With the arrival of GM Danny Ferry over the summer, the Hawks locker room is almost completely unrecognizable.
Now Hawks coach Larry Drew is faced with the task of implementing new lineups with players he has not had much time to work with. Drew got his first real chance to manage his new team Sunday afternoon on the way to a 92-79 win over the Heat.
Feeling out a new roster might seem like no big deal for an NBA head coach, but keep in mind Drew struggled to put together a consistent lineup last year, despite being in his second year as Hawks head coach and his seventh with the organization.
The Hawks entered this year’s preseason with 14” new faces. Even more notable is the absence of All-star guard Joe Johnson, who was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets over the summer.
Amidst all of the change, there are several things that are uncertain for the Hawks. Drew said he is still doesn’t even know who will start, and he is looking to use the preseason to figure it out.
“This is not a starting lineup that will be set in stone,” Drew said after announcing that Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeShawn Stevenson, Josh Smith and Al Horford as his starters against the Heat. “Through the preseason I do plan on mixing up my starting lineups, because I really want to see how guys work with different combinations.
It’s way to early to assess how the Hawks will do this season. It’s even too early to say which Hawks will actually see consistent minutes. Despite a few major decisions that have yet to be made, Atlanta fans can take solace in a few things that are almost guaranteed.
The Hawks can shoot the ball. No matter which lineup Drew decides to roll with, the Hawks will benefit from having at least one marksman on the floor at all times. Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow both own NBA records for their three-point shooting prowess. Morrow was the first rookie to lead the NBA in three-point percentage, while Korver has the single season three-point percentage record. The Hawks also managed to score John Jenkins, who many considered to be the best pure shooter in this year’s draft. DeShawn Stevenson is also a threat from deep as he knocked down 3-6 from three against the Heat.
Drew is well aware of the number of perimeter weapons his team now owns, but he said he is still focusing on establishing a solid post-game.
“I got guys that make some shots,” Drew said. “The thing that I’m really looking for through this preseason is how well we can establish ourselves in the low-post. We have to be a team that plays inside-out.
Another thing the Hawks can be sure of is that Al Horford will play hard. Horford was sorely missed last year by Atlanta as he sat the majority of the season with a chest injury, which required surgery. Despite making a return last season during the playoffs, he seemed a bit sluggish. Against the Heat, Horford looked rejuvenated. He is every bit as physical as he once was, and he may even be a step faster.