Atlanta Hawks: Benson, Muhammad released

Vivlamore reporting.

The Hawks released forward/center Keith Benson and guard Isma’il Muhammad Thursday, trimming their training camp roster to 17 players.

Benson (6-foot-11, 230 pounds) was a second-round draft pick of the Hawks (48th overall) in 2011. After being waived by the Hawks, he signed a 10-day contract with the Warriors and appeared in three games. He also appeared in 20 games with Sioux Falls of the NBA Development League, where he averaged 15.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Benson had 10 points and two rebounds playing 10 minutes of Wednesday’s exhibition against the Spurs.

“I’ve been a lot more aggressive,” Benson told the AJC early in training camp. “I’ve worked on my overall game, my shooting, my defense. I think I’m stronger and am an improved player from last year.

“I came in for some workouts and they were impressed with my workouts. They liked what I did in summer league. I’m just trying to build on that.”

Muhammad (6-6, 228) played at W.D. Mohammed High and Georgia Tech in Atlanta. He has played professionally in Iceland, France, Saudi Arabia, Columbia, New Zealand and Venezuela.

Muhammad had one point and two assists in 12 minutes against the Spurs.

“They expect me to do what I have been doing the last few years – defend my butt off, play hard, play with energy, attack the glass and rebound and when I get the opportunity finish above the rim,” Muhammad said last week.

Coach Larry Drew said earlier this week he was not sure when the team would start trimming its roster. He has said that 19 players were too many to get into exhibition games. The team must trim its roster to 15 players by 5 p.m. on Oct. 29.

- Chris Vivlamore

THE LATEST NEWS

* Hawks changing offense without Joe Johnson

* Spurs win exhibition game on buzzer beater

* Ivan Johnson returns after offseason of reflection

* Up-tempo offense can’t forget about the low post

* Hawks players to serve at The Varsity

* Harris cleared for full-contact practice

* Q and A with Anthony Tolliver

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

150 comments Add your comment

glw

October 11th, 2012
5:29 pm

Not surprised by Muhammad but am shocked Benson was cut early. Guess LD doesn’t like him.

HoosierHawk

October 11th, 2012
5:29 pm

How did Squeaky make the cut after getting drained on at the end of the game, on a team with 3 starting quality PGs?

grimey

October 11th, 2012
5:33 pm

Benson> petro

Slimjr

October 11th, 2012
5:38 pm

Uh OH, what a surprise on Benson’s release?

Well at least we got the other guy still in there….Yawn…

Point-forward

October 11th, 2012
5:39 pm

I really thought Benson had a legitimate shot at making the team with how he has been playing.

Slimjr

October 11th, 2012
5:40 pm

Larry you should have cut Squeaky wheel!

Benson! Benson! Benson!

AG

October 11th, 2012
5:40 pm

I am not liking this at all. Benson played well in the Summer League. Benson gets his first action, scores 10 points and gets released! I look at Sqeaky, and his line looked horrible. I hate politics.

Slimjr

October 11th, 2012
5:42 pm

Guess the new angle is: Josh is the last line of defense at the 4? Hmmmmmm

The other Guy can stand there and watch from the 5?

AG

October 11th, 2012
5:42 pm

Petro is the consensus terrible player. Next, I guess I will see Jeff Teague coming off the bench. Unlike my fellow bloggers who hate Al but continue to blog, if that happens – the Hawks can kiss my 10 game a season money away! I can’t understand how a kid in one game plays better than a guy who is making 3 million a year and is still on the team!

Slimjr

October 11th, 2012
5:43 pm

Liquid Wrench could not help Squeakey’s game last night!

Lir(Dominican)

October 11th, 2012
5:47 pm

Slim everyone knows your simply an al H hater, your blaming horford cause someone else couldnt handle their guy. so Al have to, josh dont have simply cuz you have to blame horford.

steven a smith

October 11th, 2012
5:48 pm

keith Benson will play for someone in the NBA. He has better Basketball instincts than some of our other frontcourt “Bigs” Whomever made his decision will probably live to regret it. I would rather see them “Amnesty one of our starting frontcourt players”

MattP

October 11th, 2012
5:52 pm

Wow! Why would the release Benson when we need another center and his performance last night. Cardrell Johnson should not have made the first cuts because we already have 3 good PG and he showed nothing special. The only guess I have is that they are wanting to trade one of the PG. If that is not the reason this coach is brain dead.

The Truth

October 11th, 2012
5:54 pm

I can’t believe Benson was cut before C. Johnson. A good example of why some invites to LD camp are premeditated. Apparently Benson never had a fair chance. Didn’t actually see the Spurs game but his stats looked promising. Would like to know what didn’t he like about this prospect compared to Petro.

Like his rotation, LD already has his mind made up about his rotation plans and who will ride the pine regardless of how they play in preseason. The rooks will get the rooks treatment while the vets will play even if they sucks.

The Hawks were already a small team. They have just gotten smaller. LD is a one-dimensional coach who can’t see no further than how well his guards plays. He is idiot to Bigs and how they play. If Josh was on the draft board while LD was HC, he would’ve pass on him in favor of a subpar guard.

That is how he he row

BrazilianHawk

October 11th, 2012
5:56 pm

HORF is the one and only ALL-STAR hawk, something Josh “Birdbrain” Smith will likely never be if he keeps this awful jumper demonstration night in and night out. GO HAWKS!

BrazilianHawk

October 11th, 2012
5:58 pm

ON TOPIC: Releasing Kito while keeping a poor man’s JaCo is really an absurd. SMH

Brazilian wax

October 11th, 2012
6:03 pm

Ken Strickland

October 11th, 2012
6:10 pm

What we might be seeing is the decision to go with just 1 backup C(Zaza), with IJohnson filling in as the 2nd backup C, based on the good job he did last yr. We could still see Petro cut or traded before the preseason ends, especially if his play doesn’t improve. With 17 players remaining on the roster, 2 more will have to be cut to reach the 15 man limit. Those 2 could end up being Petro and the camp invitee guard that’s still in camp.

We just cut 1 of our 3 tallest players(Petro, Zaza, Benson), with the possibility that our tallest player will eventually be cut(Petro). That would indicate we intend to be as much like the Miami Heat as far as size, speed, athleticism, and style of play, as much as we’ll be like the Spurs organizationally. With Tolliver, Scott, James, Johnson, Josh, and Horford we might not be as tall, but they’ve all proven to be better than average rebounders at their respective positions for their size and height.

brigadierjerry

October 11th, 2012
6:17 pm

ken,

what are ur overall impressions of ld as a coach?do u think he is better than woodson?

the truth ur post about ld i agree with. i dont think benson had a chance. ld likes guards and he likes offense

brigadierjerry

October 11th, 2012
6:18 pm

Enter your comments here

Ken Strickland

October 11th, 2012
6:19 pm

One other thing. With the injury to DHarris, as well as his history of injuries, and him not being able to participate in preseason so far, along with the almost certainty that LWilliams will come off the bench, it looks like JTeague will once again be our starting PG, whether some of you like it or not. In fact, it doesn’t good for Harris’ chances to win the starting SG spot.

With Morrow not having a good preseason so far, and Korver not being a serious SG candidate, it looks more and more like Jenkins will have a better than expected chance to win the starting SG battle. Shooting and scoring wise, he has the potential to be better than the others. It should boil down to how well he improves and performs defensively. Right now, it looks like DStevenson is his only serious competition.

grimey

October 11th, 2012
6:22 pm

I agree with ken. Petro trade for a 2nd rd pick. Keep tolliver anderson james

brigadierjerry

October 11th, 2012
6:25 pm

will be rooting for james to make team.

i think benson will stick on another nba team

Ken Strickland

October 11th, 2012
6:26 pm

BRIGADIERJERRY-I think LD is a better coach when it comes to OFF, and actually giving a damn about rookies and younger less experienced players. For the current young and less experienced Hawks team, Drew is definitely the better coach. For a veteran ladened team like the Knicks, with a couple of players that are capable of carrying a team using Woodson’s beloved ISO dominated OFF, Woodson is the better coach.

The Truth

October 11th, 2012
6:27 pm

“What we might be seeing is the decision to go with just 1 backup C(Zaza), with IJohnson filling in as the 2nd backup C, based on the good job he did last yr.” – Ken

Ken

With an 82 game season, LD will get no sympathy on this blog if they are hit with injuries to their frontline. If you think last year was a struggle after losing Horford for the season, imagine what will happen if something similar happen or worse.

They would be forced to bring in a stiff on multiple 10-day contracts and guard-happy-LD would be to blame for narrow-vision and poor planning.

ctrim

October 11th, 2012
6:30 pm

Like him but in the grand scheme of things he wasn’t going to make an impact anyway. Probably let him go early so he could have a chance to catch on somewhere else. Wish him luck but by no means am I upset. Still trust Danny.

Clarification

October 11th, 2012
6:39 pm

“Guess the new angle is: Josh is the last line of defense at the 4? Hmmmmmm”

“The other Guy can stand there and watch from the 5?”

—————————————————————————————-

Hawks preseason stats:

JSmith: 40:09 min – 1 blocked shot

AHorford: 36:09 min – 5 blocked shots

Standing and watching? Hmmmmm

brigadierjerry

October 11th, 2012
6:39 pm

ken,

good point about ld and offense. that is my problem with ld. he cares more about offense than he does about size and defense. i understand ur point with miami they go smal but they have wade and james. hawks dont have that and i am puzzled by cutting benson and making this team smaller when the hawks dont have great size to begin with. i am not saying benson is great but he can be worked on to improve

i wanted benson and james make the team and move the excess players out.

last year for the reg season with horford out, ld did good record wise but i had some problems with his substitutions. playoffs i was very disappointd with him in game.

i hate to say it but i want ld gone and i think danny ferrry will recognze it and make a change.

Roy Kittles

October 11th, 2012
6:55 pm

Didn’t see this one coming I thought benson actually had a chance. I really expected petro to get the ax.

glw

October 11th, 2012
7:04 pm

I just beleive he didnt have much of a chance either. LD mind was made up from the start. But D Ferry has been talking about player development. Sure I didnt see Benson playing much this year, but thought he was worth one of the 15 slots and at least let him play some D League this year. Where is the development stuff we talked about. But with Benson cut, definitely means Scott has made the team. And knowing Squeaky will be cut….who will be the final cut? Anderson, Tolliver, or James? my money is on Anderson. Petro wont be cut now, figure LD will keep a third center.

doc

October 11th, 2012
7:21 pm

somebody else is going to have to find this kg look alike in the weeds. also adds to the plethora of bigs drafted by my boy rick who never made the grade. problem was the philosophy thus far of the asg bdf was nothing ventured nothing gained. df changes the culture. hope they bite the bullet if someone comes available better than el gigante petro.

keep the best 14 and move on.

ntrigue

October 11th, 2012
7:28 pm

Wow…This is the worst move they have made under Ferry! Benson should be on the team no doubt! We have no other big man that can block shots besides Josh! Hopefully we can bring him back later but im sure someone will snatch him up. C Viv can you inquire why Benson was let go? Doesnt make any sense at all!

doc

October 11th, 2012
7:31 pm

clarification, i used to say this about a former loved one, “never let the truth stand i the way of a good story”. this is what these guys are doing, nothing objective at all, “just with their eyes” near the space containing a huge void as a processor it seems.

Runner-

October 11th, 2012
7:38 pm

WOW, at a loss for words, stupid decision

SB75

October 11th, 2012
8:13 pm

Didn’t get a chance to reply to the last one so I’ll reply here……

I do think Ferry’s plan is to pair Howard, Paul, and then re-sign Josh. However if Paul and Howard stay in LA all is not lost. You have Bynum and if he’s healthy Steph Curry you could sign and then resign Smith. I do think Curry is a better pg than Jeff, Steph won’t get max money so you may be able to make another move or 2. AL Jefferson’s name has been brought up a few times. I don’t think he is a terrible option, however I do have some concerns about his attitude. I have not heard anything, but big’s with his knid of talent don’t bounce around as much as he has in his young career

Slimjr

October 11th, 2012
8:19 pm

Just to clarify, clarification..

How many did he have while he was dismantled in the paint during that 2nd quarter debacle? Hmmmm

Thought so….Enjoy the ride….

Yes you cant reason with the fan club sometimes…doctor….bar set low for so long…

Slimjr

October 11th, 2012
8:21 pm

“just with their eyes” near the space containing a huge void as a processor it seems.”

two way street, perhaps….

gypsyjoe

October 11th, 2012
8:28 pm

Benson getting cut means Toliver and James make team. When Harris starts playing bye bye Squeky.

Clarification

October 11th, 2012
8:42 pm

“Just to clarify, clarification..”

“How many did he have while he was dismantled in the paint during that 2nd quarter debacle?” “Hmmmm”
—————————————————————————————————

The same number as Josh, who you said was the last line of defense.

E43

October 11th, 2012
8:47 pm

I dont think going after Chris Paul is worth it. He’s just another flashy guard used for marketing purposes and looking good in the playoffs but not good enough for a championship. Actually, when was the last Chris Paul, Derron Williams, Steve Nash, Derrick Rose, etc won a championship? Who were the point guards on the last 10 nba championship teams? I guarantee there arent that many flash MVP caliber pg’s. The hawks will need either a center, or a small forward to win it all.

Ken Strickland

October 11th, 2012
8:59 pm

BRIGADIERJERRY-I guess money, not performance, was the deciding factor between Benson and Petro after all. Cutting Benson early like he did prevents any chance of him showing how much better he is than Petro. Woodson routinely pulled a simular stunt with Teague and Bibby.

Whenever Woodson gave Teague a chance to play, and he performed well, Woodson would follow that good performance up with a DNPCD everytime. Woodson didn’t want to give Teague a chance to show Bibby up, nor a chance to show him up for stubbornly insisting on playing an OFF and DEF liability like Bibby just because he was a veteran.

THE TRUTH-Injuries are a part of the gm, which we saw last yr with Horford, Zaza, Collins, and Hinrich. Each team is allowed to carry 3 inactive players in addition to a 12 man active roster. Depending on who gets injuried, we can utilize 1 of our 3 inactive players to replace the injured player.

Petro just might end up as 1 of our 3 inactive players. There’s no reason to believe we’d have to automatically sign a STIFF, as you put it, in order to replace an injured player if we already have an inactive player that plays the injured players position. LD has proven he can coach through injuries and adversity.

What he hasn’t proven is if he can coach a team with no superstar of star player or players, but one that’s very deep with comparable talent at almost every position. He’s gone from having only 1 capable PG(Teague)last yr to having 3 this yr(Teague, Harris, Williams). He’s also gone from having 2 quality PFs(Josh, Ivan) to having 4 this yr(Josh, Ivan, Tolliver, Scott).

He’s gone from having to start a backup center last yr to starting an Allstar, All NBA center this yr with last yrs starter as his primary backup. He’s gone from having an over the hill grossly under achieving SG(KHinrich) to having as many as 4 SGs(JJenkins, AMorrow, DStevenson, and LWilliams) capable of outperforming Hinrich or backup WGreen this yr.

He can’t just utilize or over utilize certain key players like he’s done in the past, like JJ, Bibby, Horford, Josh, Crawford. That old idea of sink or swim with the performance of 2 or 3 plays is no longer valid with this team. The core on this yrs team has been expanded and has suddenly become deeper and more talented. In the past, if JJ, Bibby, Jamal, or Flip were off, we just let them shoot us out of a win.

With the speed, quickness, athleticism, shooting and penetrating ability, as well as overall talent and versatility we now have with LWilliams, DHarris, AMorrow, KKorver, JJenkins, MScott, ATolliver, and DStevenson, that approach must be discarded.

Last yr we consistently utilized a 10 man rotation. Part of that was due to a condensed schedule, and part was because most of our veteran players could only play limited mins due to age and lack of stamina. That definitely won’t be an issue with this yrs team.

Clarification

October 11th, 2012
9:13 pm

Slimjr the evidence and attacks on Al horford has been so strong from you guys that I felt the only way to help Al was to attack josh.

If you want to discuss this further just email me sautee @ hotmail . com

Slimjr

October 11th, 2012
9:13 pm

“The same number as Josh”

Thats all ya got? Keep hope alive fan club member…

Sorry to see Benson cut. Granted he did not play against their starters but something appeared to happen once he got his mins. The Spurs seemed to start taking more jumpers. I was rooting for him..

Hopefully he’ll get picked up by some other ball club and continue to improve his game…

Grandad

October 11th, 2012
9:17 pm

ctrim

Your comment concerning Benson was right on target.

This is not an I told you so, though it may seem.
However, I did state on at least 6 occasions [on this very blog]
that Benson would -not- make the team.
Most always qualified with I hope I`m wrong.

For those of you blaming LD for this,
you are ‘ off target ‘ as this is Danny Ferry`s call, pure and simple.
Mr Ferry is not going to let LD shape a roster, or, make the call
on a young kid when said kid would more likely outlast LD himself.

Simply put;
Benson didn`t have a contract … Mike Scott did.
That is where the line was drawn.
Petro was never in the dicussion due to contract.
Scott outshown Benson in SL.

Make no mistake;
this is Danny Ferry`s team – not LD`s !
Hail to the Chief !

Lir(Dominican)

October 11th, 2012
9:17 pm

Look guys. lay off Al horford. The hawks arent going any where so why does it matter to you if Al picks up a pay check.

I cant defend Al and Al cant defend the rim, the hawks arent going any where so what can we change the subject?

if you want to discuss this you can reach me at sautee @ hotmail .com

Clarification

October 11th, 2012
9:18 pm

Not really a fan of either. Mostly I’m interested in the gap between what people think, and the facts on the ground. Interesting territory. And no, I’m not Sautee. I’m interested in facts, not moralizing. Sorry, Sautee.

soullrenaissance

October 11th, 2012
9:19 pm

Coach ‘Listless Dunce’ is at it again. Benson showed up and showed out las tonight. This move could come back to haunt the team during the rigors of a full season. I was rooting for Is’mail Muhammad to make the team for sentimental reasons (homeboy from the home town.)

Grandad

October 11th, 2012
9:21 pm

Slimjr

* ..from previous blog.. *

I asked for your take on Josh last eve ?
Especially defense on the [backline] due to your evaluation of Al
and the inability of our guards to stop penetration.
Given that Josh is our real stopper on def;
I was wondering ?

Slimjr

October 11th, 2012
9:24 pm

Once Devin heals up, you may see Teague [nimbers] reduced some what. Perhaps Larry pulls him quickly in the 1st quarters to get Lou revved up?

Its really not that important who starts games its who finishes….I expect Lou to get major mins going down the stretch perhaps as Larry continues to build his fascination with him..

I liked seeing Lou and Teague play together last night. Different look seeing to quick guards for the Hawks on the floor at the same time..

These 3 guards are going to give opponents fits night in and night out! It will be a joy to watch..

These bigs are going to have to step up their game. Hurry back Zaza!

Grandad

October 11th, 2012
9:33 pm

Benson was never going to be a rotation player.
Nor will he be for anyone else.

I don`t even know who Sqeaky is ?

Furthermore, I`ll be surprised if Tolliver makes the team.
This does not mean I`m pulling against him.

I do not think Ferry is goning to guarantee -any- contracts to -any- plyrs
who cannot be developed, or, have trade value.

We are sort of stuck with JP for the time being.

I really, really hope DJames makes the team plus gets the opportunity
to start, with the plan of being a lock-down defender !