The line used to be short enough that Hawks center Zaza Pachulia could get as many reps as he'd like in practice.
But patience is needed now with all the extra bodies the Hawks have in the frontcourt mix for training camp.
Joe Smith, Jason Collins, Courtney Sims and Garret Siler have joined Pachulia and fellow returnees Josh Smith, Al Horford, Randolph Morris and Othello Hunter.
The traffic jams at the front of the line for drills are a welcome sight for Pachulia, who is particularly fond of Joe Smith after having played with him for one season in Milwaukee.
"It's beautiful having so many guys out here like this," Pachulia said. "I've been around here for a long time, so to see it like this puts a smile on my face. I feel like a young guy again with veterans like Joe and Jason Collins on the team. And I can't stress how important it is for guys like Al and Josh to listen to what Joe has to say, because he's seen so much on and off the court."
Pachulia said he learned so much from Smith during their time together in Milwaukee, mostly how to be a pro and how to use every opportunity, be it in practice or elsewhere, to get better.
"He just has so much knowledge about how to play the game," Pachulia said. "Fifteen years is a long time to be in the league. That tells you that he's done the right things for a long, long time."
Monitoring the minutes
Hawks coach Mike Woodson has already alerted Joe Johnson that he won't have to worry about logging the monster minutes he has in previous seasons. Johnson topped 40 minutes per game in his first three years with the Hawks and last season finished second in the league to Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala at 39.5 (a total of 3,124).
Convincing the Hawks' competitive captain and All-Star to sit, however, won't be easy.
"When I'm out there, I don’t want to come out," Johnson said. "I just pay the price later. In the heat of the battle, I don't ever want to come out."
That's why Johnson cringes every time he hears complaints about Woodson playing him too much.
"I can't put a lot of that on coach," he said. "You have to put it on me, because even when he asks me if I want a break or if I'm tired, I always say no. Even if I'm tired and I can't breathe, I still tell him no. That's not me being selfish. I'm just a competitor to the point that I feel like I can really do something to help my team win."
First scrimmage Friday
Woodson said he won't put the team through a full scrimmage until after the third full practice day, which means Friday will be the first opportunity for a full-scale scrimmage.
"We've got a schedule," he said after Wednesday's practice, "and I plan on sticking to it."
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