The Hawks made their first cuts of training camp on Thursday when they waived former second-round pick Keith Benson and Isma'il Muhammed. Larry Drew talked about the moves on Friday:
"It's just one of those situations where we have to get our numbers down gradually. Both guys we brought in camp and we're very excited about bringing both of those guys in. Benson has been here before, has some length and is long around the basket. He can block shots and I really wanted to take another look at him. I really thought he improved from a year ago.
On Benson, Drew expanded his thoughts saying that he had improved tremendously but still needs a little more time in the D-League.
"I think he probably needs another year in the D-League," Drew said. "He's made tremendous improvement from a year ago. He's got size. He's got length. He's gotten stronger in a year's time. Maybe more work down in the D-League where he can play every day in the post and not be with somebody and sit on the bench. I think he's made tremendous strides."
Benson had a good summer league with the Hawks and for a time looked like he might be able to earn a spot on the team. However, the Joe Johnson trade filled up a large portion of the Hawks roster and the subsequent signings of Ivan Johnson and Anthony Tolliver hurt Benson's chances.
By getting early, Benson has the opportunity to latch on elsewhere whether that be with another NBA team, overseas or perhaps again in the D-League.