Welcome
to the Hawks BasketBlog! This is where you can come to read analysis and
commentary on the Hawks as well as topics around the league. Check us out
throughout the season as we will be posting new material on the Hawks, the NBA,
and maybe a few other subjects as well. Want to participate? Submit questions
and comments to us at
hawks.mailbag@atlantaspirit.com

and we will try to answer as many as we can!

Note: the opinions expressed here are not those of the Atlanta Hawks
organization or of the NBA.


Training Camp
Schedule
|
Updated
Roster


Hawks En Espanol
In an effort to please Hawks fans far and wide, here is a

link to an article
about new Hawks player Esteban Batista that is running on
the Spanish website Mundo Hispanico. The Web Guy is talented at many things
(particularly ping pong and tetherball), but is sadly not fluent in Spanish. So
I have no idea what it says. But,
Batista did
have 15 points
in his Hawks debut against Charlotte on Wednesday, including
hitting 11-11 from the charity stripe, so it must be at least somewhat
complimentary.

If anyone cares to fill me in on what it says, please email it in!

In other news, lets dip into the ole' email bag and see what fans are writing
in...

With the new developmental league agreement, will players like Batista
and Grundy be farmed out for seasoning this year? When do you project we will
trade 1 of our forwards for draft picks?

- Darrell I.

According to the
new
agreement with the D-League
, each team may assign up to two players to their
affiliate team (the Hawks share the Arkansas RimRockers with the Cavs,
Grizzlies, and Raptors), so Hawks management could choose to send either of
those two players down there if they so choose. The only players eligible for
the D-League are either rookies or sophomores, so there are only so many players
with that option available to them.

As for projecting trades, Billy Knight has certainly shown in his tenure with
the Hawks a willingness to make deals if he thought it would help the team. So,
it's safe to say if he finds a deal he likes, he won't hesitate.

Keep those questions comin' Hawks fans...

-- The Web Guy | 5:30 p.m. 10/14/05 |
Have a comment?



Hawks Make Roster Changes
As the season draws ever closer, the Hawks began to trim their roster today,
waiving center Roderick Riley and forwards Mark Strickland and Anthony Wilkins
from the training camp roster. Here is the
updated
roster
.

In other news, if you are interested in seeing the Hawks in action, you
should check out the team's
open practice
tomorrow at Woodward Academy in College Park. The doors will open at 11:30 and
the team begins practicing at noon. And the best part? It's free! The
players will be there early collecting donations for Habitat For Humanity (to be
used to build a house for displaced victims from Hurricane Katrina), and will be
signing autographs afterwards, so don't forget to bring your favorite Hawks
memorabilia. All in all, it should be a pretty good time, so definitely come
check it out!

-- The Web Guy | 10:00 a.m. 10/14/05 |
Have a comment?



NBA.com Season Preview
If you took a break from following basketball over the summer and need to
get up to speed on what the Hawks have been up to you may as well check out the
NBA.com team-by-team preview.
With a season outlook, fantasy watch, coaching analysis, roster moves and much
more the previews have you covered.

Here's a trivia question for you: How many Hawks have won the NBA All-Star
slam dunk contest? The answer is in the preview.

-- The Web Guy | 12:25 p.m. 10/13/05 |
Have a comment?


Preseason Opening Thoughts
The first Hawks (preseason) game is in the books, as the good guys
fell 104-93
last night to the Magic at Philips Arena. Here is
the
recap
as well from the AJC's Sekou Smith, as well as a

short feature he did
on Joe Johnson.

Though the team lost, there was plenty to be happy about from the game. Here
is one (web) guy's two cents on the first night of action:

  • Zaza Pachulia looked good. On one play in the first half,
    Pachulia finished a fast break with an across-the-basket reverse layup, showing
    surprising athleticism. He finished the night tied for the team lead with 18
    points, mixing an impressive mid-range game with a tenaciousness under the
    basket, getting to the line for ten free throws (of which he made eight).


  • Joe Johnson
    also scored 18 points, quietly I might add. That has always
    impressed me about his game - it doesn't seem like he has done anything to stand
    out, but then you look up and he has compiled quite a little stat sheet. Last
    night he had seven assists and seven rebounds to go with his 18 points. He
    seemed to force things a little at times in his attempts to get his teammates
    involved, but you can chalk that up to unfamiliarity. As Johnson gets to know
    his teammates better he will learn their tendencies and where they like the
    ball, and you will see those types of turnovers decrease. Most of the night
    though Johnson looked at ease in the playmaker role. One play in particular
    stood out, where Johnson drove the lane, allowing the defense to collapse on
    him, at which point he found Salim Stoudamire in the corner for a
    wide-open jump shot. Look for those types of plays to occur early and often if
    the Hawks are to be successful on offense this season.

  • Speaking of the rookies, Stoudamire and Marvin Williams each
    saw significant playing time last night. Stoudamire didn't have his best night
    shooting, hitting only 2-7 from the field, but that's no biggie. Marvin finished
    the night in double figures with 12, including 8-9 from the charity stripe, and
    looked like he was starting to gain confidence in himself as the game wore on.
    He needs to get a little stronger around the hoop, but then again he is only 19
    years old, so cut him some slack, jeez!

  • Tyronn Lue missed the game with a sore quad, and his presence was
    definitely missed. Lue gives the team a legit option at the point position, and
    might have allowed the team to slide JJ over during parts of the game and
    operate more as a scorer. That's not to say Stoudamire can't also provide that,
    but having not played the point in college, it will take him some time to adjust
    to that role.

  • The Hawks biggest problems on opening night were defense and
    turnovers, no surprise for the preseason. The Magic were able to consistently
    get points when they needed them to maintain a small lead throughout the fourth
    quarter, and every time the Hawks would force a miss Orlando were able to grab
    an offensive board. But with Coach Woodson's reputation as a defense-first
    coach, you can bet that the team will be working on that big time as the season
    draws closer.

    Here are some pics from the first game, courtesy of Hawks photographer Scott
    Cunningham:



    Smiles abound as the Hawks took the court for the first time in 05-06


    Zaza takes it to the hole


    Salim shows his lefty form


    Marvin got to the basket often in his Hawks debut


    Joe Johnson - future fantasy basketball stud

    -- The Web Guy | 11:30 a.m. 10/12/05 |
    Have a comment?


    Training Camp: Preseason Opener
    Well, tonight
    the Hawks hit the court for the first time in the preseason opener against
    Orlando at Philips Arena. This is the only chance Hawks fans will have to see
    the team up close and personal at home during the preseason, so hopefully the
    guys will put on a good show.

    Tonight marks the long-awaited and much-anticipated debuts of Joe Johnson and
    Marvin Williams, the two highest profile additions to the team. But, don't
    forget about another new addition as well, second-round pick Salim Stoudamire.
    Stoudamire lit up the summer league in Salt Lake City, scoring 39 points in one
    game, and will not hesitate to fire away if given the opportunity. We will also
    see the debuts tonight of Zaza Pachulia and John Edwards in the post, as they
    compete with incumbent Jason Collier for the starting spot down low.

    It's just the preseason, so don't get too excited about anything good that
    happens or too upset about anything that goes wrong, but hopefully the team can
    give a glimpse into what Hawks fans can expect in the upcoming season.

    I know I'm ready to get it started. Who's with me?

    -- The Web Guy | 5:30 p.m. 10/11/05 |
    Have a comment?


    Training Camp: Smile For The Cameraa
    Today
    was picture day at training camp at Philips Arena. You know those video
    greetings you see up on the scoreboard, or clips of players telling you to make
    some noise? They were all filmed today. So were headshots, media guide pictures,
    billboards pictures, video clips of players talking about their favorite TV
    show, Gatorade flavor, athlete, etc. You get the picture Actually, you don't
    because our flash card reader is on the fritz, but we'll see what we can do
    about that.

    The mood was pretty light as the players gave each other a
    hard time
    over their answers and tried to top each other with their poses. I've
    got to say, some of the pictures are going to turn out really well. Josh Smith
    had some great facial expressions and poses and Jason Collier looked like a
    beast. Back in the video room Anthony Grundy had trouble keeping a straight face
    giving his answers to the questions and John Edwards delivered a pretty good
    rendition of 'In Da Club.' While the guys were pretty loose around the cameras
    you can tell they're going to be all business once the season starts.

    -- The Web Guy | 4:00
    p.m. 10/10/05 |
    Have a comment?


    Training Camp: Coach Woodson & Marvin Williams Interviews
    The Hawks were back on the practice court again today and we were
    able to catch up with first round draft pick Marvin Williams and Head Coach Mike
    Woodson for some audio interviews as they discussed the first week of Training
    Camp.


    Mike Woodson
    (mp3)


    Marvin
    Williams (mp3)

    -- The Web Guy | 2:04 p.m. 10/7/05 |
    Have a comment?



    Texas
    Alum Royal Ivey On The Red River Shootout
    Well, seeing as a
    certain web guy for a certain NBA team (hint: ME) is an alum of the University
    of Texas, and seeing as Hawks guard Royal Ivey is also a Longhorn, we were able
    to get Royal's prediction on the huge

    Texas-Oklahoma game
    this Saturday.


    Click
    here
    for Royal's game breakdown (not surprisingly, he thinks big things are
    in store for Vince Young and co. on Saturday).

    Hook 'em Horns!

    -- The Web Guy | 1:30 p.m. 10/7/05 |
    Have a comment?


    Training Camp: Day Three

    Through three days of camp, the Hawks are still spending most of their time
    doing conditioning drills and working on getting in game shape. After two days
    of, ummm, two-a-days, the Hawks practiced just once on Thursday, as the coaching
    staff started to introduce some of the offensive plays and defensive
    philosophies.

    The mood around camp looks good. The players pay attention when the coaches
    are instructing, but they still look like they are enjoying themselves. With
    eight players returning from last year's squad, there is a great deal of
    cameraderie, which you like to see in terms of building team chemistry. At the
    end of practice Marvin Williams engaged in what appeared to be an
    impromptu three-point shooting match with assistant coach Larry Drew,
    with Drew showing he still has the touch that saw him average in double figures
    in a ten-year NBA career.

    After practice we spoke with
    Josh Childress

    and Jason Collier
    about returning to camp and getting back to action. Also,
    check out our interview with
    Coach Mike Woodson
    from media day on Monday.

    Not enough for ya? Here are some more pics as well:



    Woodson leads the team through some offensive drills


    Al
    Harrington and Joe Johnson under the lights


    Sorry, having a little fun with the digital camera


    Harrington works on his form

    -- The Web Guy | 4:30 p.m. 10/6/05 |
    Have a comment?


    Training Camp: Catching Up With Steve
    Smith

    Steve Smith was a great player for the Hawks during his
    tenure in Atlanta (he was here from 1994-99), and is known as one of the class
    acts of the NBA. After announcing his retirement from basketball at his alma
    mater Michigan State (in a building he donated to the University, no less) last
    week, he joined the Hawks this week as the color commentator for the team's TV
    broadcasts.

    Smith
    was at Philips Arena Tuesday to check out the team, and while there gave us a
    few minutes to talk about his new role with the team and what it means to him to
    be back in Atlanta.

    How does it feel to be back with an organization you spent so much time
    with like Atlanta?

    Steve Smith: Covering the team will be great. I get to come back to a
    city I always knew I would make my home. I get a chance to be around the
    organization and stay involved in the NBA. It will be fun, getting to travel
    with the team and getting to come to practices, but this time I don't have to
    run sprints or anything.

    You were supposed to join the Hawks broadcasts last year, but decided at
    the last minute to remain active (Smith began the year with Charlotte and ended
    with the Miami Heat). Any chance we may still see you on the court again?

    SS: No, no, no (laughing). I had that itch last year, I just
    wasn't ready. Now I know it's time. I still have the itch a little, but it's
    time to close that chapter of my life. It was a great chapter, but now it's time
    for a new one. I am a rookie at this, but I'm looking forward to it.

    What will be the biggest challenge to transitioning from playing the game
    on the court to talking about it off of it?

    SS: Wanting to be out there will be the biggest thing. What's good
    about this though is I get the chance to be around a good group of guys and get
    a chance to watch basketball and impart some of the knowledge and insight of all
    the things I've been through in 14 years of basketball.

    How well do you feel like you know the team?

    SS: Well, what's great is I know the city, not just the team. I have
    always followed the Hawks, because this is where I had my most success. It's a
    place I've always wanted to live, and we've been here every summer. So now I get
    a chance to be back around the organization full-time and have some fun with it.

    At the end of practice Tuesday, Coach Woodson called you over from the
    sidelines into the huddle with all the players. What did he have to say?

    SS: He was pretty much just introducing me as the new analyst, but he
    was very complimentary towards me. He told the guys I've been through a lot in
    this league and to pick my brain when I am around. It was really nice. Mike
    Woodson is a class act; he really didn't have to do that, but he surprised me.

    -- The Web Guy | 3:00 p.m. 10/5/05 |
    Have a comment?


    Training Camp: Day Two

    Practice continues today with two practices, and everyone still appears ready to
    go. Cleaning up a few things from the past couple days, let's dip into the ole'
    mailbag and see what the fans are asking about:

    Who is projected to be the starting 5 for the Hawks?
    - EJ

    Thanks for writing in EJ. The answer to your question is very simple...we
    have no idea!

    Pencil in Harrington, but not much elseIn
    Billy Knight's tenure as the GM for the Hawks, he has made a conscious effort to
    bring in players with the versatility to play several positions. In addition,
    Mike Woodson showed no hesitancy in his first season to try different
    combinations of players in an attempt to find the right group to have on the
    floor.

    As we begin training camp, it doesn't look like that approach will be any
    different. The Hawks have several players who will be in the mix for playing
    time, and honestly, there are probably only two players you can write into the
    opening intros with a pen - Al Harrington and Joe Johnson.
    Jason Collier
    and
    Zaza Pachulia figure to compete for time at center if you want to narrow
    that position down to two, but after that, there are a lot of combinations
    Woodson could consider.

    Josh Smith could be featured anywhere from shooting guard to power
    forward, for example. Even someone like Salim Stoudamire could be seen at
    either guard spot if he is in with Johnson running the point.

    Our best guess is, don't expect the starting lineup to mean too much,
    especially early on - there are a lot of players on the team that will have the
    opportunity to contribute whether they start or not.

    Keep the questions coming out there, we will try to answer as many as we can.

    -- The Web Guy | 1:00 p.m. 10/5/05 |
    Have a comment?


    Training Camp: Day One

    After glad-handing the local press during Media Day on Monday, today it was time
    for the Hawks to actually hit the court and practice for the first time as a
    team in 05-06. First reaction? Everyone looks great. We will probably have a
    story about this in the coming weeks, but some of the guys just look like they
    are in tremendous shape, especially Josh Smith. Man, that guy has added
    some muscle. Words can't really describe it, you are just going to have to take
    our word for it until you see him play in person.

    If
    you caught
    Hawk Talk Online
    yesterday, you might have heard Al Harrington talk about how he boxed to
    stay in shape this summer, and he looks great as well. Give credit to head coach
    Mike Woodson for one thing - his players know what to expect from him during
    workouts, an they all appear to be ready for the rigors of training camp. That's
    gotta make him happy. Plus, with few established roles on the team, nearly
    everyone on the roster, including newcomer Zaza Pachulia (right),
    is out to prove they are deserving of significant playing time.

    Right now the players are doing two-a-day practices, going from roughly 10:00
    - noon in the morning and then 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. in the evening. After the
    morning practice we caught up to the one of the guys who does figure to have his
    playing time fairly established, Joe Johnson, to get his thoughts on the
    first day of camp:

    What was it like finally getting out there with your new teammates?

    Joe Johnson: It was cool, we had a lot of fun. We are working hard and
    competing. There are a lot of drills and conditioning for right now. We just
    need to work together to develop some chemistry and then I think we will be
    alright.

    What had you heard about Coach Woodson before camp started?

    JJ: Well we have talked, we had dinner together, talked about the
    season and stuff like that. He is a great guy. I know he expects a lot from us,
    and we just have to work hard every day right now to get ready for the season.

    Does camp seem as intense as you expected under a guy like Coach Woodson?

    JJ: Pretty much. You don't know how each day is going to go, you just
    have to come out and put your best foot forward and just go from there. I'm just
    ready to get it started.


    Care to take a look inside? Here are some photos from the first day back on
    the hardwood:



    Coach Woodson explaining a defensive stance to Royal Ivey and Anthony Grundy


    The players line up for three-man drills


    Hawks strength coach Pete Radulovic leads the team through stretches


    Hawks co-owner Dominique Wilkins talks with new Hawks broadcaster Steve Smith


    J-Smoove

    -- The Web Guy | 5:30 p.m. 10/4/05 |
    Have a comment?


    Media Day Update

    Media
    day is over, and all of the local media came by to get their first look at the
    team. Media day is a busy, busy day for the players, as they sit at tables to do
    interviews, take pictures for publications, and film various team and
    league-related video spots.

    Tomorrow the guys will hit the floor for their first set of practices, and
    then the real fun begins (not that media day isn't fun, but how many times can
    you answer the same question before your eyes start to roll back in your
    skull?).

    We will have in-depth interviews and updates as training camp gets underway,
    so be on the lookout for that. The preseason opener is just eight days away!

    -- The Web Guy | 6:00 p.m. 10/3/05 |
    Have a comment?


    Hawk Talk Online

    We
    just finished the latest episode of Hawk Talk Online, a special 2005-06 Media
    Day Edition, with in-studio guests Sekou Smith of the Atlanta
    Journal-Constitution and Hawks players Joe Johnson, Tyronn Lue,
    Jason Collier
    , Al Harrington and Hawks co-owner Dominique Wilkins
    and Hawks Exec. VP & GM Billy Knight.

    Click here to
    listen!

    -- The Web Guy | 3:30 p.m. 10/3/05 |
    Have a comment?


    Hawks Media Day
    Alright, it's just about that
    time...who's getting pumped? Though the players hit the court together for the
    first time tomorrow, today they will gather on the Hawks practice court to meet
    all of the local media types. We will be taping the season's first episode of
    Hawk Talk Online
    while we are there, so be sure to check for that later today or perhaps
    tomorrow. We will be gathering tons of player interviews while we are down there
    as well, so we should have a ton of new stuff for you to listen to about this
    year's version of the team.

    Back in a few hours!

    -- The Web Guy | 12:30 p.m. 10/3/05 |
    Have a comment?


    Hawks Fantasy News
    The
    season is getting close, with training camp starting next week. Man, it is hard
    to believe the off-season is already (just about) over. As the season
    approaches, we will definitely be blogging it up big time. For now, you should
    check out the NBA's
    fantasy
    preview on the Hawks
    . Don't sleep on the Hawks this year for fantasy
    leagues - Josh Childress was a double-double machine towards the end of
    last season, and Josh Smith blocks more shots from the guard position
    than maybe any player in the league (he plays a lot of minutes at forward, but
    he should still qualify as a guard in most leagues).

    Then of course there is Joe Johnson, who figures to be a big-time stat
    stuffer for the team, especially if he handles the point. Johnson has been one
    of the league-leaders in minutes per game the last couple seasons, and that
    doesn't figure to change much - plus his three-point shooting provides a big
    boost to his value in leagues where that stat is kept (not a guarantee, but it
    counted in mine last year, so who knows?).

    -- The Web Guy | 3:30 p.m. 9/26/05


    Check Out The New Site!

    After lots of time and effort, we are happy to announce the re-launch of
    the Hawks.com homepage! Take a look at
    the new design and tell us what
    you think!

    Hopefully the new model will be a little easier on the eyes and easier to
    navigate.

    Some of the highlights:

  • A more picture friendly top story area
  • . As team photographer Scott
    Cunningham says, the NBA is a more vertical game than horizontal - so hopefully
    the new picture sizes will capture the action on the court a little better.

  • A
    new rotating top story, illustrating the biggest news in Hawks country with
    bigger photos!
  • Easier access to ticketing options for upcoming Hawks games on
    the upper right-hand side of the page!
  • The Hawks Calendar is a little higher
    on the page (on the right-hand side), so it should be easier to find out when
    and where the next games and community events are!

    Check it out, we hope you
    like it!

    -- The Web Guy | 5:00 p.m. 9/1/05


    Photos From Joe Johnson's Press
    Conference
    Well, the Web Guy took some pictures with his digital camera on
    Friday, but often times that sorta thing is best left up to the pros. Here are
    some pics from the event, straight from the lens of Hawks photographer
    extraordinaire Scott Cunningham:



    The
    newest Hawk



    The
    jersey presentation



    Alley-oop to Josh Smith?



    Hawks
    coach Mike Woodson, Johnson, and Hawks Executive VP and GM Billy Knight



    The
    press conference took place on the main court at Philips Arena

    -- The Web Guy | 10:15 p.m. 8/22/05



    Joe Johnson Lands With The Hawks

    After a few weeks of build up and anticipation,
    Joe Johnson

    finally joined the team of his choice on Friday. The Hawks introduced Johnson to
    the Atlanta media on the main court of Philips Arena amidst much applause from
    everyone in attendance. Earlier in the day Atlanta finally consummated a

    sign-and-trade with Phoenix
    , acquiring the versatile player for a package
    including Boris Diaw and two future conditional first-round picks.


    After
    the press conference,
    Hawks.com had a chance to catch up to the brand new face of the franchise
    for Five Questions:

    Hawks.com: What does this day mean to you?

    Joe Johnson: It means a lot. It's been a long process, and I am
    glad to have it all over with. Just to get back to the South, where I grew up,
    getting a fresh start, it's just great.

    Hawks.com: People question
    your ability to play point guard, but (Hawks Executive VP and GM) Billy Knight
    says positions are overrated. What do you think?

    JJ: I think
    it's great to be able to play multiple places on the floor, because it means you
    can help out in different ways. If the team makes a substitution, I can move to
    the 2 if need be, or the 3, or even the 4 if that's what is needed. I think I'm
    in a great situation here, and I am willing to do whatever the coaches ask me
    to.


    Hawks.com:
    Would you play some center if needed?

    JJ: No doubt. Whatever Coach Woodson wants, I've got. I've got
    his back 100%.

    Hawks.com: You have played with Amare Stoudemire in
    Phoenix, and now you join Josh Smith in Atlanta. So who is the better dunker?


    JJ:
    Wow, that is tough. Josh has a lot of style, but Amare has more power. I
    would say Josh has a little more finesse, and Amare is a little more powerful.
    But they are both great dunkers.

    Hawks.com: Some people have said they
    think your contract is too big for a player with your experience - but it's very
    similar to when Orlando shelled out ($93 million over seven years) for Tracy
    McGrady. Do you think you are in a similar situation?

    JJ: I
    think there are maybe some similarities, but I'm not worried about comparisons.
    This is my chance to show what I can do, and the best is yet to come. I'm just
    looking forward to getting out here to start playing.

    -- The Web Guy | 5:15 p.m. 8/19/05


    Hunting and Pecking With Harry The Hawk
    Wow.
    All I can say is wow. I've never been one to toot my own horn, but I can't
    believe I made the national media yesterday! I mean, it's one thing to get a
    national mention on a prestigious website like
    SI.com, but to be talked about
    in

    an article by Jay Mohr
    ?
    The Jay Mohr?

    I have been a fan of Mohr's since I first learned
    how to flap my wings. We only got 3 channels in our nest growing up, and when my
    mother was out looking for food on Saturday nights I often would stay up to
    watch him on Saturday Night Live. The four skits he was in during
    his three years on the show were my favorites!

    Mohr was always a role model for me growing up as a young mascot. In
    honing my craft, I often referenced his nuanced, textured work in hilarious
    films such as
    The Adventures Of Pluto Nash and Are We There Yet?
    And when things were tough, I didn't get discouraged. I saw how well Mohr
    responded to all of his disappointments, like the TV shows Action
    and ESPN's Mohr Sports, and said to myself, "Hey, if Jay Mohr can
    bounce back so can I!"

    Thanks to the life lessons I learned from Mohr, I
    eventually realized my dream of working for the Hawks. Now I get to perform at
    every home game and entertain people, just like he does.

    I never thought
    my idol would notice the work I do at games, but I guess dreams do come true. My
    new dream? Maybe someday Mohr will come down to a Hawks game and entertain the
    fans with me. If he is half as funny with me as he was in
    Jane Austen's Mafia!, we'll bring the house down!

    -- Harry The Hawk | 2:15 p.m. 8/11/05
     




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