Atlanta Hawks practice report: More defense, tweets

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

The Hawks spent the majority of Saturday’s practice working on defense as coach Larry Drew and staff seek to correct the mistakes made in the exhibition loss to San Antonio Wednesday.

“We’ve got a lot of things that we need to put in but there were a lot of things that we didn’t do a good job of in San Antonio,” Drew said. “These last couple days we spent a lot of time watching film and coming out on the court and working on it. I want it to have a carry-over effect in our next game.”

Drew said he wants to be satisfied that the defensive concepts and philosophies already installed have taken grasp before moving on to new ones.

*The Hawks leave for Memphis Saturday afternoon for Sunday’s 6 p.m. game against the Grizzlies. (I will not be attending).

* Drew said he has yet to decide the starting lineup for the game, but expects it to be different than the ones used against the Heat and Spurs.

* Drew, unsolicited, praised the practice of forward Ivan Johnson Saturday.

“I thought Ivan Johnson was really good today in practice,” Drew said. “He brought a lot of energy, a lot of intensity. He brought a real physicality to our practice and I really embrace that about him because that is what toughens your practices up. Obviously we want that to have a carry-over effect to our games.

*DeShawn Stevenson (knee) was a limited participant in Saturday’s workout.

* Stevenson took to Twitter Friday night to apologize to former Nets teammate Deron Williams. Stevenson sent out some tweets earlier in the week blasting the unnamed Williams, who in an interview with ESPN The Magazine questioned teammates who laughed in the locker room after losses last season.

On Friday, Stevenson sent out three tweets:

-“I Talk 2 My X Teammate 2Day And He Told Me That He Wasn’t Talking About Me And They Mis-Print What He Said”

- “So I’m A Real Dude And Want 2 Say Sorry 2 Dwill For Spazzing And A Real Dude Would Say Sorry! So Sorry Dwill”

- “Takes Alot 4 A Man 2 Call A Man And Tell Me The Truth!! I Respect That!!”

Earlier in the day, when asked about the tweets obviously aimed at Williams, Stevenson told the AJC, “I’m done with it. I’m worried about the Atlanta Hawks right now. This group of guys. What I said is done with. If you know who I’m talking about, you do; if you don’t, you don’t.”

Stevenson did not want to discuss the issue following Saturday’s practice. I assume the situation has been resolved.

- Chris Vivlamore

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* Spurs win exhibition game on buzzer beater

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

254 comments Add your comment

Ra'mon

October 13th, 2012
3:02 pm

This may be the least amount of ‘nice guys’ the Hawks have had in quite some time.

TMACfan

October 13th, 2012
3:15 pm

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

October 13th, 2012
3:22 pm

“I thought Ivan Johnson was really good today in practice,” Drew said. “He brought a lot of energy, a lot of intensity. He brought a real physicality to our practice and I really embrace that about him because that is what toughens your practices up. Obviously we want that to have a carry-over effect to our games.

BIG IVAN FOR PRESIDENT

soullrenaissance

October 13th, 2012
3:23 pm

LD fckd the hawks with pitiful coaching and substitutions last year.

2 FOR JOHN DREW

October 13th, 2012
3:53 pm

C-VIV …… ON THE FAST BREAK

Slimjr

October 13th, 2012
4:12 pm

Sounds like Larry’s running for office!!!! LOL! There’s a new Sheriff in town and you better move your butt! heh hee heh

Slimjr

October 13th, 2012
4:18 pm

Wonder if the Hawks can still be ranked in the top 6 in [Defense] with ISO gone and these new guards and wing men along with [ ] up the middle?

Iso, will be missed guarding those gifted [2] guards.

Its all about chemistry and trusting your new teammates..Can they trust this coach?

Slimjr

October 13th, 2012
4:20 pm

soullrenaissance

October 13th, 2012
3:23 pm

“LD fckd the hawks with pitiful coaching and substitutions last year.”

Greyhound leaves on the hour..

Slimjr

October 13th, 2012
4:22 pm

If I hear another ref, to Miami’s model as a way to replicate success for the Hawks I will recommend that blogger be committed…

Slimjr

October 13th, 2012
4:27 pm

“Stevenson took to Twitter Friday night to apologize to former Nets teammate Deron Williams. Stevenson sent out some tweets earlier in the week blasting the unnamed Williams, who in an interview with ESPN The Magazine questioned teammates who laughed in the locker room after losses last season.” C-Viv

Class act. A couple could take notes…

AG

October 13th, 2012
4:37 pm

V, your pace is on fire. I actually posted shortly after the JJ trade on a couple of occasions what needed to happen to bring excitement back to the Hawks organization. Friday as a great example of our guys going into a busy venue to market the team and one another. I am more than sure most people didn’t know those guys – other than realizing they were real tall. Also, the caption of the rookie walking through the varsity completely unnoticed. Again, great job with the NBA and the Atlanta Hawks. Other events should be scheduled and I am sure the buzz around town (especially if we have a winning team) will put some butts in seats!

Also, adding home grown talent always helps. I actually worked with one of Lou’s high school team mates and he still keeps up with a lot of those guys. I am sure he has a significant following. Even remembering when he came to town, he would have his own cheering section. So three guys from Atlanta playing for Atlanta (although I am sure a lot of comp tickets), certainly will have the highlight factory rocking.

Lastly, I said the PR department should send endless emails of press releases of our team to give our beat writer plenty to write about. Active beat writers with plenty of new insights helps common guys like me know a little more about our team. That way we are not reading two months after the season about a guy(s) that are no longer on the team or have been released!

I am sure most of these guys here are so excited and cannot wait until opening night. Although I have not been to opening night in years – I do plan on going this year.

Thank you Danny Ferry!

Slimjr

October 13th, 2012
4:47 pm

Lou will probably start again.. Dynamic duo [ Lou and Devin] once [Devin] heals up..

The Truth

October 13th, 2012
5:18 pm

“I thought Ivan Johnson was really good today in practice,” Drew said. “He brought a lot of energy, a lot of intensity. He brought a real physicality to our practice and I really embrace that about him because that is what toughens your practices up. Obviously we want that to have a carry-over effect to our games.”

I hope Ivan toughness and intensity rubbed off on Petro. This dude needs a lot of work.

Sautee

October 13th, 2012
5:36 pm

Back after a long hiatus.

If I were LD, I’d put Ivan on Horford every day at practice. Toughen Al up and make him more assertive offensively. He’d have to match Ivan’s intensity, and I like that thought.

Astro Joe

October 13th, 2012
5:52 pm

I could see asking someone to be a classic low-pos player if the team had a classic pass-first PG… but if a guy posts on the block with this roster, he will simply be in the way as the PG attempts to get to the rim. Even guys like KG are shooting from the perimeter to clear the path for Rondo.

Slimjr

October 13th, 2012
6:19 pm

After that 2nd quarter fiasco, Horford would better serve the Hawks franchise by becoming an [eraser] of defensive lapses and mistakes..

Larry has plenty of offense.. He will succeed or fail on the defensive end.

falCans

October 13th, 2012
6:25 pm

Smoove fa Pesident. Trade Al start Zsa Zsa aquire legitimate wing and solid back up C

wordsmithtom

October 13th, 2012
6:27 pm

C-VIV…..great job. Appreciate it.
Lou Williams sounds like he wants to be part of a winner. Stevenson and Harris have already proved to be winners. Ivan plays with that kind of “take no squat” attitude. James shows moxie, blocking LBJ against Miami and taking down 7 boards against San Antonio. If he can embrace a tough defence attitude as a way for the team to win, he will easily replace MW’s production from last year. Lou and Harris should be a 2 headed JJ, sans ISO. More running will make them more interesting to watch, and more outside shooters will give opponents headaches. No, they don’t have that dominant force inside. But they are looking like a very good “TEAM”. Yes, I’ll say Miami model and I like it. It’s great to have a dominant center to work around, but these guys come 2 a decade. If Josh stays down low, he can be nearly as effective as LBJ. Not as good, but good enough to WIN.

The Truth

October 13th, 2012
6:47 pm

Ivan Johnson is the only “real” upgrade to the Hawks frontline in 5 years. Compare this to the Hawks back-court changes:

Mike Bibby
AC Law
Flip Murray
Jamal Crawford
Jeff Teague
Jordan Crawford
Kirk Hinrich
Willie Green
Jannero Pargo
Lou Williams
Devin Harris
Anthony Morrow

It’s clear where the focus ( via money spent in transactions) has been over the last 5 years, in the back court. These guard-centric Hawks have ranked 23rd in rebounding and 19th in pts scored in the paint last season for good reason (hardly elite). Hawksville (and “yes” even some players) have cried out over the years for more help in the paint. This may explain why Ivan Johnson is the most popular “recent” addition to the team.

HE’S NOT A GUARD

The Truth

October 13th, 2012
6:49 pm

btw

Add Stevenson to that list

The Truth

October 13th, 2012
7:03 pm

More Last Season Stats:

Opposition Rebounding – Hawks ranked 13th
Opposition Pts Scored in the Paint – Hawks ranked 13th

Middle tier at best

steven a smith

October 13th, 2012
7:40 pm

I belive that this is the deepest Atlanta Hawks Basketball Team ever. They have the ability to filed “2″starting NBA Basketball Squads. The only glaring weakness is probably at the “5″ spot. They will be fine at the 3 with A. Tolliver now in the fold.

steven a smith

October 13th, 2012
7:50 pm

I am hoping that Devin Harris beats out Jeff Teague. He is a definite upgrade over Teague. Jeff has been a “Dow Joneser” thus far in his Basketball career. One game he’s up the next one he’s down….

Big Ray

October 13th, 2012
7:59 pm

If I were LD, I’d put Ivan on Horford every day at practice. Toughen Al up and make him more assertive offensively. He’d have to match Ivan’s intensity, and I like that thought.

Excellent idea. Unfortunately, LD may not have the presence of mind to do this. What’s worse, if Horford says he doesn’t like it, I’m inclined to think LD would cave in…which is exactly the opposite of what a good HC does. A good HC does what is best for the TEAM and what is best for the individual player as far as development and maximizing potential.

I’m not at all confident that LD knows how to do this in a lot of cases.

Big Ray

October 13th, 2012
8:05 pm

Slimjr ,

After that 2nd quarter fiasco, Horford would better serve the Hawks franchise by becoming an [eraser] of defensive lapses and mistakes..

Larry has plenty of offense.. He will succeed or fail on the defensive end.

Believe it or not, I couldn’t possibly agree more with what you said.

I’m no more convinced that LD will have this team playing better defense than ever.

I’m also not convinced that Horford is going to do what we need him to do on the defensive end. He’s not a shot-blocker by trade, but he can block some shots. More importantly, he moves his feet well and can body-up on guys that are a little too heavy for Josh Smith.

However, I haven’t seen that Al Horford in a while. I want the guy who, along with Josh Smith, gave the Celtics fits in the 2008 playoffs.

It’s all about mindset. Horford can be as good a defender at 6′9″ and 245 lbs as there is at that size. Hell, that’s no bigger than Ben Wallace back when he was with Detroit (although Wallace was stronger and seemed kinda juiced up to me at the time).

But anyway…that’s what we need out of him. Don’t know if we’ll get it or not, we shall see.

Big Ray

October 13th, 2012
8:08 pm

steven a smith ,

The opposite to that is Devin and Lou’s presence makes Jeff Teague play harder. I’d rather that happen, because Jeff has better defensive capability than either guy.

But….again….we’ll see what happens. One thing is for sure, with Lou and Devin…provided both stay healthy…we have options at the pg spot if Teague struggles. We won’t be subbing with beaten up/injury-depleted backup SGs or doughy soft “used to be” pgs who can’t run and can’t defend.

steven a smith

October 13th, 2012
8:16 pm

Big Ray

October 13th, 2012
8:08 pm

Agreed. Teague is better defensively. I would like to see him shoot the ball more. Attack the basket more. He should pattern his game after Derron Williams. Some nights he should take over..

Buddy Grizzard

October 13th, 2012
8:18 pm

Good to see Larry giving Ivan props for being physical after his performance in SA, when he pushed Eddy Curry around.

Big Ray

October 13th, 2012
8:23 pm

steven a smith ,

I agree. He should attack more. Lou and Devin will certainly show him how, if he can’t figure it out, LOL. I think that’s why Danny Ferry was talking about it becoming Teague’s team this year, particularly with Joe gone.

Well, I’m sure Josh and Al have something to say about all that, but every team needs a floor general. And these days, you MUST have a pg with an attack mentality…or it’s all but a lost cause…unless you have Kobe Bryant or Lebron James on your team…in which case you know the deal already my friend.

Big Ray

October 13th, 2012
8:24 pm

Ivan’s physicality is very much needed.

Astro Joe

October 13th, 2012
8:58 pm

Again, if Horford gets in anything resembling foul trouble, what does his boos do? He sits him. His boos installed an offense that places a premium on jump-shooting. And his boss told them to focus on transition defense and to stop going hard after offensive rebounds. In my estimation, Horford’s issues are mostly due to his insistence on following his boss’ direction. Haven’t we watched Josh get fewer offensive rebounds, shoot more from the perimeter and move further from doc’s J. Smash” since LD’s arrival?

Astro Joe

October 13th, 2012
9:00 pm

Josh Smith has told the Hawks that he isn’t going to sign an extension during the season. He’d rather wait to become a free agent, when he can get a five- year deal. An extension would limit him to a three-year deal, according to the new CBA rules. New GM Danny Ferry has upwards of 10 players who could be free agents at season’s end. New York Daily News

wordsmithtom

October 13th, 2012
9:05 pm

Big Ray, totally agree. Ivan is bigger than Charles Barkley. I have no problem with him as the #3 center. That Drew went to see him 3 times this summer underlines how much anyone who really understands basketball knows what a man like ivan can actually mean to a team. Witness The Worm. That crazy MOFO went after balls; held position; and attacked went off like a cheap hand gernade. It’s not the size of the man in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the man. Ivan has that fight. We need more of that.

Big Ray

October 13th, 2012
9:19 pm

AJ ,

That’s true. However, you’re addressing rebounding more than you are defense in that statement.

LD definitely does not know how to prepare this team to play good, consistent defense. He says he’s stressing defense, but are they listening to him? Does he have anything worth saying? We heard that defense chant from him last year. I didn’t notice any particular effect.

What I do know is LD and that mouth of his talking about getting up and down the court – none of it happens without defense and defensive rebounding. That was one thing Woody put an emphasis on and Horford definitely provided when he was asked to do so.

I find it funny that folks can’t remember that…

Big Ray

October 13th, 2012
9:23 pm

wordsmithtom ,

Yeah, man. We need all of the tough cats we can grab. There’s Ivan, and there’s Stevenson.

I wouldn’t call Lou Williams a “tough guy” per se, but he is definitely a warrior.

Sanity

October 13th, 2012
9:35 pm

Co-signing

Smoove fa President. Trade Al start Zsa Zsa acquire legitimate wing and solid back up C

Slimjr

October 13th, 2012
9:36 pm

Ivan is one tough homie!

Once he finally got under Curry’s skin, Curry practically ran Ivan over and was ready to pile drive him into the court..Ivan knew he better keep cool cause he ran into one guy who could break him in half! lol!

Ivan for Vice-President!

Astro Joe

October 13th, 2012
9:36 pm

Big Ray, while some of us were saying to let Horford figure out how to defend Howard, LD (likely because of self-preservation) employed the disposable big man strategy. And I truly believe it had more to do with keeping Horford’s offense in the game than anything else. I don’t recall the centers that LD did allow him to play light him up in that ‘10-11 season.

Bottom line, I’m not worried about Al or any accusations around toughness. In terms of blocked shots, my guess is that he is among the league leaders as the secondary weakside defender. I simply don’t think that you will find two starters on the same team that average 1.5+ blocks per game… not simply because teams don’t have 2 above average shot blockers, but because you don’t want to have two guys chasing the ball and essentially leaving two opposing players open for an easy drop-off pass and lay-up.

BTW, Josh had never had two consecutive years averaging less than 2 blocks/game until LD took over.

Again, I’m not concerned about Horford’s toughness.

Bertie

October 13th, 2012
9:40 pm

Last 2 spots: Damion James and Anthony Tolliver.

steven a smith

October 13th, 2012
9:41 pm

I also believe that Petro will get better with more minutes. He could be a sleeper player. If he could average 2 blocks, 10 rebounds, and 10pts, would he be worth starting?

Slimjr

October 13th, 2012
9:55 pm

One way to toughen up Al is to let him play through foul trouble.. Larry should not [protect] him.

The Hawks will need his defense more than they need his offense….

Motown

October 13th, 2012
10:02 pm

**That said you also posted that this may be the best Hawks team ever

steven a smith

October 13th, 2012
10:45 pm

Zsa Zsa played well enough last season to earn the permanent starting position. Definite double/double guy.

steven a smith

October 13th, 2012
10:48 pm

Motown

October 13th, 2012
10:02 pm

**That said you also posted that this may be the best Hawks team evere

I believe this could be the most talented Hawks team from 1-14 or 15.

Rusty

October 13th, 2012
11:01 pm

I think that Steven a smith is really ld ,the dummy who caused us a victory over the celts.

Bertie

October 13th, 2012
11:04 pm

Rusty I think the one who caused us a victory over the celts.was Horford with his 7 turnovers in the disqualifying game .

steven a smith

October 13th, 2012
11:10 pm

“Ole Ball Coach not looking so happy this week”

glw

October 13th, 2012
11:33 pm

steven a smith
October 13th, 2012
9:41 pm

I also believe that Petro will get better with more minutes. He could be a sleeper player. If he could average 2 blocks, 10 rebounds, and 10pts, would he be worth starting?

Yeah Petro is a sleeper alright…. I think Petro can get you those numbers, if you give him all month to get them for you.

Ra'mon

October 13th, 2012
11:40 pm

The best way I would suggest to help Al get his ‘Enforcer’ mentality back is to only let him watch game footage from his rookie season. I keep looking at this roster and seeing the Grizzlies squad that Fratello coached for a few seasons. I would love to see how he would do with this roster (although he took over for one of my favorites – Hubie Brown). I think the Czar would have this team committing on defense, and rather it was through benching Josh, Al, Teague, or anyone, he would demand they play how he desires.

Ra'mon

October 13th, 2012
11:56 pm

Guys, my question for Petro isn’t how athletic is he. But more so how much fight does he have in his heart. If you look at Zaza’s season before coming to Atlanta and Petro’s last 18 min a game season, they had very similar stats. If Petro is willing to battle, then we may as well root for him while he is on the team.