Triumphant Return for Drew

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
By Jon Newberry

He made it.

The road to becoming a head coach in the NBA can be a long one. Many give up along the way and accept alternative professions. Larry Drew’s 17-year journey to becoming the Hawks’ Head Coach began when he took a position with the Lakers as an advanced scout in 1992.

“This is my first time coming back to play the Lakers as a head coach, which I am very excited about,” said Coach Drew following the Hawks practice in Los Angeles on Monday. “Being here over the All-Star weekend I ran into a lot of people that I knew (and) that had followed my career. It feels good being back under these type of conditions.”

An added benefit of LD’s ties to the Lakers is that one of his fans will undoubtedly have a great seat for the game.

“Being at the All-Star Game last night, I ran into Jack Nicholson,” Larry said with a smile. “He’s always been… actually we’ve been fans of each other. Got a chance to talk to him a little last night, he even said he is going to be at the game.”

Of course, with his 27-plus years of experience in the NBA, LD knows that all distractions must be eliminated when the ball goes up. Having lost three of their last four games before the All-Star break, the Hawks should be hungry for a quality win. However, the Lakers have lost three in a row, and in the City of Angels that means the panic button has been pressed among the purple and gold faithful.

Coach Drew emphasized that his team can’t expect the Lakers to bring anything less than their best. “They’ve been struggling a little bit, but they’re back home. They play well at home so we’ll have our hands full. As I told the guys, we have to bring our “A” game. I don’t think our “B” game will get it done. We have to anticipate that they will bring their “A+” game.”

“We’ve been on the road before and played a lot of good teams on the road and had success,” continued Drew, “and if we play well I don’t see why it should be any different.”

Larry Drew alluded to how well the Hawks have performed on the road this season, and last week Jon Steinberg, the Hawks Director of Media Relations, gave us the numbers to prove it:

Most Hawks road wins before All-Star break
17 (2010-11)

14 (1997-98)
13 (1987-88)
12 (6 times)

Above .500 record on road at All-Star break (only 4th time)
2010-11 (17-12)

1969-70 (11-10)
1993-94 (12-10)
1997-98 (14-13)