Atlanta Hawks: Teague, Pachulia back, ready for opener

Vivlamore reporting from Hawks practice.

Jeff Teague and Zaza Pachulia, who both missed the final two exhibition games with sprained left ankles, returned to full-contact practice for the Hawks Monday. They are expected to play in Friday’s regular-season opener against the Rockets.

Teague said he can still feel some soreness in the ankle but it is improving every day. The point guard declared himself a go.

Pachulia has been limited much of the preseason, first with a groin injury and then the ankle. The center appeared in just three exhibition games.

“Right now, I’m doing my best to get back as quick as possible with my timing, my legs,” Pachulia said. “I haven’t had too much time to run and work on my legs. I’m trying to get back in good shape.”

Center Johan Petro did not practice Monday with what coach Larry Drew called a sore back. Petro would be an early candidate to the one player the team must declare inactive for the season opener.

Drew was pleased by the return of Teague and Pachulia for it finally gave him a chance to practice with a full complement of regular players.

“It gave us a chance to get lineups that we had envisioned throughout the preseason,” Drew said.

Based on Monday’s practice, a starting lineup of Teague, Devin Harris, Kyle Korver, Josh Smith and Al Horford appears likely. However, Drew could manipulate the lineup based on matchups against the Rockets.

Still more offense to implement

Drew said the majority of Monday’s practice was spent going over offensive schemes that have already been implemented.

“[We want to] make sure every guy understands exactly what we are doing on both ends of the floor, particularly defensively,” Drew said. “To really fine tune what we put in from day one of training camp. … I want everything to be lock-down tight and every guy knows exactly what we are doing.”

Drew said the task was also important because several players are learning multiple positions, most notably players like DeShawn Stevenson, Anthony Tolliver and Korver.

Drew said the entire offensive playbook has yet to be installed, a process that will continue into the regular season.

The process of preparing specifically for Houston will not begin for another day or two.

All in

Drew brought his team together Sunday, the first practice after making the final roster cuts, and told them to get a good look at those who were left.

“I really want them to look around and see who is standing in that circle,” Drew said. “This is the group that is going to go to battle. We have to have each others back from start to finish. They were in total agreement. They know it’s a long season. There are going to be some peaks and some valleys. There are going to be some tough times. There are going to be some good times. We have to be able to ride an emotional roller coaster and endure and persevere, weather the storms.”

Drew said he was pleased with the players’ reactions to his comments.

“We are ready,” Teague said of the team’s mindset. “We are all in. Nobody was holding their head down, looking to the right trying to figure out what was going to happen. We all bought in.”

- Chris Vivlamore

LATEST NEWS

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* Video: Hawks still implementing new offense

* Roster breakdown

* Injury update, Petro frustrated

* Many options at small forward

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

102 comments Add your comment

MsDee

October 29th, 2012
5:05 pm

Jonathan Feigen: The Rockets trimmed roster to 15 by waiving Shaun Livingston, in addition to yesterday’s decisions — Hayward, Forbes, Brockman and Johnson. Rockets waived five guaranteed contracts today. Twitter @Jonathan_Feigen

MsDee

October 29th, 2012
5:06 pm

Cant believe Shaun Livingston was waived..my oh my would I have loved to have him..on the team, that is. :)

doc

October 29th, 2012
5:16 pm

aj, my point as well as others is that some times a good role player is a must. defense, rebounds and take no prisoner effort is a plus even if he wasnt a three point threat. his threat and why he wouldnt/couldnt be left alone were on the offensive rebound side for easy put backs or continuation of possessions. ok?

tjhook

October 29th, 2012
5:24 pm

Co-sign with doc’s statement. Loser Dude (LD) is trying to convince fans that he’s a coach when he really is a really high-paid AAU coach. No real coaching, just some occasional strategies on offense and defense. It makes me mad because there are pieces here for a successful roster, but Loser Dude is a minimalist. From ISO JOE to shoot-and-go!

RaJaH

October 29th, 2012
5:35 pm

Have the Hawks found their own DLeague affiliate yet? It would be interesting to see James end up there.

Astro Joe

October 29th, 2012
5:37 pm

Isn’t Tolliver an energy guy with a jump shot? Isn’t that better than an energy guy without a jump shot?

IMO, folk like rags-to-riches stories and are more apt to pull for the most extreme underdog they can find. On the Underdog Spectrum, James was on one far side along with Anderson. But not too far away, was Anthony Tolliver. This was not a guy who was born with a silver basketball in his crib… an undrafted free agent who has bounced around several leagues and has landed with a team hoping to make the playoff the for ~6th consecutive season. In some ways, his story is closer to Ivan’s than James who was a first round pick from a major university program.

Jason S

October 29th, 2012
5:48 pm

No way Houston is making the playoffs even with the addition of James Harden (the West is too deep).

No way the Hawks don’t make the playoffs (the East is, well, not nearly as deep).

I guess this means (a) the Hawks won’t be able to make use of Houston’s pick next draft and (b) the Hawks won’t be able to make use of the lottery for themselves.

… but that is OK. Hawks should have another solid year.

Jason S

October 29th, 2012
5:49 pm

On Topic: good to see Zaza and Jeff ready to go for the opener.

glw

October 29th, 2012
6:04 pm

@MsDee

well the Rockets can waive 5 guaranteed contracts when u have 20 of them on your roster and your salary cap is still barely the league’s minumum.

Man, if the Hawks had that luxury, a couple of guys here would be gone.

Astro Joe

October 29th, 2012
6:33 pm

glw, the luxury of being a team that held open auditions so they wouldn’t lose 70 games? And I’m shocked by the notion that Harden is such a huge upgrade over Kevin Martin that they will suddenly make the playoffs. I must have missed all of those games when the other team’s best defender was locked down on Harden for 30+ minutes/game (while leaving Durant & Westbrook to lesser defenders).

Consider that the Hawks paid Jordan Farmar $1.5M to kick rocks early in the summer. So they already spent money cutting an unwanted player loose.

Big Ray

October 29th, 2012
6:57 pm

Tolliver is an energy guy?

Astro Joe

October 29th, 2012
6:59 pm

Big Ray, that’s what I’ve read on the single source for quality basketball information…. the AJC-Hawks blog.

vava74

October 29th, 2012
7:00 pm

AJ,

Damion James has an elite level NBA skill: rebounding.

Additionally, he seems to have well above average secondary skill, defense.

Tolliver has nothing elite beyond his “glue guy” talent – fun guy to have around and puts a good effort.

Ideally we should have kept both but if I had to chose one I would have gone with James.

He was an elite college player who has had injury issues which he seems to have healed fully.

Bruce Bowen was a poor shooter early in his career but he worked and improved.

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
7:09 pm

FTPB

doc

October 29th, 2012
4:35 pm

slimj:

“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”

“well in the season of voting? slimj, you get mine as the most likely candidate to be “the last mv7 apologist standing” award.”

HaHAHA @ doc!

Hey doc I do imho believe those Romo supporters got me beat.. How long will they put up with that buster..

The [quick pick machine].. Does he work for Vegas? lol…

Astro Joe

October 29th, 2012
7:11 pm

vava, and chances are, he will be available to join our summer leaugue next July… along with Keith Benson, Garrett Siler, Othella Hunter, Samari Rolle and dozens of other guys who have captured the adoration of Hawks fans but then struggled to find an NBA home.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 29th, 2012
7:24 pm

“And I’m shocked by the notion that Harden is such a huge upgrade over Kevin Martin that they will suddenly make the playoffs.”

Co-sign. Harden is about as good now as Joe was in 2005. I could see him averaging 25 points per game (like Joe did his 2nd season here), but I can’t possibly see him making Houston a playoff team immediately.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 29th, 2012
7:27 pm

Everything I have heard about Tolliver over the last month conflicts with what little I knew about him before and had seen of him. I’m hearing that he can play SF and is a hustle/energy/glue guy who can shoot. I thought until this point that he was an undersized PF/C who shot too many jumpers and didn’t rebound enough, a la Peja Drobnjak, one of my least favorite Hawks of all time.

If he is actually some sort of poor man’s Matt Barnes, I have no problem with him sticking around over James. But nothing will change my disappointment in Petro keeping a roster spot over James.

keith

October 29th, 2012
7:33 pm

We need more outside scoring on the frontline. I like Josh starting at the sf, Need a stretch 4 to space the floor. We struggle against Dallas, Miami, Boston, and any team with a stretch 4.

Ken Strickland

October 29th, 2012
7:55 pm

GLW-From previous blog. Did Stevenson have that swag, and all those intangibles you seem to be so enamored with last yr, when he literally embarrassed himself as a starter with averages of 2.9PPG, 2RPG, 28.5FG% 28.3 3PT%, and 56.0FT%? I don’t give a doggone how versatile he is or how many different positions he plays. With the pitiful production he had last yr, he’s basically a waste.

ASTRO JOE-KKorver, JJenkins, AMorrow, AHorford, LWilliams, DHarris, DStevenson and MScott are all players with jumpshots. Therefore, Tolliver having a jumpshot is all that critical nor rare for this team is it? But with the exception of AHorford, not one of these players, including Tolliver, has proven to be a better rebounder or defender than James.

Your thought process on this matter is as flawed as Drews. You both seem to value what we already have an abundance of and don’t need, jumpshooters, over what we don’t have an abundance of and definitely need, rebounding and DEF. Starting KKorver at SF definitely proves Drew doesn’t give a damn about rebounding or DEF, making all of his previous comments about DEF pure BS. BIRDS OF A FEATHER.

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
8:01 pm

Larry Drew reminds me of a seasoned politician:

KISS THE BABY WHILE STEALING HER LOLLIPOP!

keith

October 29th, 2012
8:02 pm

MsDee

October 29th, 2012
5:06 pm

Cant believe Shaun Livingston was waived

One of the most hyped guards since Penny Hardaway. If he is healty, he is worth being the 3rd guard off the bench.

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
8:03 pm

I’d rather have K. Benson and Damion J. over Stevenson and Tolliver everyday of the week…..

keith

October 29th, 2012
8:06 pm

I was with Drew before last seaon. After the shortened season and watching him mis-manage just “minutes” leads me to believe that he is not the guy who will move the Hawks forward toward a championship. He seems lost., Allways trying to coach on the fly. Seems to allways be on his heels.
We should have hired Mark Jackson.

keith

October 29th, 2012
8:08 pm

I cannot figure out who is worse, Mike Brown or Larry Drew. Kind of leaning Drews way this time.

myrak43

October 29th, 2012
8:13 pm

I really don’t see why some are so upset about who will be the 12th or 13th guy on the roster??????
James would be another Mario West. love to root for the guy, but he just doesn’t belong in the NBA. he needs to work on his Offense. you must have some way to be able to score or else it will be 5 on 4 on the offensive end and that ain’t good odds. Besides we need someone to play outside and help unclogg the paint for Smoove and Horford. with James in the on the team Smoove would have to be on the perimeter.

and I for one surely don’t want that.

Tolliver is here and James is out……….. get over it. what we need is a rebounding shootblocking 7 footer, not James.

doc

October 29th, 2012
8:14 pm

slimj, nothing but love, faux atl sports fan. ;-)

puhlease, the only vote in dallas is jerry’s.

agree vava.

aj he seems to be a good guy but i dont ever hear about his toughness or rebounding skill only he can gun. josh included him in his list of gunners on the team in his mea culpa on the long ball. damian wasnt on the list and to me that spoke volumes about who was considered the front runner in that competition. it didnt matter what damian did.

i think i would have preferred damian over stevenson but that is where the dollars got in the way of making the right deserving choices. i would prefer korver at 2 and damian at 3 than stevenson at 2 and korver at 3 which is what it boils down to. again, i would prefer stevenson gone than either tolliver or damian as he represents our tmac/stackhouse equivalents.

keith

October 29th, 2012
8:19 pm

Check out this fantasy Roster: Dwight Howard-Rajon Rondo-Tony Parker-Carmello Anthony-Amare Stoudemeire-Damian Lillard-Zach Randolph-John Wall-Monta Ellis-Lou Williams and Kimba Walker.

I may loose about 5 games with this roster.

ntrigue

October 29th, 2012
8:21 pm

I will be at the gm sitting on the floor right behind hawks bench! I will be helping drew coach from the crowd especially with his subs im going to politely help him out!

Just Joe

October 29th, 2012
8:24 pm

I don’t expect Tolliver to get much playing time anyway, and James likely would have received even less.

(IMO) The first half of this season is about showcasing Harris, Morrow, and Korver, while trying to figure out if Teague, Josh, and Al are all keepers. I don’t think the 15th roster spot is of high importance to Ferry right now.

Astro Joe

October 29th, 2012
8:24 pm

Strickland, how many guys who were deadly shooters in college failed miserably in the pros? Tons. So I have no idea why you would include Scott in your above list based on preseason. Tolliver has actually played NBA games and has actually made those long shots over the insanely athletic NBA player. Scott (and Jenkins) have not.

Again, Damion James is NOT signing a multi-year contract anytime soon with nan NBA team. Neither is Benson. Those guys will be available next summer for Rags to Riches The Sequel. This team was not going to make a deep run in the playoffs because Damion James was doing his best Dominic McGuire imitation. Get over it, already.

Sautee

October 29th, 2012
8:27 pm

Hey vava, I haven’t forgotten about this:

“Also, I never used the word greed. I said that they are genetically and culturally money oriented and that as consequence of that I expected Silver to follow Stern’s steps which were not necessarily guided by the objective to create a balanced league.” – vava74

LOL at any human being “genetically money oriented”.

That may well be the dumbest comment ever made on this blog (which is saying a LOT!).

How about “splaining” to us dummies just how ones genes can direct them to be “money oriented”.

This oughta be good. Can’t wait.

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
8:30 pm

Sorry to disagree myrak43, James as more size and length and just as athletic as Mario West from my side of town!!

Plus James has more potential on the offensive end! Heck I saw the Guy shoot a Dr J like finger roll across the paint and got a lot of elevation on the shot! He missed but guess what, he can make those!

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
8:34 pm

get’em Satuee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
8:35 pm

misspelled [Sautee]

bubacar aw

October 29th, 2012
8:35 pm

Best Starting Five for Hawks

C – Pachulia
PF – Al Horford
SF – Josh Smith
SG – Devon Harris
PG – Jeff Teague

6th Man – Lou Williams – SG
7th Man – Ivan Johnson – PF
8th Man – DeShawn Stevenson – SF/SG
9th Man – Kyle Korver – SF
10th Man – Anthony Morrow – SG
11th Man – Anthony Tolliver – SF/PF
12th Man – John Jenkins – SG

Street Clothes #1 – Mike Scott – May find his way in rotation in second half of season
Street Clothes #2 – Johan Petro – Send his tail back to Pau Orthez – He Sucks !!

bubacar aw

October 29th, 2012
8:37 pm

The Hawks better run and average over 100 points this season if they hope to make any noise or go to the playoffs !!

Astro Joe

October 29th, 2012
8:38 pm

doc, I don’t disagree that if salaries didn’t matter, DeShawn would be the guy to go (along with Petro). I assume that LD is sticking with Teague & Harris as his starting backcourt, which means that a player with size AND shooting ability is good to add to that tandem. Heaven knows, we don’t want Josh standing in the corner when those two quick guards are pushing the ball up the floor.

Strangely enough, with the Rockets having average (at best) offensive SFs, Stevenson could be used extensively in the first game to defend Harden… which will send some folk into a temper tantrum because they will swear it is a sign of things to come (as opposed to a head coach matching up with a team with one offensive threat).

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
8:41 pm

Some nights 100 points may not be enough…They will have to figure out how to get stops..

Start by defending the pick and roll…

keith

October 29th, 2012
9:18 pm

bubacar aw

October 29th, 2012
8:35 pm

Best Starting Five for Hawks

C – Pachulia
PF – Al Horford
SF – Josh Smith
SG – Devon Harris
PG – Jeff Teague

Really like this starting 5 for the entire season, regardless of match-ups.

glw

October 29th, 2012
9:40 pm

@ Ken S

pretty much anybody that was with the Nets last year was a waste so thats not a big deal. Obviously Stevenson isnt a building block and most likely is just a 1 yr deal. He probably wouldnt even be here if they didnt need his contract to make the JOe Johnson deal work. But since he is here, he is at least servicable. Basically, he is the Jason Collins of the backcourt, a situational player who can give you servicable minutes espeically on the defense side of the ball. LD recognized it early in camp. So, you are totally off base classifying him as a waste. Now Petro is my definition of a waste. As several other bloggers mention, DJames at best was going to be 12th or 13th guy, those guys are a dime a dozen. While I feel James should have made it, he was never in competition with Stevenson for a job. It was him or tolliver or Scott who is partially guaranteed. So he was did in by the desire to go with 14 players and Scott and Tolliver, who are shooters. Now I dont agree with the LD decision to load up on shooters everywhere, and 1 additional quality defender would have been nice, but it is what it is.

Nate ArchiBALL

October 29th, 2012
9:50 pm

FTPB – @Ken S – The Julius Erving Hawks deal was prior to the ‘72 – ‘73 season while David Thompson, Marvin Webster, and Bill Willoughby took place in ‘75. Willoughby had great potential but Hubie Brown didn’t want him on the team. The Hawks even signed Connie Hawkins to mentor Willow.

keith

October 29th, 2012
10:08 pm

Hope that we re-sign Keith Benson. Benson had a fantastic summer league. He was very effective from the center position.

swatguy

October 29th, 2012
10:21 pm

Starting Harris serves several purposes. He will be showcased as trade bait, it enables Lou to run point on the second unit and pairing him with a taller 2G. And keeping Lou and Teague on the court together (very small). I suspect Harris as “Bait” is the top benefit.

Big Ray

October 29th, 2012
10:22 pm

Sautee continues to take out the trash….

Big Ray

October 29th, 2012
10:24 pm

We won’t be thinking of Damian James next season, I’m thinking. Not after the Danny Ferry fireworks.

Something tells me we’ll forget who John Jenkins is, too. I’m sure LD already has…

But seriously, read the kid’s scouting report from DraftExpress.com. It ain’t pretty…..except for the catch-and-shoot part. Basically, they’re saying he can aspire to be a JJ Reddick and hope to get to that level in half the time it took Reddick…

TheBusiness

October 29th, 2012
10:33 pm

LD stands for Lame Duck. He won’t even make it through the year. This group of NBA midgets will take some serious azz whoopings this year. It’s gonna be ugly. The owners said that the deal to sell the team falling through was a great thing. For who???? What a cluster…

Slimjr

October 29th, 2012
10:37 pm

The Business, remember two season’s ago when the Hawks set NBA records multiple times for blowout losses with a [winning] record? Gosh I sure hope we don’t see a repeat of that fiasco…Sheesh!

Lets hope that Detroit beat down last week was just a fluke….Whew….

Melvin

October 29th, 2012
10:57 pm

Rusty

October 29th, 2012
10:57 pm

Comparing lame duck to a head NBA coach is like comparing a dog to a cat.

cp

October 29th, 2012
11:01 pm

When all those jumpers are not falling (like in a bunch of the preseason games ) this team will be tough to watch. A team that already struggles to rebound got rid of a guy who was good at it. I hope Ferry has a move in mind with this “flexibility” I keep hearing about.