First-year coach Mike Budenholzer and Hawks players were available to answer a variety of questions as training camp begins and the first game of the preseason is Monday, October 7 against the NBA champions -- the Miami Heat-- who are led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Budenholzer had been a longtime assistant with the San Antonio Spurs and had been a part of all four of the NBA championships, but he is a head coach for the first time.
In late May, the Hawks' general manager Danny Ferry, who was a part of the Spurs' organization for several years, made the decision to hire Budenholzer.
The first-year head coach said that he wants to prioritize defense.
"My coaching style, well, it starts with being good defensively. That's got to be a priority. We have to build the habits and we have to make that part of our identity. If we want to be good, we have to be good defensively." explains Budenholzer.
The Hawks will be without six-foot eight forward Josh Smith who had often clashed with previous Hawks coaches, Mike Woodson and most recently Larry Drew.
Smith, who signed a free-agent contract with Detroit during the offseason, was a terrific wing player in the open court, but struggled at times in half-court situations.
Additionally, Smith would take ill-advised long jumpers despite being told not to take those types of shots.
In the offseason, the Hawks acquired Paul Millsap from the Utah Jazz, a 6'8 forward who brings a more diverse offensive skillset than Josh Smith and is a tougher post defender.
Budenholzer also says that he envision his team to be an attacking team that is profcient at both ends-- offensively and defensively.
"... It starts with pace and playing with a high pace, ball movement, people movement, playing unselfish, organized and attacking. We want to be good or great on both ends, and I think the defensive end will lead into our offense. There's a cycle that's part of basketball. I want to be great on both ends and start with a defensive identity and have that carry over to our offense...."