Atlanta Hawks: Up-tempo offense can’t forget the low post

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story for Wednesday’s print edition of the AJC.

There is so much talk around Hawks training camp about the new up-tempo offense that promises a faster brand of basketball. Coach Larry Drew has gone as far as to set an ideal of a mere four seconds for his team to cross midcourt to start an offensive possession.

However, there is an element of the Hawks offense that cannot be forgotten with this fast-paced, perimeter-shooting group. There must continue to be a low-post presence. If not, much of the new look will be ineffective.

“I don’t want to stray away from that,” Drew said. “Our game, obviously, is going to be in the open floor and in transition. But still we have to establish ourselves in the low post and force teams to have to defend us down there, force teams to double team us down there.”

The Hawks are going to run with Jeff Teague, Devin Harris and Lou Williams running the offense. The speedy guards are reason No. 1 the Hawks revamped their offense. The addition of perimeter shooters such as Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson creates another wrinkle to the quick pace. The attention the guards draw with their ability to drive the lane opens the outside for the long-range attempts.

However, that cannot be the sole look of the offense, not with Josh Smith, Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia working down low.

“I don’t believe you can win a lot of games, go to the playoffs and win a championship just from shooting from outside,” Pachulia said. “There are a lot of nights when outside shooting won’t be there for you. You need the inside presence for sure. If both aspects are successful, it’s very hard for defenses to guard. It’s a huge advantage when you have low-post players who can score down low, defenses will help inside and then you have outside shooters.”

Therein lies the flexibility of the Hawks offense. If an opponent chooses to take away the outside shot, the inside should be open. If the opponent tries to clamp down on the inside, the outside should be open.

The Hawks were a middle-of-the road team last year in points scored in the paint. They were ranked 19th in the NBA with an average of 39.6 points per game. Denver led the league with 53.2 points per game. The Hawks were without the services of Horford for all but 11 games last season. They often used Jason Collins with Pachulia was out.

Horford said the Hawks yet to introduce the low-post offense during training camp.

“You need to have an inside presence,” Horford said. “You can’t just sit around and shoot jumpers all day. We have to have a paint presence. We have to establish that. In camp, we have really been focusing on the defensive stuff and getting out and running but at some point we are going to have to address it.”

In keeping with the Hawks’ philosophy, it all starts with defense.

“First and foremost to be an up-tempo team, you have to get stops,” Smith said. “You can be an up-tempo team, how Golden State was four or five years ago and run-and-gun and try to outscore teams, but in the Eastern Conference you have to play defense in order to win basketball games. In order for us to be an up-tempo team we have to get stops first. When you get stops it makes it easier to get fast-break points.”

Smith said when the game slows down he, Horford and Pachulia have the necessary moves to score down low. If they force teams to trap in the paint the perimeter shooters should get open looks at the basket.

- Chris Vivlamore

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Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

100 comments Add your comment

doc

October 9th, 2012
7:14 pm

been waiting!

doc

October 9th, 2012
7:16 pm

sluggish bloggers ariund here having a hard time keeping up with the cv train.

maybe he is being influenced by the new up tempo offense instead of the iso joe that seems to have held up everything in atl including the blog.

jgsbirds

October 9th, 2012
7:20 pm

looking forward to the season–i’ve been waiting a long time for a hawks team that could just flat out shoot the ball. i think my wait if finally over–now hopefully they’ll be able to stop some folks as well and get the rebound and get on the move!

glw

October 9th, 2012
7:21 pm

Who’s going to the post though? Will Josh and Al fight over who gets the most jump shots during the game? Sad to say, but Zaza is the best at being physical and drawing fouls in the post. Maybe with all the shooters and the way the offense is run, those guys will go down low a bit more.

MsDee

October 9th, 2012
7:25 pm

Now THAT’s how I like to hear my boy Horford talking, “You need to have an inside presence,” Horford said. “You can’t just sit around and shoot jumpers all day. We have to have a paint presence. We have to establish that. In camp, we have really been focusing on the defensive stuff and getting out and running but at some point we are going to have to address it.”

Blast

October 9th, 2012
7:25 pm

Chris Vivlamore on fire!

slimjr

October 9th, 2012
7:32 pm

“Horford said the Hawks yet to introduce the low-post offense during training camp”

Hey AllNBA here’s an idea, why not introduce yourself to a low post game? Hmmmm

grimey

October 9th, 2012
7:34 pm

I believe Smith horford teague can be our own home grown big 3

slimjr

October 9th, 2012
7:38 pm

MC= ISO Joe? Funny ish!

Luke Cage

October 9th, 2012
7:42 pm

SWEET CHRISTMAS!!!

Luke Cage

October 9th, 2012
7:46 pm

It will work if SMOOVE will pass to a guard to begin a fastbreak then fills the lanes so he can finish instead of trying to go coast to coast resulting in a turnover or a bad shot/pass.

slimjr

October 9th, 2012
7:48 pm

Hey AllNBA, your major[only] weapon is the [set] [shot]!!

You got that turn-around-fade-away set shot down pact yet? This past summer you were about 5 feet short on that one..Aim for 3 feet that way AllStar Josh can catch it and convert it..And you get the assist man! Yea that’s the ticket….

ClassicHawks

October 9th, 2012
7:56 pm

Whatever happen to the always pouting Michael Cunningham, good riddance. Villamore is the best thing to happen to Atlanta Hawks basketball this side of Danny Ferry! ha ha! Keep up the good work sir!

slimjr

October 9th, 2012
8:12 pm

On Live: Da Bulls and Memphis, NBA TV

slimjr

October 9th, 2012
8:12 pm

Man if we had Rudy Gay!!!!!!

slimjr

October 9th, 2012
8:31 pm

FTPB

tony

October 9th, 2012
7:46 pm

“I’m very excited about watching Lou Williams in action. This guy is a fearless competitor who can score with the best of them. The Sixers did not take full advantage of his potential and will regret it once he becomes an allstar. If LD decides to start him at the 1, have no problem with that. That guy will inspire people to come out to the games. Get the season going!”

Hey Tony, I too cant wait to see Lou energize these Hawks!!!!

This dude has [STAR] and [fan favorite] written all over his game.. Somebody maybe seeing more splinter time? Perhaps….

#Let'sGoHawks!

October 9th, 2012
8:35 pm

Anyone know what site the game is streaming?

Blast

October 9th, 2012
8:40 pm

Looking at Jerry Sandusky in his jumpsuit with Yahoo reporting that he has lost a ton of weight, the picture confirms it, with a lifetime jail term staring you in the face, that old dude ain’t gonna last 3 years in jail, man. 5 max. Especially if he doesn’t like prison food.

Dude is a peodophille monster. Wrecked a lot of lives, and he still isn’t taking responsibility. Burn in hell, Jerry.

AnotherGM

October 9th, 2012
8:42 pm

Note to LD, you have ZERO low post players!

Rod from College Park

October 9th, 2012
9:05 pm

“Hey AllNBA here’s an idea, why not introduce yourself to a low post game? Hmmmm”

LOL

Astro Joe

October 9th, 2012
9:08 pm

Slim, referring to Al as “All NBA” is like trying to insult Kevin Love by calling him “gold medalist”.

Big Ray

October 9th, 2012
9:19 pm

Astro Joe ,

Good analogy….

Big Ray

October 9th, 2012
9:21 pm

Slim Jr ,

Agreed on Lou Williams. Teague’s playing time will suffer this season, and for once I have nothing to say about it. Lou and Devin have the tools to keep Jeff Teague on the bench if he can’t find his “dog” or go buy one.

I have no idea what he’s talking about when he says the “other guys” could bring the ball up and he could fade to the wing….ummm…he played a lot of two guard in college, but he doesn’t have the jumper (mechanics OR reliability) to do that in the NBA, much less the size or the attitude. You have to have two of the three…

Devin can…Lou has…but they also don’t have aggression issues…

Big Ray

October 9th, 2012
9:27 pm

As for the post game ….

Is this supposed to be a joke?

Pahulia doesn’t have much of a post game. He can score inside a bit, but he doesn’t have a post game, really.

Al Horford has NO post game. When matched up against centers, they are either taller/longer, or heavier, or both. Al’s strength is in going past them to the basket from 12+ feet out. And he has to do that quickly…that jab step of his is a joke….nobody goes for it.

Josh Smith could have a post game…but “midrange shawty” likes to hang out on the perimeter for jumpers so much…he probably forgot he could score inside. Thing is, his best move to the basket involves much the same as Horford – using his quickness to get there…sometimes that half-way crossover dribble of his also does the trick….but again…he won’t set up in the post more than a couple of times a game in most games, so…..

What post game is it that they “can’t forget about”…that they actually HAVE?

I guess this is where the wailing Al Jefferson fans come in…because if big plodding Al can do anything, it’s score in the post. He can rebound too, but his numbers are slightly below that gawd-awful guy we have known as Al Horford…which I find so ironic…

Big Ray

October 9th, 2012
9:31 pm

Oh wait….we’ll get our post game from “do a little bit of everything and a whole lot of mostly nothing” Anthony Tolliver….right?

Or maybe Johan Petro…who can’t do anything except be rooted in the post while he’s in the game. That’s about as much of a “post game” as we can expect to see, I think…

Slimjr

October 9th, 2012
9:40 pm

Kevin Love> AllStar Al

Apples and Oranges fan club member..

Slimjr

October 9th, 2012
9:42 pm

Apples and Box Cars….

Luke Cage

October 9th, 2012
9:45 pm

“midrange shawty” LMAO!!

Slimjr

October 9th, 2012
9:45 pm

JT [dog] will not help him. Just put him on a leash and sit him down on the bench.. Larry Drew has already found his [stud] and it aint Jeff…

Slimjr

October 9th, 2012
10:03 pm

“I have no idea what he’s talking about when he says the “other guys” could bring the ball up and he could fade to the wing….ummm…he played a lot of two guard in college, but he doesn’t have the jumper (mechanics OR reliability) to do that in the NBA” -Big Ray-

Cosign Sir..

doc

October 9th, 2012
10:11 pm

what teague’s floater doesnt count as a jumper? tell that to jj. heh heh

Slimjr

October 9th, 2012
10:19 pm

doc the floater is only effective if you have a reliable jump shot…His is not quite there yet and that’s being nice…

steven a smith

October 9th, 2012
10:30 pm

Drew appears to opt for scoring over defense??? Playoff Basketball is more about Defense “Larry”

Slimjr

October 9th, 2012
10:30 pm

“Al Horford has NO post game. When matched up against centers, they are either taller/longer, or heavier, or both. Al’s strength is in going past them to the basket from 12+ feet out. And he has to do that quickly…that jab step of his is a joke….nobody goes for it.” – Big Ray -

Preach, Choir, Tabernacle

Slimjr

October 9th, 2012
10:37 pm

CP3 has that beautiful [reliable] jump shot from [mid-range Shawty] to out beyond the 3pt. line.

Which keeps his defenders off balance so when he decides to penetrate his [floaters] are much more effective and damaging…

Marvin, Horford and Jon Kontract

October 9th, 2012
10:39 pm

“Horford said the Hawks yet to introduce the low-post offense during training camp”

ROFLMAO!!!

Really. Like we have all been saying this team could be much better with Al Jefferson. We dont need him to run the court as some of these guys have been saying. If Harris, Williams and Smoove and Teague cant handle that then we are wasting our time. We are very fast with those four. We need a center who command a double triple team and Jefferson can surely do that.

Nobody is going to waste time trying to double Al. What coach do you know is that stupid?

Marvin, Horford and Jon Kontract

October 9th, 2012
10:47 pm

“I don’t believe you can win a lot of games, go to the playoffs and win a championship just from shooting from outside,” Pachulia said. “ It’s a huge advantage when you have low-post players who can score down low, defenses will help inside and then you have outside shooters.”

Well no chit!

Been saying that for years. if you dont have a half court game in the playoffs you have no chance to go far. Running and Gunning will surely get you to the playoffs but then the game changes to favor Finesse and Defense in the Half court game. You walk the ball up and hustle back on D.

We have Zero (0) chance of going far in the playoffs with Al Horford in the low post. Mister Escort service is a handicap.

Slimjr

October 9th, 2012
10:50 pm

If opposing coaches would go back and watch film on Horford in the 2011 playoffs against Orlando and Chicago they would find that he could essentially and effectively be guarded by a 4..And technically neutralized for the whole series..

Marvin, Horford and Jon Kontract

October 9th, 2012
11:01 pm

“but his numbers are slightly below that gawd-awful guy we have known as Al Horford…which I find so ironic…”

How much weed does Fat Nasty smoke? Is he hallucinating or still warming Al’s nuttz? You be the Judge.

Here are the numbers over the last 5 years.

Rebounds/Blocks/ Pt’s – Last 5 years

2007–08 Jefferson 11.1/ 1.5/ 21.0 VS Horford 9.7/ 0.9/ 10.0

2008–09 Jefferson 11.8/ 1.7/ 23.1 VS Horford 9.3 /1.4 /11.5

2009–10 Jefferson 9.3 /1.3 /17.1 VS Horford 9.9 /1.0 /14.2

2010–11 Jefferson 9.7/1.9 /18.6 VS Horford 9.3 /1.3 /15.3

2011–12 Jefferson 9.6 /1.7 /19.2 VS Horford 7.0/ 1.1/ 12.8

Me personally I would not call that slightly better, unless I had some of Ray’s Weed.

doc

October 9th, 2012
11:04 pm

slimj i was kidding. heh heh i know a floater isnt a jump shot.

watching jj, that is all teague has shown as part of his game that of getting onto the lane. but i disagree that a jumper is necessary to have with a floater. it is one of two shots you can make if you get in the lane the other being a dunk/layin and for some reason he has not been a good finisher at the basket, nor does he draw fouls like lou does. his over all game is lacking and inconsistent and not sure he can grow above it nor match devin or lou for talents.

Ghost of Chipper Jones

October 9th, 2012
11:07 pm

doc:

.Zup my man!

Been following the progress of yet another former HAWK with interest here in the DMV, one JENNERO PARGO.

He lit up the gym tonight from long range in the open-to the- public scrimmage at GEORGE MASON U. before the WIZ next X-games tilt against the KNICKS.

With JOHN WALL on the sidelines until near Turkey Day, folks around here are watching the newbies like PARGO, PRICE, and WEBSTER with interest trying to aswage their angst at WALL, NENE, and BOOKER being on the pine with assorted injuries.

How’s tricks in the HOTLANTA with a good team?

DANNY FERRY is the real deal in my estimation. Be curious to see more moves from him. I really like MIKE SCOTT who I have seen at work in person on several occasions, and JOHN JENKINS, two gets that I think will help the competitive depth on the HAWKS.

Pimp My Stats

October 9th, 2012
11:08 pm

Jefferson in is worst year (last five years) is better than Al at his best. So how does Ray pimp the number to make Him “Slightly better”?

Well I guess if you factor the averages before Jefferson became a starter….I mean add his numbers as a bench player shortly after he was drafted then yeah, you can pimp Jefferson’s stats, but those Last five years companions between the “Al’s” says it all.

Detox Ray.

richbrave

October 9th, 2012
11:13 pm

doc:

Dang, forgot to change my name back since CHIPPER retired.

Thinking of baseball for just a moment…..the BRAVES are having my main man in with a select number of other aspiring youngsters for a two day exhibition in front of the BRAVES scouting department first weekend in November.

Plan to be in BURLINGTON, N.C. with all my BRAVES paraphernalia on for that show.

richbrave

October 9th, 2012
11:20 pm

assuage, sorry. Meant to go back and correct that one.

richbrave

October 9th, 2012
11:26 pm

Everybody hit the exits I see. O.K. Later.

doc

October 9th, 2012
11:35 pm

ghost i said hello the other day when you came by for a brief visit.

wiz got it together yet?

kind of optimistic this team will not go too far in the hole but in this league it doesnt take much to get a swoon started. then gm’s make rules behind closed doors to get a team into the lottery, fine line

doc

October 9th, 2012
11:36 pm

fine line between prosperity and austerity in the nba.

Preachtree Fan

October 9th, 2012
11:39 pm

Big Ray

Stop feeding the trolls. They can’t go pass 10 mins without calling Al Horford name. Al This and Al That!!!!Their man crush for him is out of control. Yeah you trolls (are WACK) having wet dreams for him all through the nite. Must be fourplay for some shadow action. huh?

Preachtree Fan

October 9th, 2012
11:49 pm

Any one of you as s holes how post stats showing Al up or who is critical of Al is a troll . How many times to I have to say that ?

Any Criticism of Al = Troll

get it.?

Leave Al alone.

Preachtree Fan

October 9th, 2012
11:55 pm

*who post stats showing Al up

You guys did Marvin the same way. Leave Al alone. He just needs about 4 or 5 more years to get better, and another contract extent ion.