Atlanta Hawks Get New Coach, Promote From Within in Larry Drew

John Boller@jboll0327Correspondent IJune 12, 2010

The Atlanta Hawks have their new man and they didn’t have to search too far.

Mike Woodson’s former assistant coach 52-year old Larry Drew will take over and be the next head coach of the Atlanta Hawks.

Drew was able to beat out potential candidates Dwane Casey and Mark Jackson. The Hawks also looked at Avery Johnson, but moved on once it was announced that Johnson and the Nets reached a verbal agreement.

So, then that left us with Casey, Jackson, and Drew.

Drew is no doubt qualified. He has been an assistant head coach for 14 years in the NBA. He worked for the Lakers, Pistons, Wizards, and Nets before coming to Atlanta to work under Woodson in 2004.

Drew also played in 714 games in his ten seasons as a player in the NBA from 1980-91.

The Hawks are confident that Drew will bring a new leadership style to the team and help the Hawks get to the next step, something that Woodson could not do. Atlanta also likes they are promoting within.

Since Drew has been with the team since 2004 he is familiar with the team’s strength and weaknesses.

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One of the issues that management had with Woodson was how he handled certain players differently from others. Also, his constant relying on running an offense that featured isolation with Joe Johnson had run its course in Atlanta.

Drew does inherit a team that won 53 games this season, but Johnson is a free agent and most assume that he is on his way.

The Hawks do have money spend. Since Drew is getting his first crack at being a head coach his price tag is pretty cheap. This gives Atlanta a great chance to try and lure one of the many valuable other free agents to be.

I understand management’s thinking by hiring Drew. This shows that the organization realizes that, even without Johnson, Atlanta still has a solid core that has led and can continue to lead the team into being an elite one in the NBA.

If Johnson does stay, then it will be a chance for both him and the team to expand their games. Drew cannot slip into Woodson’s habits of letting Joe go isolation and waste the athletic abilities of Al Horford, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford.

However, if Johnson does leave, the Hawks must get another scorer and someone that is able to make a smooth transition into the offense.

Because Drew has been with the team since 2004, I expect him to be able to help management in picking the right player.

Management got rid of Woodson because he couldn’t take the Hawks any further than the second round. Drew was apart of that failure, making me wonder just how long his leash will be.

If the Hawks don’t do any better than a one-and-down in the playoffs, or if they do worse then what happens next?

I really don’t want to see the Hawks start the coaching carousel again. But we can’t really know anything about many things in the NBA until the draft and free agent period are over.

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