"Coming in as a 19- and 20-year-old, I didn't necessarily have the strength to be able to hold my own as much down there" in the NBA, said Hawes, who has bulked up 15 pounds to 245 during his three-year career.
"Now having grown up a little bit, I think that's something I'm getting to be more effective at. I would like to try to reestablish that as a strong suit."
Defending one-on-one in the post, pick-and-roll defense, and always being aware of shot-blocking opportunities are things Hawes realizes he must continue to improve on.
He wants to "give the guys the luxury to be able to take the extra chances and gamble a little bit [on defense], knowing that they can be all right when they do," he said.
Known primarily as a big man who can shoot jumpers, Hawes averaged 8.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1 block in 220 games played.
Partly due to a perceived lack of toughness, he never established himself as a full-time starter during his tenure in Sacramento. At one point last season, Hawes fell out of favor with Kings coach Paul Westphal.
"I don't really look at it as a second chance," Hawes said of the trade. "First, it kind of caught me off guard. I really didn't see if coming at all."
But after evaluating things, Hawes said, he realized he was coming to a great organization and a great city.
"The opportunity here to try to take my game to the next level and really trying to make that step forward is something I'm welcoming," he said. "And I really can't wait to get started."
On Turner. Hawes said he's impressed with Ohio State guard Evan Turner. That's a good sign, considering the Sixers are expected to take Turner with the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday's draft.
"One of the things that impressed me was when he hurt his back, how tough he was coming back from that," Hawes said of Turner's missing just 41/2 weeks with broken bones in his lower back. The original prognosis had the 6-7 guard missing eight weeks. "He really didn't let his team down when all of that occurred."
Added Hawes: "His resume speaks for itself."
Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or firstname.lastname@example.org.