The Atlanta Hawks officially kicked off the start of the 2010-11 season Tuesday morning as training camp officially got underway. A new twist that Coach Drew threw at his players this season was starting the session with a timed mile run. Drew later said that all of his Centers and Power Forwards passed the test but failed to elaborate on which or how many of the guards didn't make the required time. By all accounts the action was fast paced with the early concentration on conditioning. That isn't really a surprise as that is probably a common theme throughout training camps around the NBA. Overall it appears that Coach Drew was pleased with the way guys came to camp in shape.
The feeling is that Coach Drew wants the team to play at a faster pace. While that is a statement you hear come out of a lot of coach's mouths this time of the year it does in fact make a lot of sense for the Hawks. On most nights Josh Smith and Al Horford have a decided advantage over their opponent in speed and if the Hawks are committed to pushing the ball. A lot of the decisions in that regard will be made due to how quickly the team picks up the new offensive system and how comfortable they can become running it.
The other big news to come out of day one of camp was the naming of three new captains. Not a big surprise that Joe Johnson and Al Horford were named as captains but the naming of Josh Smith most certainly raised some eyebrows. As a person that has been critical of Josh at times in the past it got my attention right away. However, as Beat Writer Michael Cunningham explains in his article this actually makes a lot of sense.
First and foremost this gives Josh more responsibility and all indications are that Coach Drew is going to hold players a lot more accountable for their actions and their play. This will be Smith's seventh season and it is sign from the coaching staff that they are ready for him to take the next step. That step in my opinion is one of leadership and accountability. Due to the NBA's recent rule change involving Technical Fouls, Josh is already going to have to make some changes in his on court demeanor. In all the move could be a gamble but it is a necessary gamble that perhaps will get Smith's attention.
On the injury front, Mo Evans is still recovering from off season knee surgery and is still probably a couple of weeks away from returning to the court. Hawks Second Round pick Pape Sy also sat out yesterday's practice with a sore back.