked out of shape?

darrell starks

October 2nd, 2012
6:28 pm

Chris Vivlamore, I see your getting a lot of love on the bloggs, don’t let us down during the season stay aggressive with your reports.

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

ECF or Bust!

October 2nd, 2012
6:29 pm

MIAMI DON’T SCARE ANYONE DOWN THE MIDDLE EITHER.
YOU KNOW THE NBA CHAMPS.
GO HAWKS.

Slimjr

October 2nd, 2012
6:30 pm

Hey Peachtree Fanatic, good thing your are not a gambling man cause you’d lose your shirt..he he he

Slimjr

October 2nd, 2012
6:35 pm

[Josh Smith calls himself a “Mid-range Shawty”] -Chris V-

His words not mine…Yes..

Macaroni Tony

October 2nd, 2012
7:09 pm

I loving the new blogs, I am very excited about this coming season.

Chris Crawford

October 2nd, 2012
7:25 pm

What happend to the other guy that used to do the hawks blog? Fired?

doc

October 2nd, 2012
7:31 pm

heh heh heh, faux atl fan calling josh the faux all star. takes one to know one, eh? ;-)

Chris Crawford

October 2nd, 2012
7:33 pm

“Joe got traded? All this stuff kept happening. Then my name was up on the board. For me it was a good time to be away from everything. The changes they felt needed to be made and this is the end result of it. We are actually pretty excited the guys who still remain here.” – Al horford

We although Sautee was not man enough to admit Al was (and should still be) on the trading blocks at least Al can admit it.

Fundamentals

October 2nd, 2012
7:39 pm

Thanks for all the updates Chris V, it’ll take some time to really know what we have, but I’m excited to hear so many players who are eager to find their niche on this new team. We have some great pieces, now we need a unit to gel.

Peachtree Fan

October 2nd, 2012
7:44 pm

Chris V what I really meant to say is that there is a lot of guys on this blog page that want Al Horford traded so the hawks will be a better team.

They usually make better points than those of us who follow Al as a part of cult membership.

My point is, we need you to choose to be on our side and help us protect Al. Please block any body who asks that Al be traded or who is critical of Al performances.

In return we offer you a membership to the BIAHCG (blind idiots al horford cult group).

It is impossible for for any one to be vocally critical of Al horford and be a hawk fan. Our goal is not to make the hawks better but to find a job for Al.

One more thing. Please tell the NBA commissioner to tell Amare to leave Al alone. Can you make it a rule that no one is allowed to hurt Al Horford? If they do can you tell Tito?

rms

October 2nd, 2012
7:48 pm

Hey thanks Chris V. Nothing personal against him just dissapointed that a guy like him never came close to at least All-Star potential. But enough about him, you’re right it seems like our identity will be a fast jump shooting up and down the court kind of team. I like your energy and constant updates, keep it coming!

Billy The Kidd

October 2nd, 2012
7:49 pm

Chris V

There are a lot of guys who feel that when Zaza comes into the game Al should go to the bench rather than move Josh out of the power forward role.

Josh is the best power forward on the team and he should not have to move to give Al an opportunity.

Can you ask Larry Drew if we can keep Josh at his position when Zaza comes into the game?

Can you also find out if a date has been set to trade Al? That is will he continue to be shopped or are we sand bagged with carrying his dead weight?

SHAWTY

October 2nd, 2012
7:57 pm

Super V Im on board with getting rid of

Rick Sund
Marviin Williams
Al Horford

These three are keeping the hawks from moving up. Oh thats right Rick and Marvin is gone. We tried to trade Al last summer but couldnt find a taker.

Will we continue to try and upgrade Al’s position via trade?

Today's All Troll team

October 2nd, 2012
8:02 pm

Go Trolls.

Gray Mule
savannah hawk
Sneaker Pimp
Ghost Of Woody
Peachtree Fan
Macaroni Tony
Chris Crawford

:)

October 2nd, 2012
8:26 pm

That’s way to many Trolls guys, let me guess, its one guy who is supporting his favorite player.

Slimjr

October 2nd, 2012
8:29 pm

Bo Diddley

October 2nd, 2012
8:43 pm

“Whether its former players like Marvin Williams or current players like Al Horford, these crowns jerks-off:”‘- Peachtree troll

I think you meant “clowns” no ” crowns” but the point is They’ve already traded Marvin,and they are working on Al.

Bo Diddley

October 2nd, 2012
8:47 pm

“This is J Smoove team not the faux AllStar. Josh is irreplaceable at this time..” – Co- sign that!

Slimjr

October 2nd, 2012
8:59 pm

doc, misconstruing the quote perhaps? hehehehe

AG

October 2nd, 2012
9:00 pm

darrell stark – I think you need to look at the rebounds Joe and Marvin averaged. I doubt together they averaged over 8 rbs per game. We are only missing their height, but they did not use it!

Bo Diddley

October 2nd, 2012
9:01 pm

” What happend to the other guy that used to do the hawks blog? Fired?”

Yeah.

He kept trying to convince Danny Ferry that Marvin Williams and Al Horford was championship material.

High-sider

October 2nd, 2012
9:13 pm

Fire [Dream] Coach [and GM] Fred Williams…Bring back Marynell Meadors…Oh yeah, btw, let’s go Hawks [I think]?

P.S. Is it too late to make a deal for Jamal Crawford?!?!?!?!?!