Atlanta Hawks: Reasons for optimism (updated)

Vivlamore reporting before Hawks practice Wednesday.

I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about the reasons the Hawks have to be optimistic about the upcoming season. There were so many changes in the offseason, from the front office to nine new players. What is to prevent this team from taking a step backward with all those changes, including the loss of a six-time All-Star?

So I asked.

Here is what coach Larry Drew and three of the five returning players had to say when I asked “What makes you optimistic about this season?”

Larry Drew

“I think we are going to give ourselves a chance every single night because we have guys who can score the basketball. Where we have to become better, to become more of a unit, is on the defensive end. We have to make more of a commitment as a unit on the defensive end. Yeah, we have a lot of shooters. We have speed. We have quickness. But I tell these guys every day that we cannot hang our hat on just that. We have to be a team that will come out and defend every night. If we do that, we give ourselves a great chance. That’s the bottom line. Every single night that we step between those lines we have to be a team that is totally committed to defending. I’m very optimistic I have [that kind of team].”

Zaza Pachulia

“I’m optimistic about our experience. I’m optimistic about the speed that we have. This team definitely has some advantages – and weaknesses at the same time, nobody is perfect. Because we are using the word optimistic you have to look at the bright side, the positive side. We have to use our advantages. The athleticism. We can run because of our speed. We have great shooters. We set good screens for our shooters. We have to play the right way. Kyle Korver made a great point the other day. It’s not enough just to play hard, you have to play smart as well.”

Jeff Teague

“If we play like the way we can play, I think we are going to be good. Our focus has always been defense but it’s a different atmosphere. Everybody is here ready to work. Everybody is buying into the system. Everybody wants to play. Nobody wants to sit out the drills. That’s a first since I’ve been here. I’ve been with a lot of veteran guys so most of the guys would sit out and not be in the drills the whole time. Now, we’re fighting for who is going to be out there. It’s a good feeling.”

Josh Smith

“We have to be confident. We have to be confident that we can play with anybody we step out on the floor against. I think we are a pretty confident ball club. I think we can do some big things. We are definitely going to fly under the radar because we are always the unmentionables. It’s OK. We like that. We like being the underdogs. We are going to come in and establish ourselves. I think if we get off to a good start, we are going to be OK.”

Al Horford

“I’m optimistic seeing how well Josh played last season and seeing how well Jeff and Zaza played and what Ivan (Johnson) showed. Of the returning guys, I’m very encouraged. Obviously, I was injured but I know what I can bring to the table and to this team. I’m excited about what we have coming back and the additions were necessary. I think we are going in a different direction. I don’t want to say we take a step back. Last year’s team, we kind of ran our course. It was time for a change. I think we are going in a different direction but I feel good about what we have in this locker room.”

A note to be careful this evening – and enjoy – with all the little ones out and about for Halloween.

- Chris Vivlamore


* Five things we learned from the preseason

* Teague, Pachulia return to full-contact practice, ready for opener

* Failure not an option for Tolliver

* Hawks ownership ‘extremely’ fortunate to keep stake in team

* Anderson, James waived in final cuts

* Video: Hawks still implementing new offense

* Roster breakdown

Follow me on Twitter at ajchawks

48 comments Add your comment


October 31st, 2012
10:27 am



I would gladly explain, but you would not pay attention to the explanation.

First, I mentioned “culture” as well.

Second, you can’t ignore that there are genetic differences between humans as a whole group and within humanity, between race” – vava74

vava, you are backing up so fast you’re bound to fall on your ass. Yes, you mentioned “culture”, and I’ll give you that most races have cultural orientations in some or other areas.

But you ALSO said that they were GENETICALLY money oriented, which I find not only amusing but impossible. I want to hear from you just exactly HOW you think it’s possible for ANY race of people to be “genetically money oriented”.

To say that you could explain, but I wouldn’t pay attention is just a BS way of trying to escape the corner you have painted yourself into by trying to justify your bias.

Don’t think I’ll go away on this. Either you give your explanation, or I’ll keep reminding you until you do.

Or, you could admit that you are wrong. Your choice.


October 31st, 2012
10:28 am

“Everybody is buying into the system. Everybody wants to play. Nobody wants to sit out the drills. That’s a first since I’ve been here. I’ve been with a lot of veteran guys so most of the guys would sit out and not be in the drills the whole time. Now, we’re fighting for who is going to be out there. It’s a good feeling”


As someone has said it in the past, the lunatics have been running the asylum… and this sounds a clear indictment of JJ (as one of the players who seemed to sit out drills) but mostly of LD as a coach who clearly does not impose discipline and accountability.


October 31st, 2012
10:33 am


Genetics is all about natural selection. Humans are no different than any other animals. The environment (natural or cultural) influences how natural selection operates.

If in a group/species a certain characteristic is important for success, that characteristic will become predominant and a trait of that group/species. It’s not that difficult to understand and its not that difficult to understand.

Fred Everett

October 31st, 2012
10:43 am

Sure sounds like alot of “if’s”. I continue to think that Ferry is of the mindset…”Hold ’till we reload”…dump salary cap at the end of the season…sign a free agent(s)…put our accumulated draft picks to good use. I continue to think that we will fall short of a 41+ season.


October 31st, 2012
10:46 am

I hope Ivan Johnson punches James Harden and his stupid beard on Friday night.


October 31st, 2012
10:49 am

And Sautee, I am not remotely interested in discussing this matter any further with you.

I would gladly do it face to face, but here in the blog it becomes a nuisance for everyone, in particular because there are other people here who have trouble discussing any matter which has “race” as subject.

This is fine (that people are bothered) and I understand it.

I am not american and not part of a minority within my own society so I am not negatively influenced by the word “race” in a discussion, however, since you are, this is not the venue to have a discussion of this sort.

However, I insist: if you do not agree that Jews are – due to culture and genetic selection – money oriented both in the sense of being “good” and “cold” at it, then your explanation why the financial world is dominated by Jews can only be explained by the fact that they act in collusion, which, as I said before, seems a substantially more serious statement than the one I did which points the explanation to the fact that they are genetically good at it.

And I can give you other interesting examples on how races are more or less apt for certain designated areas of knowledge.

Do you know, for instance, that there is in the classical music world a firm belief that although Chinese are technically very good executing, even perfect, they are unable to do it with the flair and the sentiment which make musicians outstanding?

And that this can be connected with the fact that – in general – music is not very developed in oriental cultures, at least not remotely as developed as in other cultures?

And that a consequence of this, oriental people may have a lesser genetic aptitude for music?


October 31st, 2012
10:49 am

I am so glad the Hawks did not trade for James Harden. He is not a superstar. Houston will be regretting the contracts they gave him and Jeremy Lin.


October 31st, 2012
10:51 am

**Sorry about the first post from me. I was thinking it and didn’t even realize I was typing it!


October 31st, 2012
11:09 am

zaza. “Kyle Korver made a great point the other day. It’s not enough just to play hard, you have to play smart as well.”

gee what a novel idea.,

sitting out drills? wonder who that could be? was it just the guys who were at vet minimum giving the minimum? or is it jj and marvin? tend to doubt it, but who knows?

that was a culture thing. i can only hope danny changes that quickly. no entitlements and some have come here with that attitude.

speaking of vets? did anyone see kg diss on ray last night? heh heh, the guy is all killa.


October 31st, 2012
11:31 am

vava very stupid assumptions, and that is all they are assumptions that has nothing to do with genetics or even culture. you should have stuck with we wont discuss it before you treid to nail one more self righteous comment on the music theme.

euros in general?–nhl.html


October 31st, 2012
11:33 am

meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, reverse discrimination strikes and he doesnt have a clue, only color blind:

people choose carefully what they want to see and hear.


October 31st, 2012
11:50 am


not assumptions. facts. the problem is that you can only discuss “race” from a negative prism and not from a prism of “reality”.

races have different traits and predominant characteristics.

do you want another? Indians have a higher tendency to become addicted to alcohol than other races due to their genetic makeover.


October 31st, 2012
11:59 am

Okay okay can u all stop with this stuff jeees. Vava is just stating facts its not showing racism towards another culture.


October 31st, 2012
12:01 pm

What the Hawks have to understand is that they are going to have to win a lot of games outscoring the opponent, because defensively I see them as one of the worst in the league. It may make them a League Pass favorite, but it won’t help them win against the big boys of the NBA.

If there’s one area I give Drew a lot of credit for, it’s developing chemistry, which is what the Hawks will have now that iso-Joe is gone.

Gray Mule

October 31st, 2012
12:22 pm

Offense requires talent. Some are very good at scoring and some aren’t. Some of it
requires work, IE, free throws, which we have been somewhat weak on. As you know,
I cringe with each and every miss.
Defense requires a lot of work. Being at the right place at the right time doesn’t just
happen. Rebounds doesn’t always come to those who are bigger. Sometimes. Sometimes
not. Our coach is a defensive minded fellow and he will work and work to see that our
players strive to bee the best that they can be.
Since no one, vets included, now opt to sit out practice, or part of it and it apparently
happened before this season, we must assume, until otherwise notified, that the players
who sat out are no longer here. Lots of vets gone, so take your choice.


Astro Joe

October 31st, 2012
12:37 pm

vava, what made you think he was referencing Joe? I actually was thinking more like the decaying bodies that have been on this squad for the past 3-4 years… guys like TMac, Joe Smith, Etan, Stack, etc.

And my two cents on the other subject… if you think you can have a constructive cultural conversation on a basketball blog that is too often diminished by trolls then you are all crazy. :twisted:

Astro Joe

October 31st, 2012
12:41 pm

CViv, thanks for explictly stating the question that you asked the players & coaches. Too often, we have to intrepret the bases of quotes but you clearly laid it out for us.


October 31st, 2012
12:47 pm

‘However, I insist: if you do not agree that Jews are – due to culture and genetic selection – money oriented both in the sense of being “good” and “cold” at it, then your explanation why the financial world is dominated by Jews can only be explained by the fact that they act in collusion, which, as I said before, seems a substantially more serious statement than the one I did which points the explanation to the fact that they are genetically good at it.” – vava74

MY explanation? WTF are you talking about? I have offered no comment about the financial world, other than to say that there are Jews among the 1%, and that their greed should in no way taint the view of other Jews who care more for things other than money.

The problem I have is you trying to make your “theory” apply to all Jews, which is patently absurd.

But in your original statement that I was appalled by, you did exactly that. You said, and I quote:

“Not to insist on the matter but Silver’s last name is probably a declination of Silverberg.”

“NBA goes from one Jew to another. Don’t expect anything more than $$ to be in the mind of the new commissioner.”

That statement assumes that Silver is Jewish, AND assumes that ALL Jews have money first and foremost on their minds. It’s not only a slur of Adam Silver, whom you actually have ZERO idea what his motivations are, it’s also a slur on any Jew who does NOT hold money higher than other things.

The fact that you cannot see the “problem” with that statement says a lot about you, whether you like it or not.

Astro Joe

October 31st, 2012
12:56 pm

So Kobe had Hack-a-Shaq to start his career and will end it with Hack-a-Howard. D12’s 3-14 from the free throw line is exactly why he can’t be on the floor at the end of a close and tight ball game. “Can’t truss him”, to paraphrase Chuck D & Flav.

Steve Nash with Gasol and D12 should be the best pick & roll threesome in basketball… but instead they want to employ the Princeton offense in the half-court sets? Mike Brown may be gone by New Year’s Day.

Big Ray

October 31st, 2012
1:16 pm

AJ ,

I honestly don’t know why the Lakers hired Mike Brown in the first place….

And you’re two cents made more sense than anything vava has said…

Big Ray

October 31st, 2012
1:24 pm

Sautee and Doc ,

Valiant efforts, but you will not convince a Mussolini that his Napoleonic complex-driven Hitlerisms are not acceptable.

And if the Tour De France could ever be run in reverse, he’d win by a mile.


October 31st, 2012
1:39 pm

aj i said that about jj but said i doubted it . that is problem with blanket statements as everyone gets put under it. i too said vet minimum guys with entitlements.

part of the culture of demeaning young players when everyone needs to be on board.

Just Joe

October 31st, 2012
1:58 pm

So Friday’s starting lineup against Houston will be:

Teague – Lin
Harris – Harden
Korver – Parsons
Smith – Patterson
Horford – Asik

What will Sunday’s be against OKC?

Teague – Westbrook
Harris – Sefaloosha
???? – Durant
Smith – Ibaka
Horford – Perkins

Will Tolliver get the nod? Pachulia, and push Josh & Al down a man (I wouldn’t)? Ivan? Stevenson?

Flawed roster!

LD thinks he’s Bobby Cox with his outfield platoon players. You play against righties, and you play against lefties, but neither of you is good enough to fill in in center field which is what we really need….


October 31st, 2012
2:00 pm


I have confirmed that Silver is indeed Jew.

Everyone” around here has criticized heavily Stern and called him greedy and $$ driven.

Silver is his protegé. Combine that with the FACT that Jews have historically been very much $$ oriented (they tend to be hard workers, savvy, intelligent and cold in business, low spenders and profit driven), and you can easily assume that Silver will follow up on Stern’s footsteps.

Translation: all the criticism which you had for Stern will probably remain valid for Silver. It’s allowed to project what to expect from Silver given the above factors. If he proves me wrong, excellent, but I ventured on a prediction based on tangible data and probability.

Further to that comment, I said that Jews were major contributors in many other areas, like for instance in literature and music.

I also said that they have been a very resilient race/culture but that does not mean that I am prevented from stating – as it seemed unacceptable for you – that Orthodox Jews extremely averse to other races and cultures and that they are, IMO, fanatics since they call themselves – seriously – the “chosen people” by God (which makes everyone else the “not-chosen”).

And that racist label is actual pretty easy to extent to a large chunk of the Jews. Just read this:

Now I ask the present, how many of you have read Philip Roth’s work? How many? And Saul Bellow’s?

I stated that Philip Roth is one of my favourite authors. One of my favourite books from Roth, “The Human Stain”, actually revolves amongst other things, around racial issues. A fascinating read which I thoroughly recommend.

You may disagree with my points of view, but you are simply reacting to the word “race” which I understand for you, as Americans, triggers bad feelings. I should have taken that into consideration since it blocks any ability for discussion from your side.

Obviously we are supposed to be all “politically correct” and refrain from expressing anything but “normalised and acceptable” points of view…

Well guess what, I am not afraid of discussing any matter and expressing points of view, good or bad and debate. If and when I am wrong, I will admit it.


October 31st, 2012
2:02 pm


If you are too lazy to punch the link, or simply scrolled, here is an extract from a BLOG written by a black jewish woman:

“If I asked my Jewish friends – a mix of black Orthodox Jews by birth, black Jews by Choice, Hispanic Jews, and liberal-lefty Ashkenazi Jews – if Jews are racist, they would all answer yes. They would site the treatment of Arabs in Israel, and the current situation with undocumented Sudanese immigrants in the country. They would tell me personal stories of hearing nasty words said around them in synagogue, or they might share their experiences being the only black child in yeshiva. My Ashkenazi friends have told me about discussions around Shabbat tables, where, among friends, hateful comments about Arabs or blacks littered the conversation.”


October 31st, 2012
2:09 pm

Oh, and read the words of the guy commenting the article below the blog entry about Ashkenazi Jews not mixing with any other races and being very homogenised genetically and how Jews in general reject new converts.

I couldn’t have wanted anything better. Let’s read the whole thing:

“I believe we are at a crux in Jewish history. Although Shlomo Sand will disagree, genetic studies have shown time and time again how incredibly homogenous Ashkenazi Jewry truly is. A lot of geneticists say that it’s almost unique for a people.

This is because of throughout our history, an emphasis on the Torah was mandatory and the Torah is not exactly vague on intermarriage and assimilation: it’s a sin against G-d.”

Likewise, Africans converting to Judaism is certainly very consistent with the notion that Judaism is a religion only. But Judaism should be understood framework for a specific people, namely the Jewish people. Therefore, viewed in this lens, it shouldn’t be surprising that unlike the other two major religions in the world, Christianity and Islam, it does not try to convert. In fact, Judaism makes it very hard to join, or at least it did so historically for the reason I outlined: peoplehood matters.

And although there are a smattering of African Jews from Eritrea, even in Israel they are often looked-down upon, and seen as ‘fake’ Jews looking for an easy ride.

This behaviour is regrettable and shameful, but as you rightfully notice, Jewishness have gone from something to hide and/or be ashamed of to something one can show off to the world with the effect of people being more impressed by you. Success inevitably attracts opportunists. Ask any sportsteam or successful business.

This isn’t meant to attack you or your committment, but I’ll be as blunt as you by saying that I’ve seen a fair share of people who seem to want to join Judaism because it’s “hip” or because they hold quasi-anti-Semitic views of Jews as this rich elite. Oftentimes, these people have been black, but not uniformly so.

Then you have a weird habit of some blacks to claim that they are the ‘real Semites’.
Tablet Mag did a piece the other year(can’t find it via Google but I remember it) of a sect of Africans who claim to be the ‘real Israelites’.

All these experiences sort of shape you, you get a second skin and start to view some black converts with a wary eye. Again, this is probably undeserved for the majority of converts but there are enough examples to act as a deterrent.

Finally, let’s just be honest and say the obvious. Jewishness have been a very white thing for over a thousand years now. And Europe was the intellectual center for this up until very, very recently(say, the Holocaust). Even if you look at Sephardim, they were based close to Europe, around the Med sea.”


October 31st, 2012
2:11 pm


Please read the blog entry and the commentary.


October 31st, 2012
2:29 pm

C-viv, can you ban the morons from their discussion of politics and religion on a SPORTS thread?


October 31st, 2012
2:37 pm


You are missing the point. You said “NBA goes from one Jew to another. Don’t expect anything more than $$ to be in the mind of the new commissioner.”

This IS a slur on Adam Silver, as you DO NOT know his mind, or his inner motivations. This IS a slur on any Jewish person who does NOT make money their prime directive as you are ASSUMING that Silver will react a certain way BECAUSE HE IS JEWISH. That assumes that all Jews care more about money than other pursuits . A patent lie.

You can pull up dozens of articles, but it won’t change the fact that you are making assumptions that you cannot prove, all the while reinforcing a negative stereotype. And trying to call it facts, lol.


October 31st, 2012
2:38 pm


How about you just scroll rather than appoint yourself editor 0`the blog.


October 31st, 2012
2:41 pm

Didn`t intend to be harsh Sam – but let `them’ hash it out.


October 31st, 2012
2:42 pm

Los ashkenazis no son judios(ver el mensaje a Esmirna),ellos han atestado al mundo de toda clase de locura(ver Freud) , entretenimiento y Sionismo,pero nada de Torá.


October 31st, 2012
2:45 pm

By the way;
I`m not sure about vava … but Sautee is a PitBull.

Once he locks on, you gonna have to shoot his teeth out …
… to get him to let go !


October 31st, 2012
3:03 pm

2:45 pm post was a ‘`Call of the Wild`’ reference.


October 31st, 2012
3:06 pm

Has anyone heard a Kyrylo Fesenko update ?

Astro Joe

October 31st, 2012
3:17 pm

I just want a blog that is available to discuss Atlanta Hawks basketball. When posts are made that result in the moderator ceasing blog entries, that means that others who come to the AJC Hawks blog to discuss, well, the Hawks are robbed on one of their preferred venues for Hawks chat.

Seems like there are plenty of venues if one feels compelled to challenge cultural/social opinions.


October 31st, 2012
3:20 pm


I couldn’t help but notice that you were not robbed of making that comment. ;-)

Astro Joe

October 31st, 2012
3:20 pm

Just Joe, yep, being saying it for a few weeks now… LD is going to a “platoon” system this year. I wonder if we will see any double-switches this season? :lol:

Ken Strickland

October 31st, 2012
3:24 pm

VALVA74-When you look at the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans, wouldn’t you say the the White Race is well represented? Does that mean the White Race is obsessed with money, or they have a genetic disposition for obsessing and wanting money? Remember the centuries of enslavement of Blacks by Whites? Does that mean all Whites are racists?

You’ve gotten awfully stupid lately, and it’s gotten worse each time you post. You continue to get in the way of commons sense, logic and intelligence. I thought you had gone over the top with your obsession of judging players, particularly Horford, based on how well they banged, but I see that was just the tip on the iceberg.

VALVE-you need to take a lesson from MRomney. If you’ve put yourself in a bind by making illadvised statements, rather than proving you’re even more stupid than anyone thought, just refuse to answer any questions or make any comments.

Isn’t it hilarious how the Republican Party has actually out done themselves in this yrs election? They now realize they have 2 male version of that dumbass AILIN PALIN, and are trying to hide both of them from the media and any questions leading up to the election. The Republican Party’s new platform is, WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, LIE AND LIE AGAIN. And there are people out there that are stupid enough to vote for these 2 stooges.

Astro Joe

October 31st, 2012
3:26 pm

Sautee, thank goodness. But you know good and well how things can escalate (or dissolve) around here.

Season started yesterday and the blog looks like something on the Huffington Post website. Maybe I should head over there to discuss the socio-economic consequences of LD’s executive administration. :lol:

Astro Joe

October 31st, 2012
3:29 pm

Sautee, I rest my case (as others join in the Huffington Post discussion).

Strickland, I think LD is the greatest head coach ever and he should bring back Biby and start him for the next 82 games. And Damion James looks like the bottom of Woody’s shoe.

And what do you think of the idea of signing Moses Malone to play center fo us?


October 31st, 2012
3:33 pm


The way I see this is: It’s no different from a blogger making a statement of fact about basketball, or a player, when it is conjecture on their part. You know very well that I have fought many a battle over things presented as facts that were not. Unfortunately, this one involves race, which stirs everybody up. But for me, it’s still a basic premise: If’s it’s not a fact, don’t try and present it as such.

Sorry if you are having to scroll more than usual. But, hey, I scroll often when you and vava are at it, too. ;-)


October 31st, 2012
3:35 pm

“We set good screens for our shooters.” Zaza.

The last thing we need is Zaza setting more illegal/moving screens.

Big Ray

October 31st, 2012
3:47 pm

Y’all quit arguing so Joe can stop whining.

Big Ray

October 31st, 2012
3:49 pm

Grandad ,

Thing is, Sautee is right.

Doubt anything happens with Fesenko. Wouldn’t matter anyway. Don’t have a coach that could make use of him, if there’s any use to make.


October 31st, 2012
3:50 pm

Big Ray

October 31st, 2012
3:50 pm

I don’t know that there’s anything worse than having Ken and Sautee on your hindquarters at the same time.

You may as well just apologize, mea culpa, back the F off. Because like death and taxes, it ain’t gonna stop, LOL. Especially if they know they’re right…

Big Ray

October 31st, 2012
3:52 pm

O’Brien ,

Fair point. That said, I’d be more concerned with more of our guys setting solid screens instead of those “slip screens”. They don’t always work. A slip screen is great if you can get the ball to the screener in motion and if the defense hasn’t already sniffed it out.

Problem is, we don’t set enough solid screens to free up shooters, much less give defenders something to think about besides closing out on the ballhandler.