Atlanta Hawks: Preseason more about evaluation

Vivlamore reporting. Here is my story on the Hawks that will appear in Thursday’s print edition of the AJC.

Three straight exhibition losses are not a concern to Hawks coach Larry Drew. This preseason has been about learning to best utilize the many new players at his disposal.

Drew has used a different starting lineup in each of the four exhibition games. That has been by design. While the results of the games matter to the competitive nature of coach and players, Drew said his top objective was to see what his players could, and could not, do in a number of different situations.

The Hawks (1-3) have three exhibition games remaining, including Thursday’s home game against the Hornets. Now comes the time for Drew to move toward the lineup and bench rotation that will open the regular season next month.

“As we move closer toward the end of our exhibition we’ll probably start using more of the rotation that we are going to be using during the regular season,” Drew said following Wednesday’s light workout. “We still have some evaluating to do with these guys and we’ll continue to throw some different looks to continue the process of giving guys some good looks and analyzing to see where they are, will they be able to make our ball club.”

Jeff Teague said he and Josh Smith, two of the team’s five returning players, spoke recently about the need to get into a regular flow. The team took a step in that direction when Devin Harris make his exhibition debut Tuesday. The guard, who will share backcourt duties with Teague, has been limited in training camp with a sore knee.

Al Horford, another of the returners, agreed it’s time for a regular lineup and bench rotation to take shape.

“I think we are at the point now where we really need to start mixing in the guys who are going to play together,” Horford said. “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 it’s going to be interesting. 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.”

Drew has stressed defense all training camp even with much of the outside attention focused on the team’s new up-tempo offense. Defense has been at issue during the preseason. In each of their three losses, the Hawks have surrendered more than 100 points. The Spurs (51.9 percent), the Grizzlies (47.7) and the Pacers (44.6) all shot above the Hawks’ goal of holding the opposition between 41-42 percent from the field. Some of that is due to the limited play of the regulars during this evaluation process. Smith (knee) and Horford (shoulder) were inactive against the Pacers. Drew said the move was precautionary and both are expected to play against the Hornets.

“It all starts with Josh and myself,” Horford said of the team’s defense this season. “We have to be held more accountable defensively and we have to set the tone. That is something we are going to try to focus on these next few games.”

While the offense might be slightly ahead of the defense at this point in training camp, according to Drew and players, the Hawks have been outshot is all four exhibitions. They have shot 40.3 percent (140 for 347). However, the three losses have come by a combined 14 points.

There remains work to be done.

“I think these last three (games) I really want to focus on us,” Drew said. “Focus on what we have to do on the defensive end. Focus on what we have to do on the offensive end. If we have the focus in those areas and go out and do the things we’ve done throughout training camp, we should be in good shape.”

- Chris Vivlamore

* Practice report: Time for regular rotation to take shape

* Hawks drop to 1-3 in preseason

* Return of Harris gives Hawks more flexibility at guard

* Harris could make debut Tuesday

* Hawks report: More defense, tweets

* Williams kept eye and ear on Hawks

* Three players vying for two roster spots

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

91 comments Add your comment

Slimjr

October 17th, 2012
6:05 pm

Slimjr

October 17th, 2012
6:06 pm

“It all starts with Josh and myself,” Horford said of the team’s defense this season. “We have to be held more accountable defensively and we have to set the tone. That is something we are going to try to focus on these next few games.”

Good quote coming from AllStar AL.. He gets it! Good for you Larry?

Slimjr

October 17th, 2012
6:10 pm

This team can score the ball!

Defense is their Mt Vesuvius!

Got to box out..All 5 [players] on the floor need to help on the boards..

paian

October 17th, 2012
6:14 pm

I swear that steven a smith blogger has to be the dumbest ever, literally.

Slimjr

October 17th, 2012
6:45 pm

With 3 excellent dibble penetrating guards, these bigs should feast around the rim, plus they have improved their outside shooting with this new and improved roster…

It will be exciting to see the explosion of offense..

Astro Joe

October 17th, 2012
7:26 pm

The other roblem with a potential starting line-up that includes Harris and Stevenson is that both of those guys have a recent history of missing games due to chronic issues. So does it make sense to go into a new season knowing that 40% of your starting line-up may not be able to play consistently or have to make arrangements to handle back-to-back games? I think Damion James may be the SF winner by default… and even he has a long history of not being healthy (which is why he was available off the scrap heap).

Grandad

October 17th, 2012
7:27 pm

The one play that folks are forgetting;
which I suspect DFerry is the motivation,
however, I must remind yawl the ” Pick & Roll “,
[heretofore] not seen in ages, will be a staple for …
our speedy guards and both Al as well as Josh.

The above …^…^…^… sentence [perhaps] my most convoluted ever.

Grandad

October 17th, 2012
7:29 pm

Why not start the ones who earned it ?

Grandad

October 17th, 2012
7:30 pm

Whomever that was ? [in practice]

Grandad

October 17th, 2012
7:32 pm

I would start:
Lou, DJames, Josh, Al, -&-, Zaza.

-maybe- ?

Grandad

October 17th, 2012
7:34 pm

-or-

Lou; JJenkins; KKorver; Josh; -&- Al

steven a smith

October 17th, 2012
7:42 pm

We can “score the Basketball”(worn out cliche)however, we cannot protect the rim! In the playofffs you need to have the athleticism to protect the rim. This is not College. The Zone will not work, PERIOD.

ag

October 17th, 2012
7:50 pm

How can you say start the one’s who earned it and put JJenkins in the starting lineup? ZaZa just started participating … and you think he should start? Half of Hibbert’s 6 blocks were thanks to ZaZa. JT0 is the starting PG! I think James has earned a starting spot.

Slimjr

October 17th, 2012
8:09 pm

Slimjr

October 17th, 2012
8:15 pm

Andrew Wiggins: King J 2.0?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=HJn74ufOx64&NR=1

Danny this kid does have incredible potential? Hmmmmmm

Slimjr

October 17th, 2012
8:17 pm

ISO JOE x 3… ^^^^^^

steven a smith

October 17th, 2012
8:32 pm

Bulls to extend Taj Gibson’s contract and waive Carlos Boozer later via the amnesty clause?
http://www.hoopshype.com
Could Boozer wind up a Hawk???

Marvin,Horford,and Jon Kontract

October 17th, 2012
8:33 pm

1. Dominique Wilkins* 882
2. Tree Rollins 814
3. Bob Pettit* 792
4. Kevin Willis 753
5. Cliff Hagan* 745
6. Lou Hudson 730
7. Jon Koncak 717
8. Bill Bridges 683
9. Eddie Johnson 619
10. Josh Smith 600

Rusty

October 17th, 2012
8:33 pm

How the hell did Ferry & the hawks get stuck another year with LD. Ferry should have already been negotiatong with the hawks & should have been given input about LD s situation & the draft choices.

steven a smith

October 17th, 2012
8:39 pm

Short Term Dream Line-up:
PF: Boozer
C: Horford
SF:J. Smoove
SG:Harris
PG-Teague

This line-up would give the Heat fits???

Slimjr

October 17th, 2012
8:44 pm

Rusty, the Hawks are going to have to find their super stars through the draft by way of trades.I believe Danny will find the two or three that he will need to be in the Finals within 4-6 years.

Danny is a super star executive..It’s going to happen..

Rusty

October 17th, 2012
8:46 pm

Grandad what criteria are you going with when you say play who earns.it. Don’t you think that JT earns it based on last season & after getting pissed on by LD on a consistent basis.

Rusty

October 17th, 2012
8:51 pm

JT is by far the best defensive pg we have,is the most athletic & is the youngest with a lot of room to keep growing if LD would get off his case.talk about a presence who does very thing in his power to hold a young player back.

paian

October 17th, 2012
8:52 pm

That grandad is one clueless guy. I don’t think he understands how the game is played.

Grandad. Send me your mailing address. What is your reading level?

Rusty

October 17th, 2012
8:52 pm

I am sure that I am not the only one who thinks that

Ken Strickland

October 17th, 2012
8:58 pm

STEVEN A SMITH-The zone was definitely effective for the Mavericks when they defeated the Heat and won the NBA title. You are at least consistent when it comes to making one stupid, ignorant and/or delusional comment after another. You’re starting to close in on Guiness Book of Records territory with your ANAL MINDED COMMENTS.

Let’s predict who we think will be in the starting lineup on opening day. I’ll start it off by predicting it will be
SF DJames SF/KKorver
C AHorford/ZPachulia/JPetro(IJohnson)
PF JSmith/IJohnson/ATolliver
PG JTeague/LWilliams(DHarris)
SG DHarris/AMorrow(LWilliams)

MScott, JJenkins and maybe DStevenson will make up the inactive squad. It looks like JAnderson will be the last one cut from the current 16 man roster.

Duh

October 17th, 2012
10:13 pm

Slimjr

October 17th, 2012
10:23 pm

Big Ray

October 17th, 2012
10:24 pm

The usual foolishness going on, I see…

Sounds like a typical day on the blog, although not all of the heavy hitters have arrived. Then again, it IS preseason…

Poor Astro Joe …always making a relevant point or asking a valid rhetorical question…only to be met with…well, the usual foolishness…

Melvin

October 17th, 2012
10:56 pm

Been watching the Jazz/Clippers game for only 3 mins and I must admit. Marvin looks much better in a Jazz uniform then he every did in a Hawks uniform.

jlewis

October 17th, 2012
11:59 pm

@melvin
Marvin wasnt the problem with the Hawks, it was to many duplicate positions and bad coaching. They scapegoated him and Joe for the deficiencies the team had, wasnt their fault

Duh

October 18th, 2012
1:30 am

I just watched that game too….my thoughts?

Korver > Marvin

Morrow > Marvin

Same ol’ Marvin, bricking threes from the corner and getting his shot blocked on dunk attempts (Ronny Turiaf stuffed him tonight).

I mean Both Korver and Morrow average less per game than Marvin and look at their PPG totals.

Look, Starting Damion James at SF is a mistake. Like with marvin, it won’t be that bad in the rgular season, but in the playoffs when Harris/Teague get trapped off the screen and you need a bailout from the perimeter, whats gonna happen? We’ll get shut down just like we did when marvin was here.

If Dallas proved anything, it’s that offensive fluidity is a must in order to make it to the top. Yo have to be able to manufacture points under pressure, and if you don’t have a bonafide superstar then you better have a nice system and a team full of A-Level threats.

Damion gets spot duty when we need to slow down a high profile small forward, but we’re built to have unstoppable flow offensively in the face of tense defenses. If Drew is smart he will play to that strength more often than not.

Marvin doesn’t do one thing particularly well. Now we have a team full of specialists: Defense (Josh/Al/James)

Offensive rebounding (Zaza)

Shooting (Morrow, Korver, Jenkins, Scott)

Speed/Drawing Fouls/Slashing (Teague/Harris/Lou)

Enforcement/Intimidation (Ivan/Zaza)

Now it’s up to Drew to put the pieces in their proper places. I like Drew personaly, CLEAR upgrade over Woodson and it’s VERY evident in the playoffs. Some of you gripe & complain about his rotations but I enjoy them compared to Woodson’s STIFF 6-man rotation over the course of 81 games. Smh.

Duh

October 18th, 2012
1:31 am

*Average less minutes per game

Grandad

October 18th, 2012
1:40 am

paian

” That grandad is one clueless guy.
I don’t think he understands how the game is played.”

uhhh … whomever you are ?

I was reading on 6th grade level in the 1st grade;
unfortunately, I was still doing 1st grade arithmatic in the 6th grade !
However, I eventually caught up.
By the time I graduated from college;
I was doing very well with 6th grade arithmatic … thank you !

Now [Mr/Ms] paian:
I`ve not seen your name on the blog during my tenure.
Although you may very well be using a different name.
Regardless;
most who know me, realize I post some satirical remarks on occasion,
in order to point out [for example] the folly of trying to predict
a starting line-up.
Not that the exercise itself is folly, but attempting
to make a logical conclusion,
when the man making the ultimate decision
is a somewhat *irrational *[translated nutty] coach;
then that can be both frustrating and fruitless.

Perhaps that is not your point of contention.

Perhaps it is some other clueless remark I`ve made on occasion.

I cannot contest your clueless remark;
only to say that I was and still am a teacher of the game.
* (going on 40 years, I suspect)
` Tis a game I both love and respect.

Sorry about my mailing address, privacy, you know.

Enjoy the blog … know your audience.

Grandad

October 18th, 2012
1:49 am

Rusty

As a general rule;
I think jobs & playing time should be earned in practice.

Also, I believe that once earned they must be continually earned daily.
* practice and or games.

I do not believe in the system of entitlement;
nor do I believe in whomever makes the most $ plays the most.

I believe a coach plays to win – period.

Once again – If a player earns a job in training camp,
I do *’`not`’* believe that entitles him to keep his job forever.
He must contiually earn his job daily.

Does LD practice these concepts ?

NO – resoundingly – I do not !

I have and will continue to support LD when he is deserving.
On the other hand;
I wish to make it clear – now that DFerry is here,
LD`s days are not long for our Hawks, nor should they be.

vava74

October 18th, 2012
2:21 am

NBA news:

Boston signed Leandro Barbosa. Great fit and now Boston is really dangerous IMO.

Kevin Love broke his hand. 6/8 weeks out. Minny’s playoff hopes spiralling down. Love’s durability is now a legitimate issue since he seems to get injured often lately.

Grandad

October 18th, 2012
2:24 am

” is a somewhat *irrational *[translated nutty] coach ”

In my:
1:40 am post;
I used the word *[irrational] while intending to use *[illogical].

**
The fact that I came back & corrected it;
is both irrational -&- illogical !

vava74

October 18th, 2012
2:45 am

Duh:

“If Dallas proved anything, it’s that offensive fluidity is a must in order to make it to the top. Yo have to be able to manufacture points under pressure, and if you don’t have a bonafide superstar then you better have a nice system and a team full of A-Level threats.”

ummm… didn’t DeShawn start for Dallas during the finals? And that’s a guy who only has 1 offensive weapon and which offensive game anything but fluid.

vava74

October 18th, 2012
2:57 am

or are you implying that having Dirk (bonafide superstar) means that Dallas could afford to have DeShawn on the floor, whilst we can’t?

vava74

October 18th, 2012
4:45 am

Any line up which combines at the same time 3 of the following players is a ticket to the lottery:
Teague, Harris, Lou, JJ2, Morrow and Korver.

paian

October 18th, 2012
4:51 am

@grandad

thats just that troll taking names again.. as usual

paian

October 18th, 2012
4:53 am

and i am just using a diff name b/c of that problem, just sad.

Duh

October 18th, 2012
7:23 am

Deshawn can shoot and Marvin can’t and I don’t care what the statistical numbers show If we had stevenson at SF instead of Marvin the past eight years we would’ve done better in the playoffs..

Dirk draws doubleteams just like JJ does, BUT

1) Dirk can still score when he feels like it in spite of this

2) Dirk has had better weapons to pass to out of the doubleteams.

Just as our offense became more fluid when we replaced Childress with Perimeter threats Flip & Mo, the smae would have happend if with stevenson. But lets be honest Morrow/Jenkins/Korver are bettr shooters than stevenson. End of story.

Duh

October 18th, 2012
7:40 am

“Any line up which combines at the same time 3 of the following players is a ticket to the lottery:
Teague, Harris, Lou, JJ2, Morrow and Korver.”

Lol BLASPHEMY

See you at the playoffs in april LOL.

kwooden1

October 18th, 2012
8:03 am

My problem with starting Korver has always been that teams will key on him and it will be very similar to having to compensate for Bibby at PG. But against most teams in the league it really doesn’t matter who starts with Jeff, Al, and Josh, as long as Lou comes in the game and does his thing. From what I gather LD’s lineup is going to look like:
starters – Teague, Harris, Stevenson,Josh,AL
bench – Lou,Morrow,Korver,Ivan,Zaza
backups – James, Tolliver, Petro
D-League – Scott, Jenkins

I personally like to start the best rebounding and defensive team because scoring comes from good ball movement to get easy shots and consistent rebounding to get more shots, opposed to having just the best shooters on the floor. My starters would be:
starters – Teague,Morrow,James,Josh,Al
bench – Lou,Harris,Korver,Ivan,Zaza

Astro Joe

October 18th, 2012
9:22 am

vava said, Any line up which combines at the same time 3 of the following players is a ticket to the lottery:
Teague, Harris, Lou, JJ2, Morrow and Korver.

Agreed. Hopefully, LD deploys 4 of them at a time so we can add a lottery pick to our summer assets.

paian

October 18th, 2012
9:29 am

You are right grandad, I just joined this site. Thats why you have not seen my name here berfore, which by the way should clue you in that the guy/gal at the time listed below is a name stealer when he says “as usual”, since I am knew to this site there is no “as usual” for me.

Finally, I was only saying that your logic and basketball knowledge seemed lacking. Perhaps I took your comments seriously when you meant them satirically.

I check you out a little more before making an assessment next time. It wouldn’t hurt if you clue a newcomer in as to when you being intentionally ignorant.

How do you stop guys like this troll from impersonating me?

paian

October 18th, 2012
4:51 am

@grandad

thats just that troll taking names again.. as usual

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paian

October 18th, 2012
4:53 am

and i am just using a diff name b/c of that problem, just sad.

O'Brien

October 18th, 2012
9:46 am

AJ,

Agreed. Hopefully, LD deploys 4 of them at a time so we can add a lottery pick to our summer assets..

A lottery pick + no LD + Houston’s pick + cap space would make a very interesting off season next year.

O'Brien

October 18th, 2012
9:49 am

Melvin,

I have always thought Marvin needed a change of scenery Here in ATL, he never played well enough for us, and was always known as the guy who we drafted instead of CP3 and D-Will, and the guy who Rick overpaid. In Utah, he can relax and play his game, and expectations are probably tempered out there. I wish him luck, but I am glad he is gone.

vava74

October 18th, 2012
9:56 am

OB,

I think Marvin needs to live above the 40º meridian to fulfil his potential due to him being from Washington :-D

His problem in ATL was that he living too much to the South!!!