Five things to watch at Hawks training camp

0

Five things to watch at Hawks training camp

View CaptionHide Caption
Henry P. Taylor/Henry Taylor / AJC
Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer. (HENRY TAYLOR / HENRY.TAYLOR@AJC.COM)

The Hawks are set to open a three-day training camp Tuesday at the Coliseum Training Facility on the University of Georgia campus. The Hawks will practice twice Tuesday and Wednesday and once Wednesday. All sessions are closed to the public. 

As of Thursday, the Hawks have 19 players signed for training camp. Here are five things to watch: 

1. New beginnings 

New Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk revamped the roster during his first few weeks on the job. Four players who started at least 30 games last season are gone, including All-Star forward Paul Millsap and center Dwight Howard, and three other major contributors also departed. The Hawks filled roster holes with veterans on short-term contracts as Schlenk focuses on maintaining salary-cap flexibility for future moves. 

2. Shuffling starters 

All that roster turnover means that coach Mike Budenholzer will have to find three starters to play alongside holdover guards Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore. Taurean Prince presumably will start at small forward after he was in the lineup for the final 10 games and the playoffs last season. But Budenholzer has a few legitimate candidates to fill the two front-court positions. 

3. Youth movement

For the first time in his five seasons as Hawks coach, Budenholzer’s team will begin the season with low expectations. The coach showed a willingness to play Prince in a major role late in his rookie season. With the Hawks rebuilding, it will be interesting to see if he does the same from the start with this year’s first-round draft pick, forward John Collins. 

4. Schroder’s time 

The Hawks traded Jeff Teague after the 2015-16 season and elevated Schroder to lead point guard. Schroder, a Hawks first-round draft picks in 2013, responded with his best career season and established himself as a starting-caliber player. Now he’s probably the best player on the roster and has logged the most games with the Hawks (285), meaning his leadership is needed more than ever. 

5. Points taken 

The Hawks finished sixth or better in defensive efficiency for three of Budenholzer’s four seasons, but ranked better than 18th in offensive efficiency just once (sixth in 2014-15 season). The Hawks finished 27th in offensive efficiency last season, parted ways with three of their top offensive players (Millsap, Howard, and Tim Hardaway Jr.) and will replace them with less-accomplished scorers. If the Hawks hope to score, Budenholzer will have to rediscover the “space-and-pace” offense that worked for the 2014-15 team.

KEY HAWKS DATES

Tuesday: Three-day training camp begins at University of Georgia.

Oct. 1: First exhibition game (at Heat).

Oct. 9: First home exhibition game (vs. Grizzlies at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion).

Oct. 18: Season opener (at Mavericks).

Oct. 27: Home opener (vs. Nuggets at Philips Arena)

View Comments 0

Weather and Traffic