Law talked more about the elation of buying his mom and dad homes in Atlanta ("A dream come true. First thing I did was buy my mom a car). He compares himself as a mix between Sam Cassell and a smaller Chauney Billups, and had a slight look of disgust when asked about his "knock": that he was more Jason Terry than Jason Kidd (in terms of position, not skill).
"Critics never bother me. I play the game. At A&M, I was called on to score. So people judge me off that, but I can play and that's why the Atlanta Hawks took me with the 11th pick."
On the Hawks struggles over the years: "I am here to define my own legacy. I can't define nothing that I wasn't apart of.
I really can't put that pressure on me because I haven't been through it. It really doesn't matter to me. I have to define my own legacy. They can't judge me off of what happened from 1999- 2007. I care nothing about that. Whatever happened before I got here matters nothing to me."
On Summer League: "I played a lot better than I thought I would. Don't get me wrong, I always expect to play well but I played better than I expected. That just basically gives me that much more confidence heading into training camp."
His model for success in the NBA is Bill Russell, a guy not known for his lack of championships.
Other rumblings and observations from the Arena:
-Smith feels like he was jobbed in the All-NBA Defensive voting last season: "I definitely should have gotten more love and been on the team." He also said that his dribbling and shooting have vastly improved; but he still considers himself a power forward ("I want to be a different breed...I chose to work with a (Hall of Fame point guard Calvin Murphy) this summer to improve my shooting and dribbling and footwork, but this still doesn't change my mindset. I still plan on being on the inside.")
-Speedy said he is as mobile as he has ever been. On the scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, he is about "an 8." He also feels that he is All-NBA Defensive worthy when he is healthy, but the voting is politics. "Bruce Bowen is the best on-the-ball defender in the league and has been for years, but he has never won a defensive player of the year award."
-Salim Stoudamire looked as jovial as ever.
-So did Marvin Williams.
-The lack of an inside enforcer was due to lack of depth of big men, said Shelden Williams. With the added depth, Williams claimed that he could now be that enforcer.
-Solomon Jones stated he wanted to be among the top leaders in the league in blocked shots this season.
-Bob Rathbun told me an interesting point. "When was the last time the Hawks have had a penetrating point guard, a guard who can get into the middle of the defense and dish? Not since Mookie Blaylock have they had one. (Tyrone) Lue is more of a shooter, a come around the screen and shoot guy. He's not a penetrator. You have to have a guy who can get in the lane on that dribble penetration. It's very hard to score on a set NBA defense everytime down court. That's why Phoenix likes to score in seven seconds or less. They have a point guard who can use his dribblling skills to get in the inside of a defense and kick it. So if I had to pick one player that is integral to the success of the Hawks, it would have to be Speedy Claxton, because of his ability to provide that penetration and kick."
-Alston Lister spoke of the keys of the big men on the team improving on the defensive end: "We have unlimited potential here. It is all about harnessing it. We have a term, "do your work early," which means that we keep other players active and not letting them get position. It is a mindset man, that's all it is." This gave off the indication that the Hawks lack of defensive prowess last season was due to lack of effort, as well as injuries.
-Speedy on a perimeter stopper a la Bruce Bowen or Tayshaun Prince or Raja Bell: "We definitely need someone to step up and provide that role for us."
For the Hawks, the center position figures to be a battle commensurate with the point guard battle. Lorenzen Wright, ZaZa Pachulia, Shelden Williams, Solomon Jones and Al Horford figure to give each other lumps in the month of October, in a battle for prime playing time at the 5. None of the big men I talked to came out and said it (they are much too polite a group to insinuate rivalry), but there will be some serious jockeying on the pecking order in that paint.
Two ends of the scale, two battles.
Not a bad problem to have if your last name is Woodson.
Day of grinding begins today.