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News » Team's unity impresses Crawford

Team's unity impresses Crawford

Team's unity impresses Crawford Jamal Crawford couldn't help but be a little envious of his new Hawks teammates on his first day in the locker room.

Everyone was so comfortable with each other. It was obvious they had been together for so long, some of them for four and even five years.

That's an eternity in the NBA, where free agency and turnover in general can make the first day of training camp seem like the first day of kindergarten, what with all the introductions that go on around the room.

"It's just nice to see a team that has this kind of unity and togetherness," said Crawford, acquired on draft night in June in a deal with Golden State, and one of four new faces (not including tryout players) in the Hawks' locker room this season, along with veterans Joe Smith and Jason Collins and rookie point guard Jeff Teague. "You can't take that for granted in the NBA, having that kind of familiarity with your teammates. It's something that you hope leads to some cohesion on and off the court."

The Hawks' two-game swing --- today in Detroit and Monday night at Philips Arena against Charlotte --- offers two twists on the roster-shakeup dynamic that alters the NBA's power structure every summer.

The Pistons have scrapped the juggernaut team that produced six straight trips to the Eastern Conference finals for a younger, leaner crew that no longer includes Chauncey Billups or Rasheed Wallace. Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva were acquired via free agency this summer, a move the Pistons hope re-energizes not only their team but a fan base that was used to competing at the highest level before struggling to make the playoffs last year with the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference race.

Hawks coach Mike Woodson was the lead assistant on the staff that helped the Pistons to the 2004 NBA title, a group he said used its collective experience to its advantage and to guide it through the postseason minefield that year.

"That team we had in Detroit was a luxury for the coaches and the fans," he said. "When you have so many guys that are so familiar with each other and so locked in on winning, it changes the entire foundation of a franchise. Your success is rooted in that base."

The Bobcats made a major move in the summer, trading Emeka Okafor, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 draft, for Tyson Chandler. Chandler joins a group that is coached by Larry Brown, who led that Pistons team to a title, which was shaken up earlier last season when Jason Richardson was moved to Phoenix in a deal that sent Raja Bell and former Hawks swingman Boris Diaw to the Bobcats. It's the kind of nucleus-shifting moves the Hawks have been able to avoid, for the most part, during their climb from the league's cellar back to respectability.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 12, 2009


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