NBA

Drew stressing defense for up-tempo Hawks

Share This Story

   
 

ATLANTA (AP)

Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew knows his players are excited about the team's new up-tempo approach.

To gain his favor, though, the Hawks must commit themselves to defense.

Drew directed the team through its first practice of training camp on Tuesday, and his message was clear.

''The misconception is that you go up-tempo and you stop guarding,'' he said. ''You don't allow the players to (let) that to sink in or even give it a thought.''

''We're still going to be a team that's going to guard and defend. It's my job to make sure of that.''

Offseason moves by new general manager Danny Ferry reshaped the roster to add speed and quickness.

Ferry brought in Lou Williams, Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow and rookie John Jenkins to complement fast players already on the roster such as Jeff Teague, Josh Smith and Al Horford.

Though possibilities are exciting offensively, Drew insists that players must excel on defense if they hope to earn minutes and chances to score.

''Our emphasis still, as it has been the last two years with me as head coach here, is defense,'' Drew said. ''We don't get out and run unless we defend. That's going to be the tone that's set throughout this training camp.''

Beginning his eighth season on the Atlanta staff and third as head coach, Drew is eager to see how his five returning players - Smith, Horford, Teague, Zaza Pachulia and Ivan Johnson - blend in with the new group of veterans.

Williams, Harris, Morrow, Kyle Korver, DeShawn Stevenson, Johan Petro and Anthony Tolliver have a combined 44 years of experience.

The arrival of newcomers and the departure of longtime starters Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams have given the team a new identity.

''We've gone smaller but quicker and faster,'' Drew said. ''Our club has been built around that.''

Atlanta was considered an up-tempo team last year with Teague at point guard, and its defense wasn't too shabby, either, with a No. 6 ranking in points allowed.

But the trades that shipped out Johnson, a six-time All-Star, and Williams, a former No. 2 overall draft pick, took away length and size, so Drew spent time the past few months tinkering with some of his long-held philosophies to adapt his schemes to a leaner, quicker roster.

''It was a process of elimination with some of the stuff I ran last year, and then I had to add some things that would fit these guys,'' Drew said. ''I did it all summer. It seems like I was never satisfied with certain things.''

Smith hopes Atlanta's new look will make his ninth season his best with the Hawks. The 6-foot-9 Smith, an Atlanta native, has long had a reputation for great potential, but is still waiting to earn his first All-Star appearance or help the Hawks advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.

''I'm not running away from it,'' Smith said. ''I understand a lot of it lies on my shoulders. I'm willing to embrace all criticism. If y'all want to put games on me, I'm willing to do that as well. That's what it takes to be a leader. Accept the criticism as well as when you do good.''

Horford, a two-time All-Star, is enjoying a fresh start with his old team after missing most of last season with a torn pectoral muscle.

''I think in the past, we were all very used to each other,'' Horford said. ''Now it's totally different for us. We have a bunch of new guys, so for me it's kind of like my rookie year again, coming in here and not knowing what to expect. Just kind of jelling because we're a brand new team.''

Tagged: Hawks, Al Horford, Nets, Jazz, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Lou Williams, Anthony Morrow, Jeff Teague

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..