Atlanta Hawks Blog

A blog about Atlanta’s NBA franchise, from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hawks practice report: Budenholzer 'open' to 11-man rotation

The Hawks want to play at a faster pace. They want to create more fast-break chances. They want to be an aggressive, scrappy defensive team.

It will not be easy for the Hawks to do those things over 82 games. But it would help if coach Mike Budenholzer can go deeper into his bench, and that’s his plan.

“Ten (players) has kind of been our number quite often,” Budenholzer said. “The old NBA it used to be nine or eight. Some teams or coaches are still eight or nine. We’ve probably been at 10. I would say we are open to adding an 11th guy to the rotation. There (are), I think, guys that have earned opportunities, earned chances to play. Sometimes you settle in after ‘X’ number of games. But throwing an 11th guy into the mix may be something we consider or we do.”

It appears Budenholzer’s top 10 includes starters Dennis Schroder, Kent Bazemore, Taurean Prince, Ersan Ilysasova, Dewayne Dedmon plus Malcolm Delaney, Marco Belinelli, DeAndre’ Bembry, John Collins and Mike Muscala. Candidates for the 11th man are Luke Babbit, Tyler Dorsey, Nicolas Brussino and Josh Magette.

Giving consistent minutes to Dorsey or Brussino could help the Hawks with their dual tracks of competing now and developing their young players . The Hawks can use all the shooting they can get and Dorsey and Brussino are NBA prospects in large part because of their potential as shooters. It would make sense to run them out and see if they can do it.

Belinelli probable

Hawks guard Marco Belinelli (Achilles) appears in the clear to be available for Wednesday’s season opener at Dallas. Belinelli participated in Saturday’s scrimmage and today’s practice. He missed the last four exhibition games but was running full-speed shooting drills in practice last week.

“You always want to see how they respond to a practice and some scrimmage and live,” Budenholzer said. “He responded well to playing in the scrimmage on Saturday and he went again today. Hopefully he will just continue to trend upward and be ready for Wednesday. I think he’s always been confident of that and we have, too, so not really surprised.”

Talking about practice

Budenholzer on how this preseason compares to others after the roster turnover:

“I would say, especially if you are looking at more recent training camps and preseasons, I would say a lot more practice, more time on the court, more scrimmaging, more contact. It maybe felt more like that first year or the first training camp when there is a lot to learn, a lot to do. Whether you are a veteran player or new player you are learning new things.

“Some things in the film room but I think, right now, we are probably more (about) doing it and practicing. But we will balance out the film and practice for the games now as we start the season.”


Here's Collins working on his jump shot after practice today. The motion is a bit unorthodox but looks like he's able to repeat it.




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About the Author

Michael Cunningham has covered the Hawks and other beats for the AJC since 2010.