The fact the Hawks are starting camp with everyone healthy is a plus for a team that’s looking to build off last year’s 41-41 finish, per Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I really feel that having everybody healthy, ready to go with the energy, with the new concepts that we have offensively, defensively has been really great,” center Clint Capela said, via Williams. “Energy was there on offense and defense, a lot of intensity. So I like it. It’s fun.”
- The Hawks will need to find a replacement to start at power forward after trading John Collins to the Jazz this offseason, wrote Wes Morton of Peachtree Hoops. De’Andre Hunter and Saddiq Bey are undoubtedly among the candidates. And whichever doesn’t start at power forward likely will at small forward.
- GM Landry Fields also offered high praise for third-year power forward Jalen Johnson. “The progression of Jalen, especially defensively in the last season, really gave us a lot of hope this year where it’s like, ‘OK, can you put him into the more four lineups whether he’s starting or not and add in some of those elements defensively as well as his playmaking ability,” Fields told reporters. “We’re excited for his growth this year.”
And Stewart may have the inside track on the starting power forward role because of it.
“It’s his character, it’s his toughness, but more importantly he works, and guys respect work,” Williams told reporters. “In this culture, when you walk into this gym and you’re not working, you stand out. And he leads it. He and (Jalen Duren) have led the charge. Those guys are on the floor every day together getting sweat equity in, and it sends a message to the team.”
- Meanwhile, the primary backup big man role will go to either Marvin Bagley or James Wiseman — a couple of former No. 2 overall draft picks. “It’s a work in progress right now to figure out which one of those guys is going to step up and be the, more than likely, the backup big,” Williams told reporters.
Minus the injured Lonzo Ball, the Bulls’ starting point guard job appears to be up for grabs. Candidates include Coby White, Jevon Carter and Ayo Dosunmu, who spoke to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago about the role.
“Ultimately, I think that competition is going to help our team in the long run,” Dosunmu told Johnson. “We go at each other and try to kill each other in practice. When we’re on the court together, it’s going to make our team much more smooth. Me going into my third year and our core group being together pretty much the same time, it’s getting time for us to turn the corner.”
- Veteran addition Torrey Craig is expected to add an edge to the Bulls’ frontcourt. “A little bit of toughness,” Craig told reporters of his role. “A little bit of an edge for guys with raw emotion to say how they feel and wear those emotions on their sleeve.’”