Larry Drew is frustrated with his listless Hawks

Kelly Dwyer



I'm hardly the person to listen to when it comes to chiding people away from late nights, too many libations and sensations, or some unholy combination of the three.

But Hawks coach Larry Drew is! So let's let him (via the spot-on Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk) rant a bit about why his Atlanta Hawks seemed a little, um, less than focused on Monday night.

"I'm disappointed that we are not playing with a hunger. We're looking to point fingers. We're playing the blame game. But more importantly, our energy level is not good at all, it's just not good. We're not doing things quick, we're not doing things with speed, we're not doing things with urgency. I said this after the Milwaukee game, we play like we're coming off a back-to-back-to-back.

"I told the guys I don't know what you're doing the night before we play. I don't know what you're doing away from the floor. I don't know what it is, but something is going on that is not allowing us to play this game with an energy and a passion we should be playing with. As a head coach I've got to figure out what it is....

"I've got to find out what that is, I've got to find out what is going on with our players. I've got to find out what they are doing the night before we play. Because this is not the first time this has happened, this is actually the third game."

Hmm. There are a couple things we should bring up.

One, if players are going out, it doesn't mean that at some point they have their mouths at the bottom end of a vodka flue, with a group of onlookers cheering every gulp. A good majority of NBA players go out just to go out, sit in the background and sip one vodka/cranberry that they didn't pay/tip for, and wait for possible companionship to come along. I'm not going to tell you that nobody is getting blotto, but these guys aren't exactly pulling Shane McGowan trips to their local, either.

Also, if players can't get right by a 7 p.m. tip-off, then there might be something else at play. And it may have less to do with imbibing and more to do with lack of sleep. The last thing I want to do is support a Hawks team that has absolutely given up, as a rule, when things don't go their way over the last three years, but there is also a movement to do away with the 40-year-old idea of having a shootaround the day of games.

Invented by Bill Sharman, it was a way to keep Wilt Chamberlain from sleeping all day (no joke), but it's time may have passed. It might not be the smartest move to expect players to work under 9-to-5 hours (most shootarounds take place around 10 or 11 in the morning) when they're also expected to be at the absolute top of their game some 12 hours later. Think about what that does to a body, or a mind. As someone who is up writing about hoops at that morning hour, but also having to take notes and pay rapt attention to games 12-plus hours later, I can relate. Although I do tip very well. And don't drink vodka/cranberries.

The Hawks have gone 2-6 after starting the season 6-0, and they were incredibly embarrassing to watch Monday night. So all suggestions are welcomed, including this one.

The entire, defeated talk from Monday night is well worth your time. Thanks again to Kurt Helin for transcribing Drew's postgame interview.