Atlanta Hawks: Failure was not an option for Tolliver

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

Anthony Tolliver took the phone call from Hawks general manager Danny Ferry Saturday. His first thought before answering was not a good one. Why would the general manger call if not to break some bad news?

The forward, fighting for a roster spot, feared he had failed to make the team. However, Hawks management wanted to inform the veteran quite the opposite.

“It scared me when they called me,” Tolliver said Sunday. “Usually, it’s no news is good news. I was getting a call (Saturday) and I was like ‘This isn’t good.’ But they said they look forward to having me on this team.”

Tolliver secured the final spot on a roster of 14, one below the NBA maximum. The Hawks waived James Anderson and Damion James Saturday to finalize their roster well before the Monday deadline. Coach Larry Drew said the final decisions were not easy, especially in the case of James. The former Hawks draft pick turned heads with his preseason play.

“Going into our preseason we were looking at both (Anderson and James) very closely,” Drew said. “Damion James was a guy I was looking at extra close. I love his size. I love his length. I love his athleticism. He’s mindset is to defend.

“We thought it was more important to give ourselves a little flexibility by leaving one (roster) spot open. I thought Damion played extremely, extremely well. Probably should have made our club. But again, our mindset was we wanted to allow ourselves flexibility in the event there is something else out there, there is something else that might pop open.”

Drew said he knew little of Tolliver prior to training camp other than his name came up from time to time as a trade possibility. He said his initial impression that Tolliver was just a 3-point shooter was not accurate.

It was Tolliver’s exhibition play, especially on the defensive end, that made the decision to keep him an easy one. The 6-foot-8 Tolliver averaged 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in seven exhibition games.

“He has versatility where you can play him at some (power forward) or move him to some (small forward),” Drew said. “In a lot of ways, he’s like Josh (Smith). He might not be the athlete that Josh is but defensively his length and his understanding about defense makes him a very valuable piece.”

Tolliver, 27, is entering his fifth NBA season after playing at Creighton. He spent the past two seasons with the Timberwolves but has also played for the Spurs, Trail Blazers and Warriors. There have also been professional stints in the Developmental League and overseas in Germany and Turkey.

Tolliver said he wants to be known as a player who will do thing things nobody else wants to do – take a charge, dive for a loose ball. By his unofficial count he figures he drew one, or sometimes two, charges per exhibition game.

“I came in with the mindset that failure was not an option,” Tolliver said. “I didn’t really even think about it as a tryout. I was just coming in and doing what I do, what I’ve been doing for the last five years

“I try to go out there and play mistake-free basketball. I don’t want to go out there and over-think things. I just try to go out there and help my team win, if that is taking charges, diving on loose balls or always being in the right position on defense and on defensive rotations. I’ve been in this league for a while. I’ve been playing professional basketball for a while. It comes second nature to me.”

Practice report: Jeff Teague and Zaza Pachulia, both with sprained left ankles, took part in Sunday’s practice because it was all non-contact. Their status for Friday’s regular-season opener has still not been determined.

- Chris Vivlamore

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Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

86 comments Add your comment

Myrak43

October 28th, 2012
7:15 pm

glw

October 28th, 2012
7:16 pm

Drew said,

“Damion James was a guy I was looking at extra close. I love his size. I love his length. I love his athleticism. He’s mindset is to defend.”

Then why did you cut him? LD is always talking out of both sides of his mouth. says he likes the defense, but then chooses to go with the guy who is the shooter.

Myrak43

October 28th, 2012
7:17 pm

yes………….yes YES………………. I finally have the first post…. i just wanted to get it once, now that I have i don’t care if I ever get it again. thanks you and good night

UGA

October 28th, 2012
7:24 pm

I don’t see why we did not keep James as a non-guaranteed guy………if something else came up that was better, then cut him.

Sign Pietrus please or Josh Howard, that is better.

Slimjr

October 28th, 2012
7:51 pm

“Drew said. “Damion James was a guy I was looking at extra close. I love his size. I love his length. I love his athleticism. He’s mindset is to defend.”

Interpretation: This guy cant shoot worth a crap. Cut him loose Bruce…

Slimjr

October 28th, 2012
7:55 pm

This is why Anthony will be glued to the bench:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGQaxdykWtM

Slimjr

October 28th, 2012
7:57 pm

Good win for the Falcons..

They’ll beat Tony Romo and Cowboys next week at home. Tony will throw 2 or 3 picks..

8-0!

Slimjr

October 28th, 2012
8:03 pm

Ken Strickland

October 28th, 2012
9:28 pm

SLIMJR-Why do I get the impression that you’re as upset as I am about Drew cutting a rebounding DEF hustler like DJames in favor of Stevenson and Tolliver. Stevenson and Tolliver together couldn’t match James’ rebounding prowess, and neither is likely as good defensively.

Drew talks a good gm and says what he thinks everyone wants to hear when it comes to DEF. However, his actions and decisions say the complete opposite, which is going to get him fired. What on earth has Stevenson done since leaving Dallas that makes Drew think he can offer more than DJames, potentially or realistically?

This team needs rebounding and aggressive DEF, especially at SF, more than it needs another stretch 4(we already have MScott) that can play SF in a pinch. How in the devil can we expect to move forward and improve if LDrew, just like MWoodson, insists on keeping and playing less productive veteran players over younger more productive players with more potential, especially in areas and positions of need?

AnotherGM

October 28th, 2012
9:38 pm

I can’t believe that the hack Drew is a head coach in the NBA

ag

October 28th, 2012
9:40 pm

As I stated earlier, the move just does not make sense. I guess because the team does not want to pay players that they don’t want, that is why they kept Stevenson and Petro. These guys clearly should have been cut, but the additions did not help much. You have to ask, why did we trade for Kyle Korver?

doc

October 28th, 2012
9:46 pm

slimj, you in mourning? the myth is done, it was all a myth. rg3 is real deal.

seems your giants know how to win the falcon way, eh? a win is a win in the nfl.

now, come on peyton.

doc

October 28th, 2012
9:52 pm

slimj:

Lynch relayed a conversation he and Stockton had with Vick in the week before the game.

“”Early this year, John, I was nervous and quite frankly I was worried about getting injured,’” Lynch said Vick told them. “I’ve got to go play football.”

“That was a great admission by him,” Stockton said.

he has ben flinching and why he has coughed it up so much the most egregiuos was fumbling at the one with no one hitting him. flinch baby flinch.

Runner-

October 28th, 2012
10:06 pm

One is a below average defender and a decent shooter, while the other is a stellar defender and hustles on the boards.

Who do you think we more desperatly need considering our current situation on defense?

Nice one Drew…

Hawkfan

October 28th, 2012
10:18 pm

Give it a break..Hawks got it right…plus Ferry will pick-up another good player..bet on it!

rainman34

October 28th, 2012
10:41 pm

Cant wait until friday to see these guys play a game for real to see what they are all about. I like tolliver for this team for one reason he is a very good pick and pop guy. With the speed we have at guard having a 4 that can knock down a three and make the guy guarding him stay home and not help is huge. He will play 10 maybe 15 min he game so he wont make a huge impact but I really think he will hit a couple of big shots for us this year.

doc

October 28th, 2012
10:46 pm

peyton is hurting the saints. maybe a primer for the falcons to use.

brigadierjerry

October 28th, 2012
10:58 pm

Ken,

I remember i mentioned before LD likes offense in favor of defense and myself and ms dee stated that LD was gonna cut james. How is that in the story above that he said he liked James a lot for his defense and rebounding but he cut him for tolliver. This guy is like a cheap car salesman who make promises but totally talks out of both sides of his mouth.

I am not saying James was some all star or something like that but he filled a Hawks need more than anything else.

The Hawks Houston game should be interesting now that Harden is on the team.

Grandad

October 28th, 2012
11:58 pm

I wonder if Mr Ferry was testing LD`s decision making skill ?

I really do get tired of LD`s manure [disingenuous / hypocritical] quotes.

Grandad

October 28th, 2012
11:59 pm

‘`Matty Ice`’ Baby !

SBlackmon

October 29th, 2012
12:15 am

Rashaad Singleton, 7′0/275, former UGA Center, played 2011-2012 season in Sendai, Japan; check out Rashaad Singleton Sendai Youtube. Rashaad is dominating on defense and offense; he scores, blocks, double-digit rebounds, steals, assists, and shoots “away” from the basket. Rashaad is known for his shot blocking and rebounding, and has expanded his game, “shooting away from the basket”, which is GREAT FOR A 7 FOOTER. Hopefully, the Hawks will give Rashaad a chance…..EVERY TEAM NEEDS A DOMINATING CENTER, AND RASHAAD BRINGS IT IN EVERY GAME, RASHAAD SHOWS UP, READY TO DOMINATE ON BOTH ENDS…GO HAWKS!!!!

Big Ray

October 29th, 2012
12:20 am

Falcons stomped a mudhole in Philly’s Arse…I know certain folks ain’t gonna like that but it is what it is.

Best part is it really should have been a blowout, but for a few mistakes on the part of the Dirty Birds. Straight up domination.

Reid and the Philly faithful may as well admit it. $100 million could have been better spent….than on one guy who can’t lead your team….

Big Ray

October 29th, 2012
12:21 am

Slimjr ,

I think your translation of LD’s words was on the money.

The man is a retard.

kwooden

October 29th, 2012
1:42 am

Big Ray, Slimjr This is my problem with the organization, they can’t make obvious decisions. They need a SF that can rebound and play defensive, but they settle on 3 guys that are either to small, can’t shoot or can’t defend. (Stevenson, Josh or Korver) You can’t even have Josh play the position to long or there will be no one left to defend the paint. LD is going to go small and hope they can out score teams, which is just going to get us killed against good teams on most nights and “OK” teams on many nights. I would have rather taken a season to evaluate James, then waste a PF spot on Anthony T. We’re already evaluating Scott for a season, just doesn’t make any sense! Either way this is a wasted season and LD will be gone shortly after it’s over.

GO HAWKS!

Ken Strickland

October 29th, 2012
1:42 am

The Hawks would have been 3 deep at PF without Tolliver(Josh, Ivan, Scott), and Scott is a stretch 4. But with us not having a clearcut starter at SF, Drew demonstrates his ignorance and total preference for OFF and vets by cutting the best prospect and preseason performer we had at the position.

I would love to hear Drew’s dumbass explanation for why he cut James in favor of DStevenson, who seems to have regressed into MBibby territory as far as overall futility is concerned, especially on OFF. Defensively, James is bigger, taller, more athletic, and is a far superior rebounder than Stevenson or Tolliver, which is an area that is desperately needed.

Drew pointed out Tolliver’s 6′ 8″ sizeas being an asset. Well, James is is only an inch shorter at 6′ 7″, but he’s a far better rebounder, passer, and defender. In fact, the only thing Tolliver has shown he can do better than James is shoot, and we already have our share of shooters with Korver, Jenkins, Morrow, Williams, Horford, Harris, and Scott.

What kind of absolute dumbass would give up what is needed most(rebounding/DEF) for what is needed least(outside shooting)just for the sake of gaining one damned inch?

tjhook

October 29th, 2012
1:57 am

LD aka Loser Dude actually tried to pacify readers by acknowledging the blog people’s consensus that James should be an integral part of the rotation – and seems to think that we will be on board with his decision. The roster is in flux right now and if the team gets off to a slow start, fans WILL not tune in. this team cannot afford to have fans tune out because folks will wait until after Christmas and follow the NBA star-studded teams. This will cause a domino effect where once again top stars will overlook the Hawks in favor of other organizations. Damien James offered a cheap solution to a balanced attack. Everybody else will offer varying levels of inconsistency.

Hawks Blog Legend Worldwide Clyde

October 29th, 2012
2:03 am

soullrenaissance

October 29th, 2012
2:07 am

failure is an option for the Hawks this year and its evident with Tolliver making the cut over James. Regrettabl,this whenever I look at Tolliver I will be reminded of Michael Beasley rubbing his knee last year on the Timberwolf bench, :/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=397KGshRNYI

soullrenaissance

October 29th, 2012
2:08 am

Failure and Regrettably ^^^^

Ken Strickland

October 29th, 2012
2:24 am

I don’t mind keeping Tolliver on the roster, because his outside shooting ability is something James and Stevenson don’t do well. But Stevenson has shown himself to be a bust since leaving Dallas. In about the same MPG during exhibition season, James outproduced Stevenson in almost every category.

myrak43

October 29th, 2012
3:33 am

Damian James with the massive dunk………………

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fYN6Fhsz8s

attempt…………

doc

October 29th, 2012
8:01 am

i think damian would have been this year’s feel good story. he would have the impact of what ivan had on the team. he is and was the energy guy so necessary for a team devoid of it in so many areas of performance. we will probably never know unless he gets another chance here because of injury or someone else takes a chance.

Sam

October 29th, 2012
8:44 am

I told you James would be cut! Everyone wanted to talk about him STARTING! Who called it? Check out the previous threads. I expect my apology shortly folks…

Astro Joe

October 29th, 2012
9:05 am

Strickland, Vivlamore said about 5 days ago that the guys with guaranteed contracts would make the team. I don’t know why you continue to shout at the rain about DeShawn. Tolliver likely won the job because he was better on BOTH ends of the floor and maybe because he has a better history of health.

MsDee

October 29th, 2012
9:24 am

Man o man oh man…why WhY WHYYYYYY!!!!!! My Benson NOW my James? When my mom called me the other day asking me have I read the blogs yet, I was like, “naw, not yet…wait dont tell me ma, they cuy my boy James?” And of course she said,”yep!” I was so hurt that I just couldn’t read the blogs until now.

brigadierjerry,

I know u asked me what were my thoughts on this INCREDIBLE VERY STRANGE decision that Drew and company has made, and I really just dont know. I meant, how in CARNATIONS do u cut a bonified rebounding hustler?????? I mean, REALLY?? All I know is this, Drew and Ferry betta have something up their sleeves cause this mess just doesn’t make sense to me. I was SO looking forward to seeing James on this team. Even if we lose the games, just seeing James out their playing is butt off along with Ivan, would have been just PRICELESS!!

vava74

October 29th, 2012
9:26 am

Mike is Back

October 29th, 2012
9:30 am

It just makes you sick to your stomach to hear…double talk LD trying to cover for organization…However, I don’t think this was LD call.

I can understand Danny wanting to have some flexibility but dang…James is a true SF…with size and hustle…you mean to tell me…you are the HAWKS…and you can afford to cut a guy like James…I don’t think so.

Danny may want to rethink this one…if someone does pop up…it’s going to cost you a heck of a lot MORE then James would have.

ANYWAY…GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
9:32 am

doc, looks like Andy Reid days are numbered as the head coach up in Philly. Its run its course..

Vic aint a [West Coast] type QB..Round peg, Square hole. Reid has a running back with Barry Sanders type ability and he hardly utilizes him..

A [wide 9] defensive front is a gimmick! Throw it out with the bath water yesterday! You give any NFL QB time he will pick you apart. Vic at 32 still has the cannon arm and speed. Even if Philly runs him outta town, he’ll find work..BTW no fumbles yesterday.. Whew..heh heh heh

Meanwhile Tony Romo threw 4 more picks yesterday..Hmmmmmmmm, Guess his receivers are at fault again and again..Yes that’s the ticket……Yawn…..

Mike is Back

October 29th, 2012
9:32 am

First it was discount double check…Now it’s discount double talk…geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze!!

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
9:40 am

Yes I see improvement with Ryan throwing the deep ball out side the hash marks towards the sideline..His o-line is doing a much better job holding their blocks just that extra second he needs to plant properly and get the throw off. He’s good as long as he can [sit] in the pocket comfortably and let it rip.. Kudos to the OC and O-line coach..

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
9:42 am

Eli is the man! He owns the Cowboys doc..heh heh heh heh

Sam

October 29th, 2012
9:48 am

Still waiting on my apology!

I TOLD you James wouldn’t make the cut. Remember what I told you about players “being who they are” after their second season?

ag

October 29th, 2012
9:56 am

Vick is showing his age. Philly has to hand the ball off to Shady. Yesterday, the better team won. if you bench Vick, please bench Romo, Rivers and Sanchez.

Tolliver did not have a guaranteed contract – so realistically he could have been cut. Although I wanted James also, we really have to look at the starting lineup. Korver did give us instant offense, but Tolliver gave us much needed size. I think Tolliver has to start if Harris and Teague start. The next couple of days will be interesting.

ag

October 29th, 2012
9:58 am

Jemes is a hustle player. You cannot have enough of them on the team. he certainly would be a good rebounder on this team that struggles grabbing rebounds. We need that more than we need another shooter. Based on the preseason, please expect Josh to still shoot the longball.

MsDee

October 29th, 2012
10:33 am

Sam,

Not sure why u are looking for an apology? Last I checked, this is the Hawks with Drew as their head coach. He has proven time and time again that his words cannot be trusted. So to see James being cut is NO SURPRISE. So again, not sure why u would expect an apology when us Hawks fans had already expected the EXPECTED??

paian

October 29th, 2012
10:53 am

Sam

Why on earth are you accepting an apology? No one said anything about your opinion, all I remember you doing is trying to see who damien james is. Not sure if that need an apology.

Ken Strickland

October 29th, 2012
11:30 am

ASTRO JOE-I’ll tell you why I continue to shout at the rain. I’ve been a Hawks fan for decades, going back to the days when we signed Dr J to a FA contract, drafted David Thompson, Marvin Webster and Bill Willowby all in 1yr. I continued to be a fan even when mgt screwed it all up with their gross incompetence and ended up losing everyone of these players except Willowby.

I’m sick and tired of us cutting young talent with potential in favor of washed up veteran players like Dampier, Collins, Bibby, EThomas, Stevenson etc. Drew is the 2nd consecutive HC we’ve had that’s discarded or ignored team needs for the sake of personal preferences, despite his BS rhetoric about DEF to the contrary.

At the start of training camp Ferry said he wanted a SF that rebounded and brought a lot of energy and DEF, and that’s exactly what James brought to the party. Now, we’re actually worse off at SF than we were before he was cut. Tolliver hasn’t proven he can effectively play SF on a regular basis. And what is your basis for claiming Tolliver is or was better on both ends of the court?

James was energetic and effective on DEF and out rebounded Stevenson and Tolliver combined. Scoring wise, he outscored Stevenson 6.5PPG to 5.0PPG, and came within 1.3PPG of Tolliver’s 8.1PPG. But his 6.8RPG was more than Stevenson(1.8)and Tolliver’s(3.4RPG) combined 5.2RPG.

Tell me, what did Stevenson and Tolliver do to make you think they were better defensively? Drew actually acknowledged James’ hustle and effectiveness on DEF. Something tells me this franchise is trying to draw more fans by putting together a far more exciting Eastern Conference version of the all OFF very little DEF jumpshooting, fastbreaking Suns of old.

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
11:33 am

KenS with the step back 3! Bang!

S MAC

October 29th, 2012
11:38 am

Corey Brewer really sounds nice at that starting 3 right about now…

I MUS WRITE

October 29th, 2012
12:01 pm

Nothing to see here folks. Damion James is a liability offensively. He plays good defense and rebounds yada yada yada but NO. Im satisfied with Stevenson and Tolliver at the three-they give us a blend os offense and hard nosed D…..I wish we could have gotten Peitrus though.
ll
Slim Jr. Its the NBA everyone has a bad night. Tolliver may not be a beast defensively but he is okay and has the range and scoring ability we need at the 3 so….

My prediction for ROY is Damian Lillard-That yungn has game Portland is set at PG for yrs to come.

This is just a thought but we should atleast kick the tires on Oden. If he could give us 12-15 minutes a game that might be worth a try