NBA Sunday: Hawks Searching For Small Forward
The Atlanta Hawks will enter the 2012-13 campaign without the services of veteran forward Marvin Williams manning the wing. Williams, the team’s full-time starter at small forward since the 2007 season, was dealt to the Utah Jazz this past summer for former All-Star guard Devin Harris leaving the Hawks with little depth at the three spot.
Entering training camp there were four guys looking to earn minutes in head coach Larry Drew’s rotation on the wing. The candidates were James Anderson and Damion James, both 2010 first round picks who have yet to consistently crack a rotation since entering the league. Then there’s Kyle Korver, a veteran three-point marksmen and lastly Anthony Tolliver, a natural power forward, who found some success playing the wing last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Each player recently weighed in on what they bring to the table. Let’s get to know the candidates.
Career: 9.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 41% 3PT, 1,134 career three-pointers
Other Notes: No. 51 overall pick of the 2003 draft, entering tenth season
The early report indicates Korver will be the team’s opening night starter at small forward. Korver has the most experience of all the candidates with over 650 career games played over his first nine seasons in the league.
Korver has been mostly shooting guard over the past few seasons but says he has no problems filling the wing void in Atlanta.
“We don’t have a lot of size on the wing this year,” Korver told HOOPSWORLD. “I think I’ll probably be playing mostly small forward this year, which is fine. I like playing physical, banging and boxing out. I’m looking forward to it.”
Career: 6.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 33 career starts
Other Notes: Undrafted, entering fifth season
Tolliver started his career playing mostly power forward but was switched to the wing in Minnesota last season by head coach Rick Adelman so he can get more minutes. Tolliver says he’s fully comfortable making the switch full-time.
“That’s all I played last year was small forward,” Tolliver told HOOPSWORLD. “With the Timberwolves we kind of had a logjam at power forward and needed some minutes at the three, so Adelman put me at three quite a bit. I didn’t have a greatly productive year last year but it was a new position and I am lot more confident going into this year.”
Tolliver was signed by the Hawks right before the start of training camp and had offers from a few teams on the table, but the forward admitted the departure of Marvin Williams played a role in his decision to choose Atlanta.
“I think Marvin is a really good player and he filled a role here; a role I plan on filling,” Tolliver said. “He’s a little more of an athlete guy and I’m a little more of a shooter so there’s some gives and takes. Big shoes to fill but I think with the combination of guys they brought in, including myself, I think we have a good chance to fill that role.”
Career: 3.7 points, 1.3 rebounds, 38% FG, 77 career games
Other Notes: No. 20 overall pick 2010 draft
Anderson was drafted in the latter stages of the first round in the 2010 draft by the San Antonio Spurs who have routinely found value in those slots over the years. However, Anderson was unable to find a consistent groove in San Antonio and is now looking make the Hawks’ roster (contract isn’t fully guaranteed).
“I know that they’re looking for a small forward that can fulfill the spot Marvin Williams had when he was here,” Anderson said. “It’s another opportunity for me. I had chances in San Antonio and this is another one. I’m blessed to have another opportunity and I’m trying to take advantage of it.”
While the situation with the Spurs didn’t work out as envisioned, Anderson says the knowledge he gained learning under the team’s veterans couldn’t be underestimated.
“I learned a lot from watching those veteran guys,” Anderson told HOOPSWORLD. “Tim [Duncan], Manu [Ginobili], and TP [Tony Parker] all are great leaders and great professionals. Being around that whole organization it helped out a lot.”
Career: 4.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 43% FG, 32 career games
Other Notes: No. 24 overall pick 2010 draft
James was actually drafted by the Hawks back in 2010 but was quickly dealt to Brooklyn in a draft night trade. The athletic wing entered training camp with a non-guaranteed deal and clearly motivated to prove to the organization he can become a viable member of the rotation.
“Everything happens for a reason,” James said on the draft night trade. “I was happy when I was drafted here because of the style they played but when I got traded I was kind of disappointed. But I’m definitely happy to be back here.”
James said he will bring defensive toughness to a unit which features elite level shooters.
“I’m going to make it tough on those guys to get their shots off,” James said. “I know we have a lot of spot shooters and catch and shoot guys but not many slashers who can get to the basket and create baskets for those guys so I look forward to coming in and contributing that way.”
David Lee Key To Golden State Warriors’ Playoff Berth?
Preseason is a time when all teams have high hopes for the upcoming season. Some will end up underachieving and other will overachieve and far exceeding expectations. One of the team’s most will be watching to see if it all comes together will be the Golden State Warriors. A
On paper, the Warriors have the talent to compete for a Western Conference playoff spot but the question is can the team put it all together on the floor. Most of the attention for the Warriors is surrounding the health of center Andrew Bogut or whether the team will extend guard Stephen Curry, but former All-Star forward David Lee may be the lynchpin to the club’s hopes of reaching the postseason.
Lee, who established himself as a 20/10 (points and rebounds) threat, says he has to take his game to the next level for the club to succeed but not just in the nightly box score.
“I’ve got another level I can reach,” Lee told Marcus Thompson of the Contra Costa Times. “But it’s not necessarily from a numbers standpoint. “I know when the season starts I’m going to make my presence felt. I’m not worried about that. The days of me being worried about going out there and getting 30 and 15 are over. I can do that. I’ve proven I can do that. It’s a matter of finding a way to do it in a team concept to win.”
The Warriors finished the 2012 campaign 23-43, missing the playoffs for the fifth straight season.