Atlanta Hawks: New bench rotation during five-game win streak

Vivlamore reporting.

Coach Larry Drew has changed the way he has used his bench during the Hawks’ current five-game win streak. No need to change what has worked he said Tuesday, a day before the Hawks host the Bobcats.

The notable changes have been an increased playing time for the starting unit, more minutes for Ivan Johnson and Anthony Morrow and a decrease in time for Anthony Tolliver.

Drew said the moves are a combination of a changing philosophy and the specific defensive matchups against each opponent.

Johnson is averaging 12.6 minutes and Morrow 12.0 minutes over the win streak, an increase from their early-season time. Tolliver has played under four minutes in the one game in the last five played.

“I used (Tolliver) a lot early and I wasn’t using Ivan at all or limited,” Drew said. “But Ivan has really been playing well. He’s been doing a good job for us coming off the bench bringing toughness, bringing energy. I’m going to stay with what’s working. I’ve already had a talk with Anthony. He’s aware of it. He knows he has to stay ready just in case.”

The Hawks’ bench has been outscored in each of the five wins. It’s a statistic that Drew can live with as long as the reserves bring a defensive presence first.

“Our bench ranks up there defensively,” Drew said. “As I’ve told them before, when they come into the game I want them to come in and think about defending first and then offense second.”

As a team, the Hawks lead the NBA is forced turnovers per game (18.0), are second in opponent field-goal percentage (.427), third in points allowed (92.1) and fifth in steals per game (8.9) and opponent 3-point field-goal percentage (.328).

Injury report

Kyle Korver (stiff back) and Devin Harris (toe) did not practice Tuesday. Drew said there was no need for Korver to aggravate his back at a practice. Drew also said Harris is “feeling much, much better” and expects the guard to play Wednesday after missing last week’s game against the Clippers.

Josh Smith (sore knee) was a limited practice participant and will play against the Bobcats.

Win streak

In the Hawks’ five-game win streak, they have beaten teams with a combined record of 24-41 (going into Tuesday’s NBA schedule). Only the Clippers, at 8-6, are above .500.

ESPN adds game

The Hawks game against the Nuggets on Wednesday, Dec. 5 will now be televised by ESPN and the game time changed to 8 p.m. The game was originally a 7:30 p.m. start. The network dropped the Bulls at Cavs game that night.

Also, ESPN will not broadcast the Feb. 20 game against the Heat. The network will instead broadcast the Hornets at Cavs game.

Game time for the Hawks-Heat will remain 8 p.m. The game is currently not scheduled to be televised. However,  it’s under consideration by SportSouth to add the game.

All-Star voting

The first voting update for the NBA All-Star Game will be Dec. 13.

Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Smith are the Hawks’ representatives on the ballot for the game to be played in Houston on Feb. 17. Balloting ends Jan. 14 and the starters will be announced Jan. 17 on TNT. Voting began Nov. 13.

- Chris Vivlamore

108 comments Add your comment

Samurai Squirrel

November 27th, 2012
3:58 pm

Samurai Squirrel

November 27th, 2012
4:02 pm

Weird questions C-Viv, but what time do the Hawks practice? Do they all show up at the last minute, are some showing up an hour before practice, or are they all pretty prompt? Who is the leader during the practices? Is it usually 1st team versus second team? Do post players practice their skills on one side of the court while the shooters are on the other end? Which coach is the most vocal?

I just wonder what the practice of an NBA team is like.

Grandad

November 27th, 2012
4:13 pm

When I was coaching;
the single most important defensive stat [for me] was opp fg%.
The 2nd was def rebounds;
which I considered [boxing out] the final phase of defense.
Also, steals and deflections `can’ be `as’ important
as blocking shots;
unless said team has a legit rim protector,
then pressure def becomes more important.
*[When a team has both = Championship]
**(pressure def + rim protector)

Grandad

November 27th, 2012
4:14 pm

Samurai Squirrel

Excellent Questions !

Rod from College Park

November 27th, 2012
4:24 pm

“I used (Tolliver) a lot early and I wasn’t using Ivan at all or limited,” Drew said. “But Ivan has really been playing well. He’s been doing a good job for us coming off the bench bringing toughness, bringing energy. I’m going to stay with what’s working. I’ve already had a talk with Anthony. He’s aware of it. He knows he has to stay ready just in case.”

All he had to do was read the blog, and he would have known this much earlier.

hambone

November 27th, 2012
4:26 pm

What happened to john Jenkis?

Darrell

November 27th, 2012
4:38 pm

@Hambone, too many off-guard options in front of him.

Slimjr

November 27th, 2012
4:42 pm

Larry your freakin Hilarious…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Anthony should be glued to a bench…Yawn….

“*[When a team has both = Championship]
**(pressure def + rim protector)” -Grandad-

Coach you may have confirmed what Danny has said: he believes his team is only 2 years away from competing with the elites for a Finals? Hmmmmm

What happened to John who?

Enough said…

Grimey

November 27th, 2012
4:42 pm

Vote for our hawks on all star team

Slimjr

November 27th, 2012
4:47 pm

This season is not Fools gold…

Teague playing major minutes now will take this team to new heights.

A 2 seed/55-57 wins possibly..

swatguy

November 27th, 2012
4:48 pm

Perhaps the return of Damon James?

GT Alum

November 27th, 2012
4:52 pm

“But Ivan has really been playing well. He’s been doing a good job for us coming off the bench bringing toughness, bringing energy.”

Hmm, Ivan’s been doing exactly what he did for us last season, the things that led us to keep him for this season. Drew’s not exactly what you’d call a quick learner, is he?

MsDee

November 27th, 2012
4:57 pm

GT Alum,

“Drew’s not exactly what you’d call a quick learner, is he?”

Too funny!!

Flash

November 27th, 2012
4:59 pm

Shame, Ezeli was available when Jenkins was taken. Big body, rim protector, etc. vs another shooter?

prison mike

November 27th, 2012
5:24 pm

Always convenient to use hindsight. But the JJ pick did not tickle the fanbases fancy. Ezuli, Jeff Taylor, and Draymond Green are the better player.

Art Vandelay

November 27th, 2012
5:29 pm

So, lemme get this straight: ESPN would rather show Hornets vs. Cavs in prime time over Hawks vs. Heat. Am I missing something here? Who’s making the programming decisions up in Bristol these days?

Runner-

November 27th, 2012
5:31 pm

Wow, way to realize it LD!!

keith

November 27th, 2012
5:33 pm

Perry Jones III was available when the Hawks made their pick. PJ III is a modern day Robert Horry, Rashard Lewis, hybrid. He can flat out ball. 2-3 years from now, we will be sorry.

Astro Joe

November 27th, 2012
5:38 pm

Anthony Davis vs. Kyrie Irving. Consider it the NBA’s marketing version of player development. They are starting the process of marketing the next generation of superstars.

Here’s another way to view the Jenkins pick (which was done BEFORE the acquisition of several shooters), he was better in college than Ezeli and Taylor.

Chris Vivlamore

November 27th, 2012
5:50 pm

Samurai Squirrel: Not weird questions. I will answer the best I can because I’m only allowed to watch the last half hour of practices and about the last 10 minutes of game-day shoot-arounds. In reality, most of what I get to see are the players shooting free throws. Sometimes I can watch the team walk through offensive sets and plays. Sometimes, on the road, I can watch the whole shoot-around, but that is really just a walk-through of offensive and defensive sets.

The players are divided into first and second teams by jersey. That’s mostly how I get an idea of who is going to start. They walk through drills as units, first the first team and then the second and third. All the players are there well before practice starts. Some, like Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow, do extra shooting before practice. Others, like Devin Harris, do extra shooting after practice. The daily 3-point shooting contest between Jeff Teague, Lou Williams and DeShawn Stevenson occurs after practice and the banter can be amusing.

After practice sometimes the second team players will play a half-court game.

Practices usually start at 11 a.m. I know they scrimmage because I can hear them through the closed door of the practice court. I did get to see scrimmages during training camp.

I interview Drew while the team is shooting free throws. I will talk to the players, as I request, as they finish up and head to the locker room. We used to be able to go into the locker room post practice but that policy has changed.

Drew and Lester Connor are the most vocal coaches. All the veteran players are pretty vocal when it comes to helping others understand the plays.

Hope that helps.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 27th, 2012
5:56 pm

“So, lemme get this straight: ESPN would rather show Hornets vs. Cavs in prime time over Hawks vs. Heat. ”

Hornets-Cavs pits the last two #1 overall picks against each other. The Hawks-Nuggets game on ESPN, which originally would have showcased Irving’s Cavs, was dropped because Irving is currently not playing (and killing my fantasy team).

Najeh Davenpoop

November 27th, 2012
5:56 pm

^that should say the Cavs game was dropped in favor of the Hawks-Nuggets game.

Astro Joe

November 27th, 2012
5:57 pm

Keith, maybe, but there is also a chance that in 2-3 years, PJ3 is Greg Oden. An Injury List HOFer (if the reports about his knee are true).

Astro Joe

November 27th, 2012
5:59 pm

Ant Davis and Uncle Drew will likely sell more jerseys in the next 5 years than the entire current Hawks roster over the same timeframe.

Astro Joe

November 27th, 2012
6:01 pm

Of course, that is only true because Damion James was cut in the pre-season, otherwise, we would see so many jerseys with the name “James” on the back that our heads would be spinning.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 27th, 2012
6:01 pm

“In the Hawks’ five-game win streak, they have beaten teams with a combined record of 24-41 (going into Tuesday’s NBA schedule). Only the Clippers, at 8-6, are above .500.”

I wonder how many NBA teams have played a combined schedule worse than that in their last 5 games and haven’t gone 5-0.

A quick check tells me the Heat are 4-1 in their last 5 against teams that are 22-24 combined, the Spurs are 4-1 in their last 5 against teams that are 22-35 combined, and the Knicks are 2-3 in their last 5 against teams that are 25-32 combined. So it’s not like other good teams are taking advantage of less than stellar schedules to pull off extended winning streaks. Nobody is saying the Hawks are going to go undefeated the rest of the way, but having a 5 game winning streak is a hell of a lot better than not having one.

Astro Joe

November 27th, 2012
6:03 pm

Think about all of those Damion fans in Cleveland and Miami.

Astro Joe

November 27th, 2012
6:07 pm

Last season the Hawks won 1 of every 3 games against winning teams. In the VERY early season so far, they are winning 1 of 2. It is much too early to make conclusions, but there are some diagnostic signs that validate some encouragement (if you choose to enjoy the ride, which many seemingly do not).

beone

November 27th, 2012
6:19 pm

“Drew’s not exactly what you’d call a quick learner, is he?” Now that is an understatement!!!

keith

November 27th, 2012
6:21 pm

Chris Vivlamore
November 27th, 2012
5:50 pm

Who usually wins the daily 3 point shooting contest?

doc

November 27th, 2012
6:23 pm

a win is a win

they dont rank you at the end of the year on strength if schedule

nfl is worst for penalizing the best as a handicap and really depreciates the end product for competitiveness

at the end it is about wins and being in good health going into the playoffs based on a seeding from wins and conf rank

no reason to apologize

just win baby

Sameba

November 27th, 2012
6:24 pm

Much more interesting question for me is what is the shooting % of the winner…

Sameba

November 27th, 2012
6:25 pm

^of that 3-point shooting contest ;-)

hot.trod.87

November 27th, 2012
7:04 pm

Proud of my Hawks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Harpie

November 27th, 2012
7:20 pm

Has there ever before been a coach as stupid as Larry Drew? I don’t think so…

Najeh Davenpoop

November 27th, 2012
7:21 pm

The Hawks were 8-4 through 12 games last year too, and played just as many sh-tty teams in that span as they have this year, but they also had two double digit losses in that time span. They have one double digit loss this year, against a legit contender on the road.

glw

November 27th, 2012
7:39 pm

I am curious as to why Drew decided to give Tolliver minutes over Ivan in the first place? This team was obviously undersized and you didnt need minutes going to a stretch 4 over a guy who bring you inside toughness and rebounding. Tolliver role is simply play when Josh gets in foul trouble or if the other shooters cant get it going and you need an offensive spark and your hope is he can come in and give you a couple of 3’s. Other than that, he shouldnt see the floor.

Ken Strickland

November 27th, 2012
8:12 pm

LDrew is full of it. He acts like Ivan Johnson is a new unproven player, and he had no idea what to expect from him. He just won’t admit to putting 3pt shooting ability ahead of proven aggressiveness, rebounding, DEF, and inside scoring ability. The fact that he cut a proven rebounder and defender(DJames)and forced another to languish on the bench(IJohnson), in favor of a 3pt shooter(ATolliver) that self destructed proves my point.

If we can be as effective defensively as we’ve been using a number of players that are basically OFF oriented, imagine how much better we’d be defensively with a couple of additional rebounders that defend.

Buddy Grizzard

November 27th, 2012
8:15 pm

“Buddy I don’t know what game you are watching ,JT is the heart of the defensive effort.”

I watched the game where AJ Price got dribble penetration every trip down court.

Astro Joe

November 27th, 2012
8:37 pm

LD spending 8 games to figure out the back end of his rotation is akin to an NFL head coach using 1.5 games to figure out who should be his CB in dime coverage.

HawkFan

November 27th, 2012
8:44 pm

How could anyone watch Tolliver and Ivan play and pick Tolliver? When will the NBA hire a blogger to Coach a team.

Najeh Davenpoop

November 27th, 2012
8:51 pm

“The fact that he cut a proven rebounder and defender(DJames)and forced another to languish on the bench(IJohnson), in favor of a 3pt shooter(ATolliver) that self destructed proves my point.”

The irony of course is that Tolliver sucks at 3 point shooting just like he sucks at everything else.

Sameba

November 27th, 2012
9:03 pm

Why everyone thinks that it is solely LD who is responsible for picking & playing Tolliver??

Sameba

November 27th, 2012
9:39 pm

I guess, there is no such evidence. In fact, I am glad L.Drew has finally benched the guy who, according to the evidence I got, was not his pick…

Nate ArchiBALL

November 27th, 2012
9:48 pm

FTPB.- Looks like Tolliver has friends in high places

Sameba

November 27th, 2012
3:45 pm

MsDee & Ken S.:

You may want to read this:

“Monday, August 27 2012

Free-agent Anthony Tolliver said he’s intrigued by Atlanta, a team that has great interest in him. “I don’t think they have a guy on their roster with that skill set with shooting and versatility,’’ Tolliver said about being a big man who can step out on the floor. When Tolliver was with Cleveland several years ago, Hawks GM Danny Ferry was the GM there. Tolliver also said he has a “really good relationship’’ with Wes Wilcox, then with Cleveland and now Hawks assistant GM. Sulia

http://hoopshype.com/rumors/tag/anthony_tolliver?page=2

Ken Strickland

November 27th, 2012
9:51 pm

SAMEBA-What makes you think it was anyone elses decision but LDrew’s? There were roster decisions involving salary considerations that he had no choice in making, like JPetro and likely DStevenson. He definitely didn’t have any choice when it came to rookies JJenkins and MScott. But with ATolliver having the same min contract DJames and KBenson would have received, salary considerations definitely didn’t factor into his decisions.

You can bet Ferry didn’t expect LDrew to construct a roster with a rebounding and DEF void at SF. If he did, he wouldn’t have brought JAnderson or DJames, who were known for DEF and/or rebounding, into to camp to compete at SF.

Slimjr

November 27th, 2012
9:54 pm

I betcha Coach Grandad and Ken S. could coach this Hawks team to an ECF within two seasons for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unbelievable Larry cut Damion for this scrub Anthony..

And Benson too? !@#$%^&*()_+

Sameba

November 27th, 2012
9:56 pm

Nate ArchiBALL:

Thanks for reposting part of my previous comment from another blog. Actually, that evidence should be coupled with another one. As I remember, the same day (or may be the next day) the announcement came about Damion being cut, LD gave interview to our beat writer. He said “Damion deserved to be on the team” or something very similar, do not remember exactly. I consider this as indirect prove that he wanted Damion to be on the team…

Sameba

November 27th, 2012
10:04 pm

Ken S:

Here is all the evidence I got. Now I have to leave for a while. if there still is some doubt we can proceed later…

Ken Strickland

November 27th, 2012
10:07 pm

NATE ARCHIBALL-Ferry likely brought Tolliver into camp, just like he brought James and Benson, but it was Drews decision which of these players made the final roster.