ATLANTA – Metro Atlanta native Lou Williams, who spent his first seven seasons with Philadelphia, broke the news himself on Tuesday evening, even if some red tape was holding up the Hawks from officially announcing the guard’s signing on Wednesday.
At 5:22 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Williams tweeted from his verified account, “ATL… LOUWILLVILLE.. happy to be apart of a team thats similar to the Sixers.. Young, athletic, and hardworking.. #highlightfactory” – the last a reference to the team’s marketing slogan for Philips Arena.
The deal had not become official by the time Hawks coach Larry Drew addressed the media on Wednesday afternoon at the second day of rookie camp. A team media relations employee instructed Drew not to comment on pending roster moves but Drew did offer his views on the possibility that the Hawks will get smaller at the shooting guard position, where size had previously been an advantage. (Six-time All-Star Joe Johnson, who reportedly has been traded to the Brooklyn Nets, pending league approval, is 6-foot-7 while Williams, if he ends up filling that slot, stands but 6-1.)
“I will say, when you look at your team, you have to analyze what you have,” Drew said. “You have to look at what you feel your strengths are, what you feel your weaknesses are. I’ve always said we certainly look at positions and we try to take advantage of certain match-ups that are to our advantage. Sometimes it’s size, sometimes it’s speed and sometimes it’s quickness. We have to look at every position and we have to exploit what we perceive to be the advantage and moving forward that won’t change, as far as what we do….”
He continued that in the future “speed and quickness may be the advantage.”
“We’ll try to put those guys in a position to really utilize their speed and quickness,” he said.
As new general manager Danny Ferry continues to make over the roster, the picture remains somewhat fuzzy as to how all of the pieces ultimately will fit together. There’s still a ton of time, in that sense, between the present and when the season starts more than three months from now.
The picture at guard might be one of the biggest works in progress. Last season’s starting point guard Jeff Teague is 6-2. Devin Harris, reportedly acquired from Utah for Marvin Williams in a trade that also has yet to be formally approved by the league, is 6-3. Throw in Williams, the NBA’s runner-up for its Sixth Man Award last season after coming off a career-high 14.9 points per game, and first-round draft pick John Jenkins (6-4) with Anthony Morrow (6-5), a player said to be in the Nets deal for Johnson, and the Hawks will be decidedly smaller, especially as Marvin Williams, who is 6-9, started in the small forward spot. (Guard Jordan Farmar, who is 6-2, is another who is expected to come from the Nets, but the Hawks reportedly will buy out Farmar’s contract.)
One potential option for the Hawks is emerging at rookie camp. Pape Sy, the team’s 2010 second-round pick who was cut before last season, could give them size at the shooting guard spot off the bench. Sy, 24, whom the team formerly tried to get to play the point, has turned himself into a muscled 6-7, 210 pounds and the Hawks now are looking at him to play off guard.
“He’ll probably play more ‘two’ than ‘one,’ but he will be put in situations where he’ll handle the basketball,” Drew said on Tuesday of Sy, “but I see him more as a ‘two.’ I think he does have the ability to play some ‘one,’ but I think his strength is to score the basketball. He has the versatility. In a smaller lineup he may play ‘three.'”
Sy said he likes the idea of shooting guard.
“Yeah, I feel good as a two-guard,” he said. “I mean, trying to get to the hoop and I work on my shot. I feel better now. Players at two, maybe more easier for me.”