ATLANTA (AP) — Larry Drew smiled Wednesday as he talked about the fun he has had with his coaching staff drawing up different lineup combinations for the Atlanta Hawks.
Drew's long list of newcomers includes Anthony Morrow, Lou Williams, Devin Harris, Kyle Korver, DeShawn Stevenson and rookie John Jenkins.
That makes for a lot of combinations.
All Drew knows for sure is it will take a combination of those players to replace Joe Johnson, a six-time All-Star.
The Hawks traded Johnson, who averaged more than 20 points in five of his seven seasons in Atlanta, to the Brooklyn Nets in July for five players and a draft pick.
When healthy, Johnson was a lock as the starting shooting guard. Now Drew has to figure out who will join three returning starters — center Al Horford, forward Josh Smith and point guard Jeff Teague — in the new-look lineup.
"Every morning before we come out on the floor, my staff and I meet and we talk about the different combinations," Drew said. "That was one thing we wanted to do in training camp, throw out a lot of different combinations to get a good feel for some of these guys and how they play with others."
First-year general manager Danny Ferry also traded small forward Marvin Williams to the Jazz for Harris.
The Hawks could be much smaller — and quicker — if Drew replaces Johnson and Marvin Williams with a three-guard lineup.
Teague said he's expecting to play at times with another point guard, Harris or Lou Williams. Teague said the Celtics had success last season playing small but quick guards Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley together.
"That was the whole idea, having me and Devin out there on the floor or me and Lou," Teague said. "That's a tough combination, kind of like Rondo and Bradley last year. They had two guys able to pick up guys full-court and cause havoc. I think we can do the same thing."
It's no surprise Teague referred to the defensive implications of a small lineup. Drew has made an impression on his newcomers early in training camp that defense comes first.
"I've never done so much defensively off the bat in training camp in my career," said Morrow, who played the last two years with the Nets after two seasons with Golden State.