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2017 Hawks Training Camp/Pre-Season/ Pre-Season Schedule Thread


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https://twitter.com/ATLHawks/status/900806426809044994

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..... the Hawks will play both preseason home games at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion. Atlanta opens the preseason on the road, with contests at Miami (Oct. 1), Cleveland (Oct. 4) and Detroit (Oct. 6). The Hawks will host Memphis on Oct. 9 and Dallas on Oct. 12 to wrap up the exhibition season (both at 7:30 p.m.).

FOX Sports Southeast will televise three of the contests – Oct. 4 at Cleveland, Oct. 9 vs. Memphis and Oct. 12 vs. Dallas. Bob Rathbun and Dominique Wilkins will broadcast the action, and all three games will also stream live on the FOX Sports GO app. 
Three games (Oct. 4 at Cleveland, Oct. 6 at Detroit, Oct. 9 vs. Memphis) will also air on Hawks radio. Two contests will be broadcast on the Hawks’ flagship, CBS RADIO’S SportsRadio 92-9 The Game, with one on WAOK 1380 AM, as well as partner stations on the Hawks Radio Network. The legendary “Voice of the Hawks” Steve Holman will be on the call.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...


Hawks’ F DeAndre’ Bembry out 4-6 weeks with tricep injury


 AP     
 Sep 14, 2017 at 11:18p ET

http://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/hawks-f-deandre-bembry-out-4-6-weeks-with-tricep-injury-091317

 

ATLANTA (AP) Atlanta Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry will miss at least a month with a strained right triceps and possibly the start of the regular season.

The Hawks announced Wednesday that Bembry underwent an MRI last week. There was no indication how the injury happened, but he has been working out at team facilities through much of the offseason.

Bembry will be held out of all basketball activities for four-to-six weeks. He will definitely miss training camp this month and likely all five preseason games.

If forced to sit for the full six weeks, Bembry would miss several regular-season games. The Hawks open Oct. 18 against the Dallas Mavericks.

A first-round pick in 2016, the 6-foot-6 Bembry played sparingly for Atlanta in his rookie season, averaging 2.7 points and 9.8 minutes in 38 games.

His playing time figures to increase this season with the Hawks beginning a long-range rebuilding plan.

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REPORT: KRIS HUMPHRIES IS LEAVING THE HAWKS

Humphries was an unrestricted free agent following two seasons with the Hawks


Author: Alec McQuade Published: 09/22/17

WXIA | 9/22/2017 8:03:40 PM


 

ATLANTA -- Backup forward Kris Humphries is on the way out.

Humphries is the latest Atlanta Hawks player to join a new team during the offseason. The Vertical first reported that Humphries is joining the Philadelphia 76ers on a non-guaranteed deal on Friday. He will report to the team's training camp on Sunday.

Humphries, 32, was an unrestricted free agent following two seasons with the Hawks. He joined the team during the 2015-16 season which ended in the Hawks getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Despite a good performance in the postseason that year, he saw his minutes decrease in 2016-17 as well as most of his stats. He averaged 4.6 points per game and 3.7 total rebounds per game last season.

The Hawks are unofficially in a rebuild, although new general manager Travis Schlenk doesn't like to use that term. They traded away center Dwight Howard to the Charlotte Hornets after getting eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last season. They received Miles Plumlee, Marco Belinelli and the 41st pick in the NBA Draft in return. The Hawks also traded away their 31st pick to Charlotte.

The Hawks also lost Tim Hardaway Jr. who left for the New York Knicks and Paul Millsap who joined the Denver Nuggets.

On Thursday, the Hawks signed forward Jeremy Evans and guard Jordan Mathews.

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Atlanta Hawks sign Jeremy Evans, Jordan Mathews

 

By WGCL Digital Team

cbs46.com | 2017/09/23


 
ATLANTA (CBS46) -
The Atlanta Hawks have added two new players to their roster.

The team announced Thursday they had signed Jeremy Evans and Jordan Mathews. ,

Evans, a six-year NBA veteran, spent 2010-15 with the Utah Jazz, the 2015-16 season with the Dallas Mavericks and last year with Khimki (Russia). He has appeared in 249 career regular season games (nine starts), averaging 3.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in 10.5 minutes (.568 FG%). He will wear jersey No. 22.

Mathews, who played three years at California before transferring to Gonzaga for his senior season, averaged 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 28.0 minutes (39 games, all starts) in 2016-17, helping lead the Zags to the National Championship game. His 85 three-pointers made last year tied for the seventh-highest single-season total in school history. He will wear jersey No. 6.  

Copyright 2016 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

All content ©2015, WGCL-TV; Atlanta, GA. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Ad Choicescy Policy,> and Terms of Service.

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Report: Some Hawks reacted to Howard trade by 'screaming in jubilation'

 


theScore.com  


 

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 2h ago
Dwight Howard's been a polarizing figure in the NBA since his days with the Orlando Magic, and it's gone beyond simple fan frustration. Who can forget former teammate Kobe Bryant repeatedly calling him "soft as a motherf-----"?

The fact is, Howard has never been a clubhouse favorite with any of the four teams he's played for up until now, and another anecdote seems to have come from the Atlanta Hawks - who traded him to the Charlotte Hornets in June.

"I've heard multiple stories of Hawks players learning about the trade and screaming with jubilation into their phones," ESPN's Zach Lowe relayed on his Lowe Post Podcast.

"One account was that Dwight would give these speeches before the game about how everyone is playing hard, we want unity, we're going to … and then go out and play like a blah game where he demands post touches and doesn't rotate as hard as he could. And everyone is like, 'why are you speaking in the locker room?' But that’s all anecdotal. It's just crazy how these stories come out after every stop in his career."

That's essentially been the case each time Howard has left a team. His Houston Rockets tenure came to a close amid rumors of discord with James Harden, and the Magic traded him to the Lakers after he had coach Stan Van Gundy fired.

Howard's game has lent itself to frustration as well. Always a one-dimensional offensive center, in recent years the stout skill that won him three Defensive Player of the Year awards has waned.

Howard, who turns 32 in December, has two years and about $48 million left on his contract. Meanwhile the Hawks are clearly entering a rebuild after saying farewell to Howard and power forward Paul Millsap.

 

Copyright © 2017 Score Media Ventures Inc.

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Don’t talk to the Atlanta Hawks about low expectations: They’re having none of it

 

by Graham Chapple Sep 28, 2017, 8:00am EDT

Peachtree Hoops  


 

No, seriously, don’t. They won’t listen.

When the Atlanta Hawks hired Golden State Warriors Assistant GM, Travis Schlenk, to be their General Manager and President of Basketball Operations they scheduled an introductory press conference for the 2nd of June. In the build up to and in said press conference, Schlenk made some comments that led many to believe that the Atlanta Hawks entering the summer were going to be extremely different from the Atlanta Hawks that would be emerging from the summer.

Speaking to Bay Area radio station 95.7 FM The Game prior to his introduction to Atlanta, Schlenk said, “One of the things we did in Golden State is we avoided signing bad contracts. All the guys we signed in free agency were on deals that were move-able. If you sign a bad free-agent contract and it’s a deal that can’t be moved, that can hold your franchise down.”

Then, speaking at his introductory press conference:

“...I’m inheriting a good team with a nice foundation that has some flexibility, and that’s what we’re going to look to maintain,” Schlenk said.

“Any time that you’re in the playoffs, it’s a good thing,” Schlenk added. So that’s something we’re going to look to maintain, but we need to maintain the flexibility so when the time comes to strike on a big acquisition we’re ready to do that. Like I said, we feel good about our position right now. It’s hard to get to a point where you’re competing for a championship year-after-year-after-year, that’s our ultimate goal. But we have to maintain the flexibility and the assets so we’re able to do that when the time approaches.”

What most people took away from all of this was that Schlenk was — more than likely — going to allow any players who received a contract offer that might be considered a bad contract and/or obstructed the Hawks’ future flexibility’ to walk in free agency. This, immediately put Paul Millsap and — if his offer sheet was large enough — Tim Hardaway Jr. on shaky ground when it came to their Atlanta Hawks futures...

But Schlenk didn’t wait until free agency to practice what he preached, trading center Dwight Howard prior to the NBA Draft, citing ‘flexibility’ as the main reason for the move.

"Our number one goal is to maintain our flexibility as we work to get this franchise going in the direction we wanted to,” Schlenk said. “This trade helps us accomplish long term and short term flexibility for us."

With the Hawks — from a personnel point of view — getting considerably worse in this trade, the way forward was beginning to look a little clearer, and a rebuild looked on the cards. But no one could really be sure this was the case until free agency, until Paul Millsap was definitely gone — this could’ve just been a move simply to get rid of Dwight Howard, who has been talked about by many as a downer for a dressing room.

But, sure enough, when free agency rolled around both Paul Millsap (who wouldn’t ultimately receive an offer from the Hawks) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (who received one of the summer’s most ludicrous/lucrative offer sheets from the New York Knicks) were allowed to leave Atlanta, and the rebuild many suspected was coming was all but confirmed.

The departures of Howard, Millsap and Hardaway Jr. left many statistical (or otherwise) holes for the Hawks to fill for the remainder of free agency. And how did they fill them? With Dewayne Dedmon and John Collins, the Hawks’ 19th overall selection, Miles Plumlee and Luke Babbitt to name a few.

The talent drop-off speaks for itself.

(And that’s not to disrespect Dedmon, Babbitt etc. but they’re just not as good as Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard and THJ — those are just facts)

As the summer progressed, general opinions and expectations for the 2017-18 Atlanta Hawks were made clear by many credible and notable media outlets.


Imagine if you (or me) really thought Dennis Schröder struggled to make the Hawks better last season but then realized he's their best player. Now consider that Miles Plumlee is their third highest-paid player. Given those factors, a case could be made for any of the six preceding teams as worst in the league, but Atlanta's the bet here. The tank is on the way.

Then, ESPN’s RPM projections buried the Hawks dead last in the Eastern Conference and the NBA with a projected win total of 27 games.


RPM has long been low on the Hawks' talent, and that certainly hasn't changed with the departure of Millsap. Remarkably, Atlanta has just two players projected to be better than league average by RPM: likely starting big men Dewayne Dedmon and Ersan Ilyasova.


Key addition(s): Low expectations

Key departure(s): Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard

Key question: Will they play for the future?

The Hawks could have five first round picks over the next two drafts, and the best of the five will likely be their own. Their 23-year-olds returning starters - Dennis Schroder and Taurean Prince - will continue to get plenty of playing time, but throwing No. 19 pick John Collins (who turns 20 next month) into the fire early (at the expense of a bunch of veteran bigs) could be an important long-term play. The good news is that they can't get much worse offensively than they were after the All-Star break last season (101.0 points scored per 100 possessions - last in the league).

BookmakersWestgate Las Vegas SuperBook were next to weigh in, making the Hawks one of four teams (along with the Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets) with a long-shot to win the NBA title at 1000/1.

Vegas struck again with their over/under win totals, giving the Hawks an over/under win total of 25.5 games. Only the Chicago Bulls at 21.5 wins ranked lower than the Hawks.

And to cap off, ESPN came back with their power rankings, pegging the Hawks to have the 28th best record in the league, leading only the Sacramento Kings and Chicago Bulls.

The perception of the 2017-18 Atlanta Hawks was clear: ‘low expectations’, ‘tank’, ‘one of the worst teams in the league’, ‘rebuild’, ‘future’ etc. Many have already counted out the Atlanta Hawks, their obituaries already written, already buried ten feet under the ground...

Everyone except the Atlanta Hawks themselves, that is.

 

Speaking on Media Day, the Hawks’ disregarded the low expectations the basketball world has placed upon them — they believe in themselves.

Leading the way was Hawks head coach, Mike Budenholzer, who believes that the Hawks’ own expectations are far more important than everyone else’s expectations.

“For the most part, luckily, most of us I think live in our own little world and teams tend to just bunker in,” said Bud. “We know what’s happening on our practice court, we know what’s happening in our film sessions and in our games. Our expectations of ourselves I think are significantly more important than what people on the outside expect of us.”

Budenholzer added that it’s “wasted time” to worry about what the outside world thinks of his squad, and that his expectations are how his team turn up to work everyday and how they can be better everyday.

“It’s kind of wasted time to think about or worry about what anybody else is expecting of us,” Budenholzer continued.

“I think a lot of the things that we’ve been doing — probably a lot of it since we’ve started playing basketball and coaching basketball — is how we come to work everyday, what are we doing in the gym, how are we preparing... That’s where our expectations are. If you’re doing those things then, more often than not, you can feel good about what’s happening on the court, and it just continues to be our focus is what are we doing everyday, how are we getting better everyday and that’s where our focus and expectations are.”

When asked how he could be so optimistic about the next few years, Budenholzer stressed that player development was a huge reason why, because it’s something he really believes in.

“When you genuinely believe in player development, when you genuinely believe in your team getting better from the start of this season to end of this season, I think it’s a big reason why a lot of us coach and a lot of us play,” said Budenholzer.

Budenholzer also believes that there’s a hint of “underestimation” when it comes to his team.

“...we hope through the work and player development, and the individual development, that the results are going to be something that we’re all proud of,” Bud added. “There’s maybe some degree of underestimation of who we are and what we can be.”

All across Media Day, Bud’s players echoed his feelings about the team, others using the summer sleights as motivation while others drew inspiration from teams past. But there was a player who, long before Media Day, dismissed any notion of anything other than a good season. Taurean Prince.

Speaking at NBA Summer League, Prince quickly dismissed the thinking that this season is going to be difficult despite all the offseason turnover, determined to push his teammates to enjoy the winning feeling.

“No, no, no. I disagree. I don’t like to go off the rebuilding word because I like to win. I love to win. Anybody who is on the team, I’m going to make sure that they love to win too. I don’t expect to have a bad season next year. I expect to have a good season.”

Back to Media Day — when asked about a role being opened up for him as a result of the summer departures — DeAndre’ Bembry his thoughts on the upcoming season.

“Of course we’re not thinking we’re going to have a terrible season, we think we’re going to have a good season,” said an optimistic Bembry. “That’s a mindset all of us should have. We’re just looking forward to the opportunity.”

When asked why he thought this way, Bembry said it was a matter of “confidence”.

“Each player that’s here is confident in their own basketball skills. We’ve added pieces, that aren’t Paul Millsap of course, but we added pieces that have been in the league and have been through the ups and downs. And they’re talented as well...”

“...we’re all confident in each other and confident in our own talents,” Bembry added. “We’re just young and just trying to make a name for ourselves.”

“It’s going to motivate all of us, that they say we’re going to be the worst team in the NBA,” Schröder said. “But it is what it is. They’ve got their opinion and we got to do what we can control: get in the gym, try to work hard everyday and try to get better.”

A bunch of Hawks players have taken these predications and projections of a poor Hawks season personally.

“I see a bunch of guys that take that personal,” Kent Bazemore added to the subject. “No one on this team is going to succumb to that. We have a great group of competitors, guys who are going to show up every night and that alone will shatter any expectations anyone has given us.”

Point guard Malcolm Delaney believes in the system that coach Mike Budenholzer has in place and that the Hawks, if they stick to that, can still be “dangerous”.

“...if anybody Tweeted to me something about how we could be the second worst team in the league or anything... I’m commenting back, because that’s just the type of player I am. I’m competitive,” said Delaney. “I believe in Bud, our organisation and the guys around me. I think if we do what we’re supposed to and perfect our system, then we can still be dangerous. And I’mma stick with that.”

“I don’t look at the projections...” Mike Muscala added.

This team is united in proving everyone wrong, and there seems to be a “us versus everybody” type of attitude within this squad.

In this league, there’s something to be said for competing hard every night and showing fight...these are things that can certainly help make up for what appears to be a lack of overall talent.

“...I think we’re all competitive and when it comes to the games we’re going to lay everything on the line,” said coach Bud. “We’re going to give it everything we’ve got...”

"What I can promise is the team is going to play hard all 82 games," said Dennis Schröder added. "We're going to compete offensively and defensively and see what happens."

(Side note: ESPN were a bit mean when applying this quote in their story)


"What I can promise is the team is going to play hard all 82 games," Schroeder said, in what sounds like a familiar refrain from someone on a talent-deprived team. "We're going to compete offensively and defensively and see what happens."

(“in what sounds like a familiar refrain from someone on a talent-deprived tam.” Ouch. Come on, now, that’s a tad harsh....)

Former Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich made a memorable statement when his 1995 Houston Rockets team regained the NBA title — an achievement not thought possible at one point and with the Rockets a 6-seed in the West:

“Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion.”

Kent Bazemore preached a similar message on Media Day.

“You can’t measure the heart of a competitor,” Kent Bazemore added. “You can’t put a price on someone who’s going to play hard every night, players that are going to give it their all. We don’t have anything to lose and those are some of the most dangerous people in the world — in anything that they do — the people that are just so fearless. We’re going to go out there and play super hard...”

Bazemore said the Hawks will draw inspiration from last year’s Miami Heat team — a team that was decimated by injuries, a team that wasn’t expected to do much other than slide deeper into the lottery after an 11-30 start — that ended the season on a 30-11 run with no All-Stars on the roster.

“That’s an inspiration for us,” Bazemore said. “That’s a team we’ll probably talk about a lot this season: how they just outplayed everybody. They played harder, they dove on the floor and set screens and did all the small things that gave them a chance at the end of the day.”

Personally, I’m a believer that hard work and determination can make up for a lot of shortcomings when it comes to talent. Will over skill.

Similar to what Kent Bazemore said: there’s something to be said for just wanting it more, and I think there’s a real sense of this present in this Hawks group. They want to get after it and prove everyone wrong. We saw it with this team last year, there are fighters on this team who didn’t give up and it helped the Hawks — who often trailed by double digits last season — come back into they didn’t really have a right to comeback into.

Do I think the Hawks can win 45-50 games? No, but they can certainly be a better team than many expect them to be. There’s some solid players on this team — many entering contract years again — there’s a good coach and system in place. Those things mean an awful lot.

Sometimes, projections really don’t mean anything at all. Let’s look at an example:

Remember that 2013-14 Phoenix Suns team? If you don’t here’s a quick look at that roster:

A starting five of Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragić, P.J. Tucker, Channing Frye and Miles Plumlee (!!) with a bench featuring the Morris twins, Gerald Green, Ish Smith, rookie Archie Goodwin, rookie Alex Len, Shavlick Randolph and Dionte Christmas.

It’s a very similar situation to that of the Hawks: No All-Stars on that roster and, on paper, that roster looked very meh. In fact, that Suns team looked worse than meh. It looked like one of the worst teams in the league, and everyone knew it.

Matt Moore of CBS Sports also had the Suns winning a very low number of games: 15

But against every single odd and expectation, the 2013-14 Phoenix Suns won 48 games in the Western Conference and — incredibly — still missed out on the playoffs. For reference, 48 wins would’ve tied the Suns for the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference...

Though that Suns team saw multiple guys have career years that year (including Goran Dragić’s amazing season that saw him named to the All-NBA Third Team), the point still stands: they completely blew away everyone’s expectations and projections.

And that team, on Media Day 2013, talked about the same things the Hawks talked about on Media Day 2017: the goal of getting better everyday, being better by the end of the season, establishing a defensive mindset, playing hard...

I’m not saying the Hawks can be the 2013-14 Suns — or possibly even come close to them — but the point is projections are exactly that: projections. The players play on the court, not on paper. It’s not unheard of for teams to just turn out the opposite of what everyone expects them to be.

For the Hawks, that could be winning 35 games or making the playoffs. Success is relative to where you are as a franchise.

At the end of the day, Atlanta lives in the Eastern Conference, where teams like the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic all play. In short, anything is possible in the Eastern Conference.

Though the rest of the basketball world have consigned 2017-18 to the grave — the lost year in Hawks history, ‘the year the Hawks tanked for player-X’ —the 2017-18 Atlanta Hawks are having none of it. This team is ready to fight and prove everybody wrong, and they’re **** motivated to do so.

Will all of this prove to be the same old preseason, ‘everybody is 0-0’ talk and other general fighting words of a team that knows it’s going to be rough and just don’t want to admit or is it the foundation of something real, a season that no one expected?

Only time will tell.

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Taurean's Ready.....

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When Taurean Prince was drafted with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, not many could’ve predicted what his rookie season held in store for him. Sure, we all knew he was heading to the league with the Hawks but the life of an NBA rookie is always filled with great uncertainty.

‘Will he even play tonight? Is he part of the rotation tonight or just part of the garbage time lineup? Is he heading to the D-League for a little while?’ ‘Will Mike Dunleavy be eating away at the minutes he should be getting?’ etc...

Prince checked many of the conventional rookie boxes: There were times where he was part of the regular rotation, times where he even played 25+ minutes, times where he didn’t play at all and times when he spent time in the D-League — something that Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer acknowledged wasn’t easy for Prince.

“It’s not easy when you’re not playing,” said coach Mike Budenholzer on Media Day. “It’s not easy...when I think we’re very aggressive and forward thinking about how we use the G-League and both of those guys (Prince and DeAndre’ Bembry) spent time in the G-League.”

Prince continued to work hard as the season progressed — making appearances here and there — and his big break came in late March when an injury to starting small forward, Thabo Sefolosha, prompted Bud to insert Prince into the starting lineup. Sefolosha would miss the next eight games in the Hawks’ run-in to the playoffs, during which Prince averaged 11.4 points per game on 41% shooting from the field in 31 minutes a game.

When Sefolosha returned to action off the bench in the Hawks’ penultimate regular season, many believed that Thabo — who was arguably the team’s best perimeter defender, who was vastly more experienced and, after all, was the starting small forward prior to his injury — would return to the starting lineup for the imminent playoff series against the Washington Wizards.

And, irrespective of everything else, Prince was still — ultimately — a rookie, and rookies just normally don’t see meaningful action in playoff series/contribute in a meaningful way off the bench, forget the starting lineup. It’s just not a thing you see very often.

But to the surprise of just about everyone, Sefolosha would play a a total of nine minutes against the Wizards and it was Prince who started every single playoff game at small forward and would perform very well — averaging 11.2 points per game on 55.8% shooting from the field in 31 minutes a game.

The rookie forward was also a very consistent and efficient contributor, about the only consistent contributor for the Hawks during the playoffs outside of Paul Millsap and Dennis Schröder as Kent Bazemore, Dwight Howard and Tim Hardaway Jr. all had up-and-down series’.

Though the Hawks ultimately lost the series in six games, many fans felt very optimistic about Taurean Prince’s future after one of the better rookie playoff performances in recent memory.

“To see Taurean emerge and start for the last 15, 20 games and a playoff series — and for him to play really efficiently and for him to play — for a rookie, he was a great contributor for us,” praised coach Bud on Media Day.

After it was all said and done, Prince’s rookie season was as he expected.

“It was everything I thought it would be,” said Prince during the Hawks’ exit interviews. “The playoffs were great. I’m glad I got to experience that. As far as he regular season, it just goes to show you what patience can bring, just trusting the process, not getting too low or too high. Then, just believing in your abilities as a player.”

Time moves quickly in the NBA and many things changed for the Hawks over the summer. Mainly, a new GM in Travis Schlenk and the roster changed dramatically as a result of the decisions made by Schlenk.

Indeed, the battle hardened, veteran playoff team that surrounded Prince in his rookie season was no more.

No more Kyle Korver, no more Kris Humphries, no more José Calderón, no more Mike Dunleavy, no more Thabo Sefolosha, no more Dwight Howard and no more Paul Millsap...

Prince now returns to Atlanta for his second season, already one of the more experienced players on the roster — at least when it comes to the Atlanta Hawks system. The only current players that have spent more time in Budenholzer’s system longer than Prince are Dennis Schröder, Mike Muscala and Kent Bazemore — that’s it.

Prince figured to play a larger role headed into his sophomore regardless of who was/wasn’t leaving in free agency but the roster turnover over the summer absolutely cemented Prince into a starting role in his second season, where much is expected of him following his playoff performance.

And the Hawks are going to need his production and, fortunately, Prince has been working all summer improve himself for such an eventuality.

Speaking at NBA Summer League, Prince mentioned that he was working on his ball-handling skills and other offensive skills that may be called upon this season.

“I’m working on my ball-handling, decision-making, just being a better pick-and-roll player,” said Prince. “Just putting myself in a lot of uncomfortable positions so I can be more comfortable as time goes on.”

It’s interesting that Prince mentions being a better ball-handler and a better pick-and-roll player. To me at least, this would suggest that Prince, perhaps, expects to play more of a role on offense this year with the ball in his hands, making plays and coming off of screens.

Scoring isn’t something that’s unfamiliar to Prince, who led Baylor in scoring in his Junior and Senior years. We also saw some scoring flashes from Prince with the Hawks last season (mostly in the playoffs), and you can bet Prince will be ready to take up some of offensive slack if he’s called upon to do so.

As for his coach and what he wants from Prince in his second year, Bud just wants to Prince to carry over the momentum he ended his rookie season with into his second season, but also warns that Prince needs to stick to the “steps” when it comes to his development as a player.

“Going into his second season for Taurean we just want to see that (end of season momentum to) carry over. I think there’s steps to a player’s development, it’s a process. If you start skipping those steps sometimes it can lead to a regression.”

Prince is a highly motivated young player and has the potential to make a significant impact on both ends of the floor for the Hawks this season (something that hasn’t gone unnoticed) but Bud — as you might have gathered from his previous comments — is exercising caution, reminding everyone, as well as himself and his staff, that there is a developmental process to go through.

“I think Taurean wants to be great. Taurean wants to have a big impact on the game on both ends of the court, and in some ways we’re probably just going to have to keep reminding him — and reminding ourselves — that it’s a process and it’s going to take incremental improvement, incremental steps.”

“But I think because of what he went through (last season where Prince often didn’t play and spent time in the D-League) he understands and appreciates that.”

Overall, we all know that Prince — despite the cautious approach Budenholzer is taking — is set for a much larger role this season.

But Prince isn’t just ready for an expanded role on the court when it comes to his game: he’s also ready for a larger role as a leader.

Prince parked his leadership skills and abilities last season out of respect for the veterans on the team last year (though he didn’t stay totally silent) but is ready to take on a larger leadership role in his sophomore season.

“I was at Baylor as a senior two years ago, so I still got leadership qualities in me,” Prince responded when about different expectations when it came to leadership.

“I kind of threw them to the side a little bit because of the veterans we did have. Still showed signs, but it’s a way to go about it...had Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver, Thabo and those guys to really look up to and take advice from.”

“Now it’s just time to bring them (the leadership skills) back out the bag that I put them in last year. Throw advice to these first year guys.”

Of course, Prince realises he is still young when it comes to NBA experience and continues to learn from others around the league.

“It’s still new to me too. I’m learning, I’m trying to get advice from my other peers from around the league and just continue to build off everything you get.”

When you think of a leader, what traits/characteristics do you want them to display? Is it accountability? Is it honesty?

Personally, traits I really value are confidence, optimism, belief and the intention to instil these characteristics into other people, and Prince has already displayed these qualities.

Prince was the early voice of defiance and belief when the basketball world began to bury the 2017-18 Hawks ten feet under the ground — predicting the Hawks to be one of the worst teams in the league.

“No, no, no. I disagree. I don’t like to go off the rebuilding word because I like to win. I love to win,” Prince commented at Summer League when asked if the this upcoming season could possibly be difficult due to the many personnel changes.

“Anybody who is on the team, I’m going to make sure that they love to win too. I don’t expect to have a bad season next year. I expect to have a good season.”

Prince reaffirmed his beliefs on Media Day and has, what many would call, extremely ambitious expectations for the Hawks this season.

“Well, they (the expectations) are playoffs, first and foremost. I don’t expect anything less...”

Time will unveil the tide that the Hawks’ season will turn in, but Prince is already displaying the kind of characteristics you’d want in a leader — he strongly believes in those around him and wants to put something into them: belief, confidence and a winning feeling. He’s optimistic of a successful season and has stuck true to his beliefs.

Taurean Prince’s second in the season is going to be one of great expectation amongst Hawks fans as he prepares to step into expanded roles on and off the court. He’s raring to go, and the good news is he doesn’t have to wait much longer...

How do you see Taurean Prince’s season unfolding?

 

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