Improved communication will probably be key to Hawks’ success in 2022-23

September 24, 2022

Atlanta hopes to enhance the communication between coach Nate McMillan and star guard Trae Younger in 2022-23.

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks are heading into coaching camp searching for a little bit of a reboot.

First up: bettering the communication between coach Nate McMillan and star guard Trae Younger.

McMillan already bought the ball rolling after the Hawks have been eradicated within the opening spherical of the playoffs, a bitter comedown from their run to the Japanese Convention last in 2021.

In June, the coach hopped on a flight to go to Younger at his Oklahoma Metropolis residence, wanting to ensure everybody was on the identical web page when camp started Saturday.

“One of many large areas that I really feel we have to enhance on is the connection between the 2 of us,” McMillan mentioned. “I believe we have to be higher at speaking with one another and what we wish to do and the way we wish to go about doing it.”

The coach additionally needs Younger, who turned 24 lower than every week in the past, to say extra of a management function, each on the courtroom and within the locker room.

“He’s the face of the franchise and it’s one thing that he has simply inherited,” McMillan mentioned. “He must work at it and grow to be higher.”

Younger disregarded any try to counsel a rift between the coach and his greatest star.

“I believe you’re making an attempt to achieve for one thing that isn’t there. The connection isn’t rocky,” Younger mentioned. “We are able to all be higher in areas. We’re all making an attempt to get higher. We’re not making an attempt to remain the identical”

Whereas there was loads of hypothesis that the Hawks have been headed for a significant overhaul after their playoff flop, they determined to maintain a lot of the roster intact.

The large transfer was a commerce that landed All-Star guard Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs for 3 first-round draft picks.

Murray gives the Hawks with one other ballhandling guard who can play the purpose, giving Younger an opportunity to work extra with out the ball.

That is a component that McMillan needs to develop after watching the Miami Warmth stifle Younger within the playoffs, giving the Hawks few different choices to get the offense rolling.

Murray additionally ought to assist enhance an atrocious protection that was maybe essentially the most vital issue within the crew failing to reside as much as expectations. He led the league in steals a season in the past and was a second-team member of the NBA’s all-defensive crew in 2018.

Whereas everybody was all smiles throughout a photograph shoot and interview session, will probably be intriguing to see how Younger — solely the second participant in NBA historical past to guide the league in each complete factors and complete assists — adapts to Murray assuming a few of the playmaking duties.

McMillan mentioned the crew was in fixed contact with Younger because the commerce unfolded.

“As I informed him, ‘We’re bringing in one other guard, and an All-Star guard. Are you aware what meaning for you? You’ll be taking part in with out the ball greater than you most likely ever have,’” McMillan recounted. “He was actually excited concerning the alternative to play off the ball, be taught to play off the ball, and play with Murray.”

Murray expects it to be a productive relationship, although it might take some time to actually click on.

“I’m not making an attempt to step on any toes,” he mentioned. “They’ve an excellent factor going right here. Trae earned the rights of who he’s with this group. I’m coming to assist.”

McMillan needs his total crew to recapture a few of the camaraderie that was clearly there through the sudden playoff run two seasons in the past.

To that finish, the Hawks are taking an prolonged journey to Abu Dhabi, the place are they scheduled to play a pair of preseason video games towards the Milwaukee Bucks.

Atlanta will depart subsequent Friday and spend 9 days in Center East earlier than returning to the States for his or her last two preseason contests.

“It’s an excellent alternative for our guys to bond. We’re taking a look at making an attempt to place them in place for that to occur,” McMillan mentioned “We wish our guys to spend that point collectively.”

It must also give Younger an opportunity to start flexing his management qualities.

“I’ve at all times been a pacesetter by instance,” he mentioned. “I’m nonetheless studying the way to be a pacesetter vocally. It’s not that I don’t do it; it’s simply how can I be higher at it. I believe that’s what Nate is speaking about.”

“Our relationship is nice,′ Younger added. “My teammates love me, I like my teammates. Now we’re going to attempt to win this championship.”

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