Tag: Larry Drew

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball

Report: Hawks may go after David Blatt as assistant coach

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If you ask close observers who the smartest, best coach on the international circuit is you usually hear the name David Blatt.

The average fan may not know him from the guy walking his dog down their street, but those fans know the powerhouse EuroLeague team he coaches (Maccabi Tel Aviv) and they know he coached the Russians up to the bronze medal in the London Olympics.

A lot of basketball people have wondered why an NBA team hasn’t gone after him. Now there is a report out of Sport-Express in Russia that one is (via Hoopshype, who did the translation).

The head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv and Russian National Basketball Team David Blatt may become the assistant coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Larry Drew has come to Israel today to watch and analyze Blatt’s work with Israel’s champions.

This would be a smart hire by the Hawks. It gives them a quality coach on Drew’s bench and potentially a future head coach if management ever decides to go that direction (and Blatt sticks).

That said, Blatt may or may not come. He has carved out a nice — and lucrative — career in Europe. He likes living in Israel. Not everyone will fall over themselves just to get any NBA job.

But it’s something to watch. And a smart play by the Hawks whether it works out or not.

Larry Drew to return as Atlanta Hawks coach

Atlanta Hawks v Denver Nuggets
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It was one of the first questions for the Atlanta Hawks — what to do about GM Rick Sund and coach Larry Drew? Sund’s deal is up and Drew has a team option for next season.

Looks like Drew will be back, tweets Sekou Smith of NBA.com.

Hawks head coach Larry Drew has had third-year option on his contract picked up. Will be back for another year, per a source. Well deserved!

If Drew is back then you think Sund will return.

Drew is 84-64 (.568) in two seasons as the head man in Atlanta, leading them to the second round of the playoffs last year but they did not get out of the first round this season.

That answers just the first of many questions for the Hawks this summer. Next up is what to do about Josh Smith? The All-Star forward has requested a trade and is entering the last year of his contract. After that comes up the fact that pretty much the entire Hawks bench is a free agent this summer. The roster will see major changes.

But one step at a time, at least the coach is taken care of.

Josh Smith plays like an All-Star in Hawks’ win over the Suns

Atlanta Hawks v Phoenix Suns

After the reserves for the 2012 NBA All-Star game were announced last week, and after Josh Smith was once again left off of the Eastern Conference squad for the eighth consecutive season, he sounded off. Smith said politics were to blame for him not being named to the team, and that he apparently “didn’t know the right people” in order for him to get selected.

If the coaches in the East had seen the performance Smith delivered in the Hawks’ 101-99 win over the Suns on Wednesday, they wouldn’t have had a choice.

Smith put up a line of 30 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists, four steals, and three blocked shots, on a night when Atlanta’s actual All-Star, Joe Johnson, was virtually invisible. Johnson managed just six points on 2-of-10 shooting in over 36 minutes of action. But despite his poor performance, he may have had the most important impact on the game’s final outcome with his words.

“I was going to pull Josh out early in the 4th,” Hawks head coach Larry Drew said afterward.  “And right when I subbed Joe in, Joe said ‘Leave him out there, he’s young.’ I thought he was tired, I mean we played last night and he played quite a few minutes, so I just wanted to give him a quick blow. But he wanted to stay in, and I’m glad he did because he just played a phenomenal game.”

Early in the fourth, when Drew was contemplating giving Smith that rest, the Suns were still in control, but just barely. Phoenix had seen a 15-point third-quarter lead reduced down to one when the fateful conversation took place, just two minutes into the final period. From that point on, Smith scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds as the Hawks were able to run their lead to as many as eight, before holding off Phoenix to close it out.

“Joe saw where I was having a pretty good night and he was able to get in [coach’s] ear a little bit,” Smith noted afterward. “And he listened.”

Johnson was a little more direct in detailing what he presented to his head coach.

“He was going to take him out, but you got a guy rolling like that, man, he’s 24 or 25,” Johnson said. “He can handle it. He’s got some mileage he can put on that body, so ride him ’til the wheels fall off. We’ve got two days off, he can rest tomorrow.”

The Hawks have no games over the next two days for the first time in this lockout-shortened season. Rest is definitely on the agenda — for both players and coaches.

“I told the guys I don’t even want to see them tomorrow,” Drew said.

“I don’t want to see him either,” Smith said later, with a laugh. “I want to see the bed, the pillow, the covers. All that good stuff.”

This rest is well-deserved for Smith, especially after he put the team on his back to get this win by playing the entire second half, and almost 45 of the game’s 48 minutes in total. But next weekend, when the All-Star festivities are taking place in Orlando, he’ll get some additional rest — some that, many would be able to argue, he didn’t deserve at all.


– Joe Johnson was named as a participant in the three-point contest over All-Star weekend on Wednesday, despite his percentage from beyond the arc of just .356 which currently ranks him at 65th on the season. So, how did this happen?

“It was kind of something I’ve been wanting to do since I was here in Phoenix,” Johnson told NBCSports.com. “I did it when I was in Phoenix and didn’t have a good outing, so I thought if they needed a fill-in or what-not, I’d be that guy. I just kind of threw it out there, and they went for it. So here I am.”

– Steve Nash was whistled for somewhat of a phantom technical foul at a critical moment in this one, and the Hawks took their first lead since the first quarter on the technical free throw with 7:38 to play in the game. Both Nash and Alvin Gentry had reactions of complete shock and disbelief when it was called, which leads you to believe the refs may have misinterpreted something they heard or saw. Nash explained his side of the story afterward.

“It was tough, it really changed the momentum of the game,” Nash said. “Hinrich called ‘double fists’ which was their zone defense, so I went to the sideline and I really just mouthed to Alvin, ‘they’re in double fists,’ like asking him what offense he wanted us to run. And [the ref] thought I said, ‘They’re horrible.’ I don’t want to make any comment about the referees. I’ll just say it’s unfortunate he misinterpreted what was said.”

What the Hawks should do when the lockout ends

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six
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Last season: Same old, same old? Progress and a step back? Stumbling backwards into success? There’s got to be some sort of ridiculous phrase to describe the Hawks’ 2011 season. Their offense took a serious step back, despite all the talk of getting out of Mike Woodson’s system. Larry Drew took over, and the Hawks plummeted from 2nd in offensive rating to 2oth. They were an afterthought, a peaceful reminder that there were some teams out there who didn’t have trios of superstars, just trios of very good ones.

Then the playoffs. The Magic, who should have wiped the floor with them. But the Hawks and newly acquired at-the-deadline Kirk Hinrich had different plans. They disrupted, confused, and chortled the Magic’s perimeter attack while telling Dwight Howard, “do what you must, freak.” Howard did, but it wasn’t enough, especially when Jamal Crawford went gonzo. So despite taking a step back in games won, despite looking terrible on offense even in the playoffs, despite no significant improvement on defense, the Hawks made it as far as they have with this core of players.

Go figure.

Then the Bulls came, and despite a good showing, the Hawks exited rather quietly.

Since we last saw the Hawks: The Hawks have nine players left on contract. Jamal Crawford’s gone to seek somwhere more fun to throw up threes without a conscience (and hit them in huge moments I might add). Kirk Hinrich’s entering a contract year. At nine players, the Hawks have $66 million committed in salary. That’s with Jason Collins, Josh Powell, Etan Thomas and Hilton Armstrong all gone in free agency, presumably. Yes, the two words here are “Joe Johnson.”

When the lockout ends, the Hawks need to: All of my answers are implausible. Amnesty Joe Johnson? Give up a huge chunk of your offense and a very underrated defender. Trade Joe Johnson? No takers. Fire Larry Drew? He just took them to the second round semi-promised-land. Feature Al Horford in the offense more? His efficiency would drop with the usage increase. Strap a device that sends an electrical surge through Josh Smith whenever he shoots from further than 12 feet? Illegal in most states.

The Hawks are who they are. The most likely scenario has them ditching Josh Smith to try and get multiple pieces to build around Horford and Johnson, which will then of course coincide with Smith “realizing his potential” on a bigger stage. Clearly Jeff Teague is the future at point guard, which means that Hinrich is a very expensive backup at this point, despite his excellent play in the playoffs (a contender would benefit from adding Hinrich’s defensive experience). They should keep Magnum Rolle because his name’s awesome. Other than that, their options are limited.

Finding an offensive system that works in any capacity should be the top priority. Everything after that can get figured out. But the Hawks better pray that Larry Drew has more than he had last season, because the playoff run felt awfully player-inspired rather than coach-devised.

Report: Atlanta Hawks considering trading Josh Smith

Chicago Bulls v Atlanta Hawks - Game Four

Atlanta needs to do something to shake up this team, because it is clear the current roster is a step or two behind the elite in the East. And while you can expect that Chicago and Miami will be better next season, Atlanta isn’t going to get better without some bold moves.

Like trading Josh Smith.

Which is something they are exploring and something the forward is good with, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

The Atlanta Hawks have started to gauge trade interest on forward Josh Smith(notes), and Smith isn’t averse to ending his seven-year stay with his hometown team, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Monday.

Smith hasn’t requested a trade, but has privately told league friends that the Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic are his preferred destinations should the Hawks decide to move him.

Smith had another good season for the Hawks — 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game — but he and coach Larry Drew clashed, and that reportedly carried over to the locker room. Drew wanted Smith to shoot fewer jump shots, Smith undercut Drew in the locker room.

Smith has two years, $25.6 million left on his deal, not an unreasonable one for a borderline All-Star. But the Hawks are going to want real talent back and that may not be easy at all. Especially where Smith wants to go — Boston plans to make another run with their core, Orlando and New Jersey do not have a lot of good trade bait to offer. With that, don’t expect a deal, if one comes at all, until after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in place.

But the talks seem to be out there.