Talk to any Atlanta Hawks player or coach and the word "Culture" or "Competitor" will usually come up. New Head Coach Mike Budenholzer used both phrases more than once in his introductory question and answer session at Atlanta Hawks media day on Monday. Budenholzer was complimentary of his players saying that the communication over the summer had been good and said their the team's basketball IQ was currently its biggest strength.
There was lots of talk among the media and the players of the new system and playing the game the right way. More than once players talked about sharing the basketball and playing defense. Coach Budenholzer was quick to point out that the team's identity starts on the defensive end but he wants a free flowing offense. He also thinks that players like Jeff Teague and rookie Dennis Schröder fit well with what he wants to do offensively. I will have more about what Coach Budenholzer had to say in the next few days.
Here are some more tidbits from media day:
- Quote of the day in my opinion came from Kyle Korver: "If you are a basketball purest then you are going to like to watch us play." Summed up perfectly a lot of the talk I heard about ball and player movement in the new system.
- Jeff Teague talked about improving his conditioning because the new offense requires much more movement. He pointed to the way the Spurs often run Tony Parker off of a series of screens before putting him in a pick and roll situation. You can look for something similar with Teague.
- Budenholzer said that there was still no timetable for Lou Williams' return to the court in a full capacity. He did say that Williams would take part in some basketball related activities at training camp on Tuesday.
- Lou didn't offer any further insight saying that the process was essentially day-to-day. He did offer up that he didn't think that any of his remaining hurdles were mental.