Larry Drew,The Atlanta Hawks, and The Art of the Motion Offense

By krisgordon

[poll id=”3″]May 10, 2010 - Atlanta, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES - epa02151806 Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (L) guards Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson in the second half of Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal round NBA playoff basketball game at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on 10 May 2010. The Magic defeated the Hawks 98-84 to win the series 4-0.
Larry Drew is starting this year off the right foot, by changing the offense scheme to the Motion Offense.  Last year, it was too much one on one that was costly in time of possession and rhythm, as the Hawks relied on their skills & athleticism.  For those who are not familiar with the offense, it is a continuous pass and screen away from the ball, to free up offensive weapons; catching lazy defenders napping.  There are many ways to score in the motion offense, backdoor, in the post, and the scheme can also free up jump shooters. What is really interesting is, this offense is mostly used by high school, and collegiate teams who do not have the talented players.  I haven’t seen it used in the Pros that often, and would be fun to see how defenses react to it.  [Lester] Conner tells Hoops Opinion, “It’s very difficult to guard.” “You have to be precise in your defensive schemes. You can be beat at any spot on the floor at any time. NBA teams don’t like to guard a lot of movement and screens.” This is a complete change from last years two man game, and a lot of ball dominating one on one play.  Although, the Motion Offense does not add to the athleticism the Hawks have, it allows all the players to be involved with the offense.  What I find interesting is moving Josh Smith to the three position.  That means Smith is going to be more then just an athletic forward, he is going to be used more in the offense on the perimeter.  Larry Drew must have a lot of faith in Josh Smith outside developing telling Hoop Onion “He [Smith] certainly will be able to play some 3. At the same time, he can be a tough match up at the 3 as well. You play him at some 3, there is a high probability he is bigger than that three man, stronger than that three man.”

What I like about this change is since the Hawks did not pick up a prolific scorer, or a huge big man inside in the off=season, the Hawks are going to make one.  Smith certainly has the assets and length to be used effectively in this scheme.  In the Motion Offense, Smith will be able to get free off the screens that are set, and be able to use his size to score on smaller opponets.  Also in the Motion Offense, there are plenty of ways to get the ball to Smith, Bibby, Johnson, Crawford I & II, and feed down low to Al Horford. Whether its curling to the free-throw line, Crawford cutting back door, Johnson attacking on the weakside with good ball reversal, or Horford in the Low Post with a pin down off a screen. The Hawks new look will be great for the tea

Teams are going to have to adjust to the Hawks, and the Hawks have the weapons to execute.

My only concern is defense, as the cliché goes defense wins championships.  Let’s hope Larry Drew will get the Hawks to play tougher, something that was clearly lacking in the play-offs.  However, the Hawk players are excited about the offense, and it’s a new clean slate for the new season.  With a new coach, new scheme, look for the Hawks to put up big numbers next year.

Example of Motion Offense<

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