Hawks should look at Larry Drew for coaching job

Larry Drew, an assistant under Mike Woodson, has the advantage of knowing the Hawks problems.

Larry Drew, an assistant under Mike Woodson, has the advantage of already knowing the Hawks problems.

I’ve made it a practice to never prejudge a coach. Too many “obscure” hires have gone on to be great successes. Too many “name” hires have gone on to fall on their face.

Some people thought the Falcons were visionaries for hiring Bobby Petrino and Georgia was desperate for hiring Mark Fox. Oops.

So it follows that it would be silly to prejudge the Hawks’ next coach. However — you knew this was coming, didn’t you? — it occurred to me that given the likely parameters of general manager Rick Sund’s coaching search, a top candidate might be right under their noses: Hawks assistant coach Larry Drew.

Follow me through some of these names:

Avery Johnson: How do you knock this guy? He had a .735 winning percentage at Dallas. He reached the

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NBA finals in his second season, losing to Miami with Dwyane Wade, a rejuvenated Shaquille O’Neal and a pretty fare postseason coach in Pat Riley. The fact he played point guard can only help the development of Jeff Teague. For all the criticism of quick playoff exits the last two years, have you seen what Rick Carlisle has done with that Mavericks since Johnson was fired? Nothing. All that said, do I think Johnson is headed to Atlanta? No. If the Hawks can close a deal with him, it’s because the Atlanta Spirit is willing to pay more for a coach than we believe, or Johnson is willing to accept less than we think.

Tyrone Corbin: The former Hawk is an assistant coach for Utah’s Jerry Sloan, one of the great and under-appreciated coaches in NBA history. That’s good enough for me. Corbin is thought of highly

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enough that he’s considered Sloan’s heir apparent. He also has been mentioned for openings in Chicago and New Orleans. Pretty strong comments from Jazz guard Wesley Matthews in the Salt LakeTribune: “He’ll be a great head coach some day.” Why? “His passion for the game, and he’s tough. But he understands everything, too. And he’s going to make you better. That’s what you want from your coach.”

Dwane Casey: Some perceive him as the leading candidate. Not really sure why. Hiring a coach who went 53-69 in a season and a half and was fired by the Timberwolves probably wouldn’t stir the masses. Maybe he’s a good young coach. Maybe he got a raw deal in Minnesota. I’m just saying there’s really not much to go on. But Sund knows Casey from their Seattle days so that counts for something.

Larry Drew: He is a bright guy, well-liked and respected by the players. Is he a risk? Absolutely. Most assistant coaches are a risk because they’ve never been a head coach before. But here’s the advantage Drew has over other “risk” picks: He has been here. He knows the locker room. He knows the idiosyncrasies of Josh Smith, Joe Johnson (if he’s back), Mike Bibby and others. He knows the potential of Teague. Sund says he wants a new voice. The fact Drew has been Mike Woodson’s assistant doesn’t mean he’s the same voice as Woodson. Familiarity could work in his favor, not against him. He knows why defensive effort was inconsistent and the offense often fizzled in the fourth quarter.

The feeling out process for an assistant coach from the outside could be long. Only a proven outsider like Avery probably could command immediate respect in the locker room. Otherwise, there will be a feeling out process. That won’t exist with Drew. He’s worth a look. A long look.

Earlier posts

Is it ‘hot seat’ time already for Mark Richt at Georgia?

Georgia Tech, ACC content to watch expansion for now

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117 comments Add your comment

D B Cooper

May 19th, 2010
7:17 am

Drew would be more of the same. No

SimpleDawg

May 19th, 2010
7:19 am

Whomever the Hawks hire will have to ruffle a few feathers ( tell Josh to stop shooting threes, and be a more consistent defender – not just a shot blocker ), cultivate and nurture young talent ( Horford and Teague ), all while encouraging veteran players to expand their games and lead by example.

Having more, better players would certainly help make him look smarter.

Mr. Phil

May 19th, 2010
7:51 am

You know after careful consideration, I would like to backtrack on a comment I made before. I am thinking Ty Corbin might be the answer. This “feeling process” you speak of Jeff might be a good thing for these Hawks. I don’t think anybody on the coaching staff from last year should be involved with the team going forward. We need complete changes in coaching philosophy and style.

There have been coaches who had (nearly) immediate impact with teams coming in. I think the precise and crisp style that Sloan coaches(and presumably Corbin would mirror) is exactly what the Hawks have got to have.

Mikel

May 19th, 2010
7:51 am

More of the same? Jeff, you’ve been drinking too much Kool Aid. You are smarter than that, come on…….

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Jeff Schultz

May 19th, 2010
8:02 am

Mr. Phil — I like Corbin. There’s no question he’s going to be a head coach somewhere.

Jeff Schultz

May 19th, 2010
8:02 am

Mikel — I don’t think Drew is “the same” just because he was on Woodson’s staff.

Jerrell

May 19th, 2010
8:08 am

No. Woody’s failing was he didn’t get enough out of the roster, which includes establishing a system where his starters could best thrive and failed to develop his bench. I have no faith the guy working under him could be an upgrade. Maybe he’s the next Phil Jackson, but I think more likely that could be Ty Corbin.

LEA

May 19th, 2010
8:08 am

Whopper Dawg

May 19th, 2010
8:16 am

I am sure Mr. Drew is a nice guy, but I think a clean break is needed, a fresh start. To survive as a Woodson assistant, he would have had to be a supporter of the coaching style and strategy that has been employed. He would have to be viewed as a continuation, at least in part, of the previous regime. Kind of reminds me of the Swamp Fox Part III.

Taco Bell

May 19th, 2010
8:16 am

How is bring someone from within the organization giving the Hawks a “new voice”

The team gave up and the coach……..how can that not include his coaching staff as well. C’mon Jeff, you can’t be serious? Did you promise Drew a story or something?

Sid

May 19th, 2010
8:18 am

Ok Schultzie, what did he pay you……………..? “just kiddin’ ”
*********************************************************************

“Some people thought the Falcons were visionaries for hiring Bobby Petrino” ?

Mr. Jeff, I am going to have to ask you to back this statement up…………name one of the “some people” other than Bobby Petrino.

Tha Real Hawk

May 19th, 2010
8:22 am

Do not hire someone from the previous coach’s staff. Never works! Same voice.

Word

May 19th, 2010
8:24 am

Lame attempt to get the crowd chatting……. I guess sometimes the journalist are trying to fill status quo.

Clay

May 19th, 2010
8:25 am

“Maybe he’s a good young coach.”

Isn’t Casey in his 50’s, Shultzie?

I’m with you. If Corbin is Sloan’s heir apparent, that’s all I need to know. Sloan’s Jazz was over-matched by the Lakers, just like the Hawks ve Magic. However, that was the only similarity in the two teams’ series. The Jazz played hard, every minute of every game. The Hawks ……not so much.

Steve

May 19th, 2010
8:26 am

How about Tom Thibodeau, assistant coach for Boston Celtics and highly thought of around the league?

i_am_soulstar

May 19th, 2010
8:36 am

Sund won’t make this move for Larry Drew. Just not gonna happen. Not saying he isn’t deserving or capable, but he’d be widely criticized if this move fell through.

wordsmithtom

May 19th, 2010
9:05 am

Soulstar, good reasoning. Sund is a cautious type. I like Tribodeau a lot; ok with AJ, Price, Corbin, Mahorn…someone like that. From what I saw of Drew’s coaching in the summer leagues, he plays a different type of game than Woody. He was “run and gun”. That fits the talent this team has, especially if they involve Teague and pick up another big to help. This team needs tweeks, not fullscale surgery. Use Marvin on the high post more often. Sheesh, you have a drop dead foul shooter standing on the wings where nobody will touch him??? WTF’s up with that? Not all the time, but as a halfcourt point forward. I sense Drew would be an upgrade, but like you; Sund is probably too conservative to take that risk.

Kenbud

May 19th, 2010
9:09 am

Trade with New Orleans for PG Darren Collison! (trying to build support here. LOL) …. gotta trade with teams that have a gluttony at certain positions.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

May 19th, 2010
9:24 am

Bill Laimbeer! 2 titles as a player with the Bad Boys and 3 as a coach in the WNBA. Assistant right now in the league. He can instill mental toughness this team lacks and with a hard nosed defensive approach the team may be allowed for fastbreak chances. Confused as to why he is not being mentioned, b/c if you talk about back ground non of the candidates outsdie of Johnson can match his.

fes

May 19th, 2010
9:28 am

Drew can’t even coach his own son to be a better player. Every time he touches the ball for UNC, I cringe. I have no faith in dad’s abilities to coach up other players.

JSS

May 19th, 2010
9:37 am

@ Clay…
Corbin is favored by Jerry Sloan to coach in the NBA, not necessarily to be his replacement. Larry Drew can only be the head coach of this team if 3 things happen. 1. Avery Johnson passes on the job (which I hope is highly likely). 2. Other teams snatch up the truly good choices and Thibodeau fails miserably again in another round of interviews… 3. All hell breaks loose, the Cleveland job comes open and the chain reaction starts as free agents start getting serious about what teams are going to do in terms of direction. The Hawks panic and decide to get someone in place.

If you hire Drew, he must purge his staff of Bob Bender, Tyrone Hill and Jim Todd! The most telling point for me came in Game 7 of the ‘09 Miami series when Mike Bibby got into a shouting match with Hill and Bender coming out of a timeout. The Hawks ran the set play with Bibby hitting a 3. Bibby glared in the direction of the assistants the next 2 times down the floor…

@ Jeff Schultz…
What did you think of the Bolt/Michael Johnson interview?

Delbert D.

May 19th, 2010
9:41 am

Maybe Drew is the guy the team has really tuned out.

TROTTINGHOME

May 19th, 2010
9:44 am

LMAO…Your fishing without bait here JEFF…again.

This must be your Wednesday “I need to hump somebody’s leg Day”

Truth be told, I read the title and the caption…immediately came down to the blog…well you know the rest.

Oh YES…I skipped all 8 paragraphs.

Jeff D.

May 19th, 2010
10:00 am

I think new blood is badly needed. I’m sure Drew is a great guy with potential but we need a total change in philosophy. We need a real shock by management/coaching staff to let these guys know they need to step up their game to become champions. Avery will cost a pretty penny and I’m guessing the Spirit can’t cough it up. Sure, there are plenty of sleeper candidates out there but I wonder if the Spirit is willing to roll the dice on a sleeper when they desperately need a savior. Will Sund and company shock the city of Atlanta and make a quality offer to a proven winner like Avery Johnson? I think it’s possible. Go ahead, shock me!

Hawks73

May 19th, 2010
10:05 am

Larry Drew might very well be a good coach some day, but he would not be a “different voice” that Sund stated he desires. You need to bring in somebody who will change the dynamics of this current roster. A coach who is tough, but has a clear path and can develop players of the bench. One who will take every resource provided and make good use of what he is given. If that means paying more for a coach in the short term, then so be it. I think we would all agree that there are “salary cap restraints” with this current management group, so why not put your dollars into a coach who can absorb these challenges and progress this team to the next level.

Hawks73

May 19th, 2010
10:07 am

…and to further my previous statement, players would probably be willing to accept a more favorable contract if they know and respect the coach who is at the helm. The opposite can’t be said if you hire an obscure name.

Not So Mighty Casey

May 19th, 2010
10:17 am

Jeff, so far, no one at the AJC seems willing to broach the subject of Dwane Caseys’s humiliating cheating scandal at Kentucky, when he was caught sending an overnight envelope full of cash to recruit Chris Mills. How can you guys ignore this? There is no chance that he’ll be successful here if we wait until he’s on the job to remind everybody oh, he’s THAT GUY. Any chance you’ll be the guy with the stones to at least bring this up in print? If somehow the consensus is that this issue no longer matters, a lot of us would love to hear that explanation. The Hawks can’t bear the stain of hiring a confirmed cheater.

JEWELL

May 19th, 2010
10:23 am

JEFF, NO TO DREW. LET HIM GET A HEAD JOB SOMEWHRE ELSE. CORBIN COULD BE A GOOD PICK. CASEY DID GET A RAW DEAL IN MINN. MY CHOICE IS STILL BYRON SCOOT. DON’T KNOW WHY HE’S NOT IN YOUR POLL……

ntrigue

May 19th, 2010
10:23 am

Hire either Ty Corbin or Steve Smith! No to Avery Johnson and Casey!!!!

Marcus

May 19th, 2010
10:27 am

Schultzie,
What about Thibodeau (sp?) the asst. @ BOS?

I presume he can’t talk to teams about coaching openings (just like the NFL) until the C’s finish their season. That said, given whatever defensive coaching role Thibodeau has had in the Celtics holding down Dwight Howard after he dang-near got HOF stats vs. us in the 2nd round should garner enough immediate respect from our current players, head coaching experience notwithstanding.

Ramblin Wrecker

May 19th, 2010
10:29 am

Tyrone Corbin sounds like the answer. You had me at “heir apparent to Jerry Sloan”. Sloan is a bad ass tough guy. That sounds exactly what the Hawks need (i.e. Josh Smith’s candy ass) to take their talent to the next level. If this guy is half the coach Sloan is, this is the man to hire. Imagine the tough attitude this team could have on defense with a coach like this. Imagine Jeff Teague running pick and rolls (a la Stockton to Malone) with Al Horford and Josh Smith. None of the other potential coaches offer you an image of what the Hawks could be like under them. To me that makes Corbin the best choice.

atlienforlife

May 19th, 2010
10:30 am

Absolutely not! This whole coaching staff has to be revamped. The hawks need new voices in that locker room. Woodson knew the hawks problems and had no answers for fixing it, and obviously, his assistants didn’t have a word in his ear either. Drew would be a cheap and uninspiring move that proves that the atlanta spirit is not ready to make the moves necessary to get us over the hump. That whole staff placated to Joe Johnson, and that will continue with Drew. Probably a nice guy, but he need to see the door as well. You down a person like Avery Johnson, who was saddled with a soft jump shooting “superstar” and a bunch of shooters with no low post game to speak of. He cannot be faulted for that lost to D-Wade in the finals. That guy is the best player in the league, in my opinion, and he played possessed in that final four games. We need a disciplinarian out there and someone to hold “all” the players accountable, and that’s avery or byron scott!

Marcus

May 19th, 2010
10:30 am

@Not so mighty Casey,
that was, what, 20+ years ago? Let it go. Apparently, he has paid his penance and still is allowed to work in basketball circles.
Besides, in the pros, you don’t have to worry about FedEx envelopes full of cash to players. Heck, unless you are Phil Jackson or Pat Riley, you might have to ask the PLAYERS to float you some $$$ ’til payday.

Big Ray

May 19th, 2010
10:32 am

“Drew would be more of the same.”

Really? That’s like saying the Vice President would make the exact same decisions as the current President, if he took over the job.

The team did not give up on the entire coaching staff, they gave up on Woody.

How quickly we forget two things in the last 4 years:

1) Drew and Fisdale desperately trying to leave the team at the same time, only to be rebuffed by Billy Knight, who held them to their contracts. Fisdale eventually made it out, down to Miami I believe.

2) Woody talking after the team’s first playoff series ever, stating that he fought his assistants all year long over him shortening the rotation.

Jeff D.

May 19th, 2010
10:32 am

This is a critical crossroads for the Hawks. They can’t gamble here. Experience is the only way to go in order to raise the bar.

Ced

May 19th, 2010
10:32 am

I think Ty Corbin would be interesting. He was a hard working player for the Hawks when he played, although he was far from talented he still played his role well. It sounds good that he has been under coach Sloan and Sloan endorses him. Coach Sloan always has his players running precise plays and working hard. If Ty has been around that and taken that in, we will be better team if he brings it here with him.

JMARABLE

May 19th, 2010
10:37 am

WE NEED SOMEONE WHOS BEEN THERE DONE THAT. NOT A PERSON LERANING ON THE FLY. WE ARE SLOWLY BECOMMING AN EXPERINCED TEAM[3 STRAIGHT PLAYOFF APPERANCES] WE NEED SOMEONE WHO KNOWS THE GAME ESPECIALLY OFFENSIVELY.

HawkKingBibby

May 19th, 2010
10:38 am

If they hire Drew shoot me from a cannon into the Chattahoochee.

Chip Caray

May 19th, 2010
10:42 am

I can handle that job.

dub366

May 19th, 2010
10:50 am

i have said all alone Drew should be the coach. give him a chance what you got to lose. don’t he coach the summer league and did a great job with Teague and the team.

VickSwitchHitter

May 19th, 2010
10:50 am

THE HAWKS SHOULD CONSIDER HIRING JOHN DREW AS THEIR NEXT HEAD COACH. JOHN DREW PLAYED FOR THE HAWKS ABOUT 30 YEARS AGO AND WAS ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR. HE PLAYED WITH “FAST” EDDIE JOHNSON AND THE LATE TERRY FURLOW, ALONG WITH TREE ROLLINS, DOMINIQUE WILKINS AND A HOST OF OTHER CAPABLE HAWKS PLAYERS. JOHN WOULD MAKE A FANTASTIC COACH.

JSS

May 19th, 2010
10:50 am

This is all starting to become just “Talking Heads!” Please start reading what other commentators are posting… 8 people have talked Thibodeau, but still people keep coming in asking “but what about Thibodeau?”

Here is a article to the Salt Lake City Tribune: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_15099375?source=most_viewed
Tyrone Corbin in his own words and some outside observations from Jazz players.

Jeff Schultz

May 19th, 2010
11:03 am

Seems to be fairly universal against Drew. Don’t agree with the contention that because he was Woodson’s assistant must mean he’s a Woodson clone. In fact, I believe just the opposite is true. But everybody is entitled to their opinion.

Jeff Schultz

May 19th, 2010
11:04 am

Taco Bell — No, didn’t promise Drew a story.

Jeff Schultz

May 19th, 2010
11:06 am

Steve — Thibodeau is getting a lot of attention but some are of the opinion is best as an assistant (a defensive specialist) and not a head coach.

Jeff Schultz

May 19th, 2010
11:07 am

JSS — didn’t see the interview. When/where was that and what was the topic?

Jeff Schultz

May 19th, 2010
11:08 am

Not So Mighty Casey — Not much to say about Casey’s role in the Kentucky scandal right now. It’s been written a million times. If he gets the job, obviously it will written a million more times.

Tonyv-atl

May 19th, 2010
11:27 am

Jeff- What do you think of Mark Jackson
Doc Rivers is a hell of a coach!

Charles

May 19th, 2010
11:29 am