Better Know an Opponent: Hawks Edition

Kevin C. Cox

A Question & Answer session with Peach Tree Hoops manager Kris Willis

In what will hopefully become a regular feature here on Mavs Moneyball, I had the chance to interview Peach Tree Hoops manager Kris Willis about his team, the Atlanta Hawks.

1) What's the projected starting line up tomorrow night?

Larry Drew has used a different starting lineup in each of the Hawks' preseason games. However, on Thursday he started Jeff Teague and Devin Harris at guard positions, DeShawn Stevenson at small forward with Josh Smith and Al Horford at the power forward and center positions. There is a strong possibility that Teague, Harris, Smith and Horford will be starters this season but the small forward position still is not settled.

2) Tell me about the new additions to the Hawks and what you expect from those who will get minutes?

Lou Williams is the single biggest addition the Hawks made and there is a good chance that he ends up leading the team in scoring on a lot of nights. Williams is expected to come off the bench and will likely be a candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award with how he will be used across both guard spots.

Devin Harris also figures to start and will play significant minutes. Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson are also new faces that are competing for playing time and a starting position at small forward.

3) How is Al Hortford looking?

Horford has looked like his old self this preseason and most importantly looks healthy. With Joe Johnson gone, Horford becomes even more important to the Hawks.

4) What are expectations for Jeff Teague as he heads into the final year of his rookie contract?

The Hawks haven't talked about it but this could be a make it or break it season for Jeff Teague given the team's salary situation. Atlanta will be able to virtually clear the books next season and Teague needs to show that he is an important part of the team's long-term future. If he does, then re-signing him will be a priority going into the offseason. If not, then the Hawks will be looking to spend some of that cap room on an answer for the point guard position.

5) How have you prepared yourself and your fanbase for the DeShawn Stevenson Experience?

Good question. Honestly not much was said about Stevenson when the Joe Johnson trade was announced but it is now clear that he will play a much bigger role for the Hawks this season than was first anticipated. A full season with Stevenson on the team along with Ivan Johnson should keep things interesting to say the least.

6) What are the goals for the Hawks in 2012-2013?

Many are predicting a step backwards for the Hawks this season but you will have a hard time getting anyone on or associated with the team to admit that. There are questions surrounding this team defensively but they may in fact find themselves to be a much more efficient offensive club. It feels strange saying so but I feel that the goal this season is to maintain their success from the last five seasons. Which is a 4-6 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Mavericks vs. Hawks game is on Saturday night at 6:00 pm central time.

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