Like so many teams, the Atlanta Hawks are hoping to play faster, keep the ball moving and create space.
But unlike so many teams, their new general manager, Travis Schlenk, has seen it work. After all, Schlenk comes from the Golden State Warriors, who have seen that system work to perfection in winning two of the past three NBA titles.
In order to play faster, though, you need to practice harder, according to Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer.
“Part of it is we are a little bit younger but (also) to build up our conditioning, to build up our habits the way we want to play,” Budenholzer told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“We mentioned yesterday playing with even greater pace. I don’t think that is going to come just by talking about it. We are going to have to practice it, drive the ball, playing with the pass, all those things. We are just going to have to practice harder. I think it is going to lead to us executing, competing. And that’s what it is going to take for us this year.”
Point guard Dennis Schroeder is considered the Hawks’ top returnee, and the good news is, he has always been a blur with the ball. Now, the key players around him (Kent Bazemore, Marco Belinelli, and so on) will be counted on to hit perimeter shots and keep things moving.
“We definitely we want to play with more space,” Budenholzer said. “I think with the guys we have there is going to be more pace on the court for guys to drive and attack. We have always wanted to play fast. I think last year we were 10th in possessions per game. We’ve always been a team that emphasizes (pace), but can we take it to that next level and maybe push the pace even more?”