Heading into media day Monday and the beginning of training camp Tuesday, Pierce is still taking stock of the roster after experiencing so much turnover, and still getting to know names and personalities of players.
But one thing he knows upfront is how consistency and effort will pave the way, if the Hawks are to improve on defense this season.
“Consistency is a keyword, and we’ll use that, and the approach is important for all our guys,” Pierce said. “I don’t want any of our guys thinking we’ve accomplished anything just yet. And so yes, defense is at the forefront of this training camp, but we have to maintain the same mentality we went into last year with. It’s easy for any young player offensively to buy in and to play at the effort they want. We have a lot of versatile and skilled offensive players. But for us, to make any steps, it’s going to be on the defensive end, and it’s definitely going to be with our effort on both sides of the basketball.”
With so many young players, the team will spend a lot of time in the film room during camp, per Pierce, treating the mental adjustment just as important as the physical adjustment.
And with such a young team, Pierce knows that each little part of the game, no matter how seemingly small, matters.
“The biggest thing we need to understand is the margin for error is very slim, when you have a young team,” Pierce said. “We’re learning. Nine guys we have to integrate.”