Omari Spellman Revisits Failed Stint With Hawks

After being selected with the 30th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Omari Spellman lasted just a single season in Atlanta, having been sent to Golden State in a trade this past offseason. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic details, Spellman dealt with depression and weight issues during his failed stint with the Hawks, getting up to 315 pounds by the end of his stint with the team.

Having received a second chance with the Warriors, Spellman has enjoyed a more promising 2019/20 campaign so far, slimming down to about 260 pounds and earning a regular role for an injury-plagued Dubs squad.

Speaking to Slater, Spellman took a clear-eyed look back on his time with Atlanta, insisting that his problems as a rookie were more about self-sabotage rather than anything the Hawks did wrong.

If you have an Athletic subscription, the entire conversation is worth checking out, but here are a few highlights from the unusually forthcoming 22-year-old:

On how he missed the NCAA structure during his first season in the NBA:

“When you’re in college, they kind of — you got class, which blocks out parts of your day, practice, hot yoga, all these things I was doing. Team dinner. Then on the night of home games, we’re in a hotel anyway. … Then you get on your own and I equate it to what a normal teenager, when they first get to college, what that’s like. They have all this freedom, no structure and they kind of f–k up.

“I was f–king up, but the difference is, this time, when I f–ked up, no one was helping me. No one was saying nothing to me. It was just, I was living by myself, so can’t nobody really tell me nothing, at that time.”

On when he realized things were heading in the wrong direction with the Hawks:

“To be honest, man, I knew for a pretty long time. I didn’t know what was going to happen. But I knew for a fact that, at some point, the relationship had gotten so toxic in Atlanta — organizational to player. They had tried a lot of stuff, they really did and I could never say they didn’t. They tried a lot of stuff to help me and I was just not in a place to accept that help yet.

“I could tell they were frustrated. I won’t say I knew I was going to get traded, but I knew something was going to happen. Either this year I was going to start in the G League or this season, I don’t touch the court. Or I knew I wasn’t going to be in Atlanta anymore.”

On why things have turned around with the Warriors:

“Well, one, getting traded as a first-round pick after your first season lets you know that you’re about to be out of the league. For certain people. Now, for Landry Shamet, totally different. But for me? The way it happened to me? Yo, bro, you’re on your way out. … So to me, it was like if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out putting my best foot forward. Because I know last year was not my best foot, at all.

On how his mentality has changed since last season:

“I was like: ‘I’m a slob. I’m f–king fat. I’m f–king useless in the league.’ Then you have to consciously decide that I’m going to shift that mentality. I’m none of those things. I work hard. I play hard. I leave it all out there. I’m a great teammate. You have to view yourself like that. It’s not a cocky thing. That’s who you are. To take that fight, take that challenge, I was proud of myself. Because I easily could’ve just gave up. Just said: ‘F–k it, man. It is what it is. I’m not supposed to be in the league.’ Some people stay in that mindset forever and it’s hard to escape it.”

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9 thoughts on “Omari Spellman Revisits Failed Stint With Hawks

  1. harden-westbrook-mvps

    I guess when he first got traded to the Warriors he thought he would get to play for a contender. That dream didn’t last too long for him.

    • SheltonMatthews

      But in reality, this is probably way better for him personally. To have a season where he can play and grow, in a finely structured environment? Best thing for him.

  2. azcrook

    Keep up the effort……your performance is proving the you can do it….

  3. harden-westbrook-mvps

    The Warriors just lost to the Hawks by 25 points after Atlanta lost to the Rockets by 37 points, a game where they trailed by 48 points late in the 3rd quarter with Houston missing 2 starters and their 6th man from the lineup.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      My math sucks. Atlanta lost by 47 points after trailing by 58.

      • SheltonMatthews

        Yup, and the Dubs lost to the Rockets by 17 on 11/6. That’s not how sports work. Each game is its own individual event my dude.

    • arc89

      you sound like somebody with built up anger against the warriors. Warriors were missing all 5 starters and 2 on the 2nd unit plus their 1st round pick. rockets better beat them by 20 points against a team with 3 G league players playing heavy minutes. Beating a bunch of bench and G league players is nothing to feel proud of.

  4. x%sure

    Spellman went from a minus 8 to a +8, on/off. He had the rep that he lacked discipline but could be good if he found it away from coach Jay Wright. Found it in NorCal it seems

    • arc89

      being out of shape is a big factor in his poor first year. Sounds like he is more mature and grew up knowing its him who is the captain of his own NBA life.

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