Updates with Carldell Johnson being waived.
Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.
Coach Larry Drew and the players I spoke to are not overly concerned with a 1-3 start to the preseason, including losses in the past three games. Exhibition games are about getting a look at different combinations of players in different situations.
“No, there are no issues there,” Drew said when I asked if he was concerned about the three losses. “Going into the preseason my main objective was to put a lot of different combinations on the floor to see what I have. When you have that many new faces in a training camp, there is a lot of learning, there is a lot of teaching, that has to be done.
“Therefore, the games are going to have to be used as learning experiences for us. Basically, going into these preseason games, I knew that’s what I had to use them for. As I said, as we move further down the road we’ll start putting together a more realistic combination of players out on the floor and I’ll get more of a feel of the combinations of players that I will be using.”
Drew said that he will start moving toward a regular starting lineup and bench rotation for the final three exhibition games. Although there is still evaluation to be done in terms of the final roster, he will begin with Thursday’s home against the Hornets.
According the players I spoke with, they also are looking forward to getting game action with a regular rotation.
- Jeff Teague: “Me and Josh (Smith) talked about that yesterday. We want to get a feel for who is going to be out there with you. With this team we are so deep that any given night anybody can be out there with you.”
- Al Horford: “I think we are at the point now where we really need to start mixing in the guys who are going to play together. We need to start playing in games together not just in practice. I think we are going to start seeing that, hopefully, in the next few games.
“I think a lot of the guys are still trying to figure out what their roles are and where they fit in. We just need to keep playing hard. Everyone is going to get their opportunity. … It’s going to come down to who can pick up our defensive coverages the most. That’s what we really need. We know we can score the ball. We just need to come together as a team defensively.”
In other notes:
* Smith and Horford were held out of Tuesday’s loss to the Pacers with minor issues. Smith has a sore knee and Horford has tightness in his shoulder (partially related to last season’s torn pectoral muscle).
“Both guys could have played,” Drew said. “Both guys wanted to play. I choose not to play them. I felt there was no real need to play either guy.”
* Drew did not reveal his starting lineup for Thursday’s game against the Hornets. However, based solely on my observations from practice, I think the likely group could be Teague, Devin Harris, DeShawn Stevenson, Smith and Horford.
* Drew said he loved the combination of Teague and Harris, who made his exhibition debut after dealing with a knee issue during training camp.
“I love the speed,” Drew said. “I love the fact that both guys can really break the defense down. They can get in the paint and cause havoc. Last night I put them both back in again in the fourth quarter, about the half-way mark, and they created some great opportunities for us. We just weren’t able to knock down some shots toward the end.”
* The Hawks waived guard Carldell Johnson Wednesday, trimming their training camp roster to 16 players. The team has until Oct. 29 to trim to the NBA-mandated limit of 15. However Drew has indicated he would like to get his roster set sooner rather than later. Johnson, the 5-foot-10 guard out of Alabama-Birmingham, appeared in one exhibition game with one assist and one steal in 13 minutes.
- Chris Vivlamore
THE LATEST NEWS
Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks