User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Drew stressing defense for up-tempo Hawks

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

Advertisement
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.''

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Akins: Hoop Trends - Sunday
News: Win Total Update - November
Lillard, Blazers defeat Heat 99-92
Hayward leads Jazz past Nuggets, 105-98
Thomas leads C's past 76ers, 'over' hits
Barnes, Matthews power Mavs past Bulls
Wolves rally, edge Hornets 125-120 in OT
Daniels leads Grizz past Lakers, 103-100
Players: Kerr's admission could spark talk
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NBA Pro Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NBA Hot Streaks
10-2 L12, 13-4 L17 NBA Picks
35-17 Run, +1,489 This Year
4-0 Record Last 4 Days
10-5 L7 Days, 7-3 L10 Guarantees
8-3 L11 Guaranteed Plays
5-1 L6 G-Plays, +1,341 This Year
11-3 L14 G-Plays, 12-5 L17 Picks
6-2 NBA Guarantees TY
6-3 L9 Picks, 12-5 L17 G-Plays
6-2 Last 8 NBA Selections
NBA Pro Basketball Expert Sports Picks - Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons
2016 NBA SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 1489
Doc's Sports + 1341
Zack Cimini + 505
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 474
ASA + 318
Paul Bovi + 286
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Andy Iskoe 75 %
Chip Chirimbes 62 %
Zack Cimini 59 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Doc's Sports + 908
Alex Smart + 797
ASA + 573
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 628
ASA + 368
Paul Bovi + 353
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 470
Mark Franco + 467
Jimmy Boyd + 459
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership