NBA Roundtable

Othello Hunter

In General NBA on October 3, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Sekou Smith reports

Like all the other free-agent invitees in the Hawks’ training camp, Othello Hunter has designs on securing one of the open roster spots that are available.

But unlike most of them, he has extensive experience in coach Mike Woodson‘s system. He knows the ins and outs of the offense and what Woodson is looking for on defense.

He also knows that the key to making the right impression is playing at a breakneck pace on both ends of the floor at all times, courtesy of spending his rookie season with the Hawks last year.

“I just feel like I have to play like that all the time,” Hunter said. “It doesn’t matter if I was already signed here [to a guaranteed contract] or not. I understand now what it means to be working to take care of your family and working with a purpose. I did it last year. Even more important to me is proving that you can play and that you belong here.

“And to do that, you’ve got to go hard every single day.”

Smith continues

Hunter has done that. And there’s no doubt he belongs. Even though he played sparingly last season, he appeared in just 16 games; he made a strong case for a return visit to camp with his diligent work in the offseason.

Hunter has been working diligently with Tyrone Hill to improve his game

He worked regularly with Hawks assistant coach Tyrone Hill to polish his game and also with strength and conditioning coach Chattin Hill to build up his frame.

“I think it helped, I really do,” said Hunter, who explored other training-camp options this summer before deciding to return to the Hawks. “I know what to expect better this time around. I know what training camp is going to be like. I know what’s expected. Being here made the most sense for me.”

Mike Woodson sees the progress

“He’s worked hard and it shows,” Woodson said. “He’s doing a fantastic job right now.”

Playing Time

Hawks Main Big Men — Al Horford + Josh Smith + Zaza Pachulia + Joe Smith + Jason Collins

The Hawks have five proven rotation players ahead of Othello Hunter so it’ll be very difficult for him to get any court time next season, but it’s great to hear that he’s improving and that his career is on the right track.

Solomon Jones

This report feels eerily familiar to the one we heard about Solomon Jones this time last season. Jones went on to establish himself as the fourth big in the Hawks rotation that season + signed a multi-year contract with the Indiana Pacers this offseason.

Unfortunately for Hunter, the Hawks have done a much better job of filling out their big man rotation this season (Joe Smith + Jason Collins), so it’s unlikely he’ll receive the same opportunities … but he’s heading in the right direction and that’s important.

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