The first week of training camp is in the books for the Atlanta Hawks and the preseason opener is on tap for Monday night at Philips Arena. The team held its annual media day event this past Monday and now is as good a time as any to empty the notebook. A quick note before we get started. There was enough material to fill up its on article centered around the player's reaction to the situation surrounding GM Danny Ferry. Most players either offered their support or declined to answer the question when asked about the situation. I am going to keep this notebook about basketball and not the off the court stuff except for this quote from Kyle Korver which I believe sums up most his teammates thoughts well.
"I did not want to come to Atlanta when I got traded here," said Korver when asked about the controversy surrounding Ferry. "I thought the culture was bad. There is a lot of perceptions about the Hawks that are not good. True change starts at the center at its core. I really believe that Danny has done a good job of being GM with this team. He's done a really good job. Pieces are in place now that its not all about one person anymore. That means you have put together the right thing."
Media Day Notebook
- Paul Millsap said that he didn't focus on any particular area of his game during the offseason but instead worked on his overall game. He rather famously added the three-point shot to his offensive arsenal last season and converted on 36 percent of his attempts.
- DeMarre Carroll said that he has focused his efforts on his ball handling particularly in the pick and roll and continued to work on his three-point shot. Carroll saw regular minutes for the first time in his career last season and knocked down 36 percent of his three-point attempts. He was also complimentary of the addition of Thabo Sefolosha to the team and called him one of the best defensive players in the league.
- Kent Bazemore is still recovering from an offseason foot injury. He is expected to be ready to go by the regular season opener and he stressed that he sees himself as a defender first. He also thinks that he will fit into the Hawks' locker room well and said he was pulling for Atlanta to upset Indiana during the playoffs last season. Bazemore has that underdog mentality and was grateful to be entering his first camp with a guaranteed contract.
- Mike Muscala said he is trying to build off of what was a good summer. He's worked hard both on the court and in the weight room. He sounded confident and said he feels comfortable now after having to adjust from playing overseas to the NBA game.
- Al Horford was excited when the line of questioning turned to the prospects of this year's team. Horford said, "I have never been as excited about a team as I am now. We have something special here." He also said that he has adjusted the way he trains in the weight room after suffering his second torn pectoral muscle in the last three seasons. He's stopped doing heavy and intense weight lifting and is instead focusing on more body weight exercises. Said that the Hawks training staff had centered on his training program as a cause of the two injuries.
- Thabo Sefolosha comes in billed as a defender but sounded focused to contribute as an all around player. He also seemed focused on bouncing back from a disappointing end to last season with the Thunder. He made a point to say that he is a defender first but that he thought he could flourish in Mike Budehnolzer's system that emphasizes both ball and player movement.
- Kyle Korver talked about his stint with Team USA and said he thought it could help him going into training camp because it had him playing 5 on 5 basketball much earlier this offseason. Korver said that he normally does a lot of shooting during the summer but rarely gets to play 5 on 5. Said that he often times feels rusty when he gets to camp but playing with Team USA has him ahead of schedule.
- Dennis Schröder said that playing for the German National Team and qualifying for the 2015 Eurobasket were the highlights of his summer. Thinks he has improved as a player and a leader. Dennis a bit more chiseled in his physique and said that he was UP to 174 pounds heading into camp. He also said that he has to show that he can dunk this season because his player model in this year's NBA 2K game can't. Schröder wasn't shy when asked about his goals heading into camp where he said he wanted to back up starter Jeff Teague at the point guard position.
- Mike Scott said he was excited to play with his former AAU teammate Kent Bazemore. He also said that he spent his offseason doing a lot of perimeter work. He worked on his dribbling and ball handling as well as being able to guard smaller players. He didn't say as much but it sounded like he worked on a lot of the skills needed for him to seem more time at the small forward position.