2012 NBA Preseason: Hawks to tighten rotation over final exhibition games

Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Larry Drew indicated on Wednesday that the Hawks would likely tighten the starting lineup and the rotation in preparation for the season opener on November 2.

Preseason practice continued for the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday as the team held a light workout in advance of Thursday's preseason matchup against the New Orleans Hornets. The Hawks have lost three straight preseason games but as Drew indicated on Wednesday, that isn't as much of a concern for the team right now.

"No, there are no issues there. Going into the preseason my main objective was to put a lot of different combinations on the floor to see what I have. When you have that many new faces in a training camp, there is a lot of learning, there is a lot of teaching, that has to be done. Therefore, the games are going to have to be used as learning experiences for us. Basically, going into these preseason games, I knew that's what I had to use them for."

So while Drew isn't concerned with the team's preseason record, he will however start to tighten his starting unit and rotation over the final three preseason games.

As I said, as we move further down the road we'll start putting together a more realistic combination of players out on the floor and I'll get more of a feel of the combinations of players that I will be using."

Atlanta had so many new faces this season it was necessary for Drew and the coaching staff to get as many looks at as many different combinations as possible. However, it is equally important given the team's shift in philosophy offensively to give the key players opportunities to gel in game like conditions. It looks like the Hawks are ready to move into that phase.

It is still unclear what the regular starting lineup might look like come opening night but it does sound like Drew is happy with what he saw on Tuesday with Jeff Teague and Devin Harris paired in the backcourt.

"I love the fact that both guys can really break the defense down. They can get in the paint and cause havoc. Last night I put them both back in again in the fourth quarter, about the half-way mark, and they created some great opportunities for us. We just weren't able to knock down some shots toward the end."

What is still unclear is who might be in the picture at small forward. Kyle Korver will most certainly get minutes at forward but DeShawn Stevenson hasn't played since the first preseason game and only spent a few minutes at the small forward position against the Heat. Damion James has impressed with his opportunities while Anthony Morrow has had a suspect preseason thus far. Only James and Korver are close to the size of typical small forwards but Stevenson has played the position in the past.

There are still plenty of questions that have yet to be answered.

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