The Atlanta Hawks continue to reshape their organization this offseason, most recently making some additions to the front office and coaching staff. Former GM Rick Sund has been brought back as the Senior Advisor of Basketball Operations. Sund, who served as GM for the past four years, was replaced by Danny Ferry earlier in the summer. Kenny Atkinson and Bob Weiss have been added as assistant coaches on Larry Drew’s staff. Atkinson’s most recent coaching stop was as an assistant for the Knicks over the past four seasons while Weiss, who was head coach of the Hawks from 1990-93, most recently coached in the Chinese Basketball Association.
The Hawks will open their preseason schedule at home on Oct. 7 against the defending champs, the Miami Heat. They play three road preseason games against San Antonio (Oct. 10), Memphis (Oct. 14) and Indiana (Oct. 16) before returning to Philips Arena to face the Hornets (Oct. 18) and the Mavericks (Oct. 20). Their final preseason game will be at Detroit (Oct. 26) before they open their regular season at home on Nov.2 against the Rockets. The Hawks have a difficult schedule for the preseason, facing the last two NBA champions in the Heat and the Mavericks, along with three other playoff teams from last season.
These tune-ups, combined with training camp, will be vital for the new-look Hawks to build chemistry and confidence heading into the regular season. With so many new faces playing major roles for this team, most notably Devin Harris, Lou Williams and John Jenkins, the Hawks will be one of the teams most anxious to get their players out on the court against NBA competition in order to get comfortable with one another on the floor. This year’s squad will be predicated on ball movement and making timely passes moreso than in any year during the Joe Johnson era, so familiarity and team chemistry will be extremely important for the Hawks.
While most around the Hawks are excited to see Iso-Joe no longer an option, it will mean some growing pains as this team transitions into a more conventional pick-and-roll offense. The preseason will be the first opportunity to see which combinations work best on the floor together, and who will be the primary options without Johnson.