The difference in available bodies for the Hawks during the playoffs was stark. On one end the guards were working, with more players in the mix than playing time to be dispensed. On the other end of the floor there was Al Horford, Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia and Solomon Jones -- comprising the Hawks' paper-thin frontcourt rotation without any margin for error."I think it's fair to say we were a little thin," Horford said.
That shouldn't be a problem in the future (and the Hawks might not be done procuring big man talent, per one source who insists they are still searching for perhaps one more big to add to the mix).
When you add Randolph Morris, Othello Hunter and a thicker Marvin Williams to that mix, it does appear that the Hawks will have a few more bodies to work with compared to what they had in the playoffs.
"I feel like Solo has improved a great deal over this summer," Horford said. "Josh has gotten a lot stronger and the addition of Randolph and Othello allows us to throw more bodies out there and gives us some serious depth."
The surprise of the group could be Hunter, a player whose name plenty of people are familiar with from his time at Ohio State but a player whose game his new teammates are just starting to fully understand.
"We played his team in high school when I was at Oak Hill and we blew 'em out by 30, but we did that to a lot of people," Smith said and then laughed. "So I didn't realize it before but I've actually gone against him before. He was a good player then but as you might expect, he's so much better now. He has that good touch around the basket, he's got good hands, and he has a face up game, too. And he plays a lot bigger than he is, which is basically the standard for all of us."
Horford faced off against Hunter in college, when he was starting for Florida and Hunter was backing up Greg Oden at Ohio State.
"It's different for guys in Othello's case, like my case, when you come from winning programs. It's all about the team concept so you can't always show what you can do individually," Horford said. "I know that was the case for me at Florida. I could always do more than I showed, but you play a role and sacrifice shooting face up jumpers for the good of the team and for the ultimate goal, which is winning. And I wouldn't have it any other way. But when you get to this level you get to open up your game a bit more and I think we'll see the same thing from Othello. He's got pretty good hands and I suspect he'll really open some eyes in (training) camp."
The added bodies means increased competition and a mood heading into training camp that no one will be allowed to rest on what they've done in the past.
"My rookie year we had some guys but we had injuries and then last year we had trades that moved some guys out," Jones said. "Right now we're back up to where you figure a frontcourt needs to be. And I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a (heck) of a training camp and honestly, I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait for it to get started."