In his end-of-season media availability following the Hawks‘ first-round loss to Boston, general manager Landry Fields acknowledged that the fit between Trae Young and Dejounte Murray wasn’t always smooth in 2022/23. However, he said he was pleased with their progress under Quin Snyder, who replaced Nate McMillan as head coach in late February.
“I was on record by saying at first, it’s to be expected that it might look a little clunky,” Fields said, per Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You’re asking two primary ball-handlers to now share a backcourt with each other, but two very talented play-making ball-handlers. And it’s had its ups. It’s had its downs, to be honest.
“I think that we’ve all seen that where it looks a little clunky. But there’s also times where it’s been beautiful to watch. They play for each other. … And so, it’s still working in a complementary sense. But I think we got a great taste of it in the last month here. I think Quin has been able to figure out a great way for those two to coexist in a way that is going to enhance our group, but Trae Young and Dejounte Murray is your backcourt. That’s a fun backcourt.”
Here’s more on the Hawks:
- Within the same piece from Williams, Fields was noncommittal about John Collins‘ future with the team, but that doesn’t mean Atlanta doesn’t value him. Collins has been featured in trade rumors for multiple seasons. “I think it’s the same that I’ve spoken about in the past – John’s name, it comes up a lot. He’s a good player. It should. A lot of teams value him, and we have a lot of value in him,” Fields said.
- At his own press conference, Snyder said he was “grateful” that the players have embraced his coaching philosophies, Williams writes in a subscriber-only story for The Atlanta Journal-Consitutuion. When asked if he was proud of how the team competed in its six-game series against the Celtics, Snyder said it’s going to take time for the group to “learn how to win together,” especially at the highest level. “You can’t skip steps,” Snyder said as part of a larger quote. “You just can’t. And you may have success in a certain context at a certain time. But that may not always reflect where you are. So I would say it’s great that we competed. That’s a good step, feeling like you belong. But we’ve got a lot of work to do. There’s no question about that.
- In another story (subscriber link), Williams writes that multiple players praised Snyder’s individualized approach to coaching at their own media exit interviews. “The focus that they have on the development, especially for the young guys, like, every team doesn’t have what we call, like, the ‘breakfast club,’” said guard Donovan Williams, who is on a two-way contract. “So the guys that really don’t do a lot of minutes in the game, we come in before everybody we worked out before games. We play five-on-five with the coaches, like every team doesn’t do that.”
- Addressing the defense and payroll will likely be the top offseason priorities for the Hawks, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who provides his offseason guide for Atlanta (Insider link). The Hawks are projected to be a taxpaying team for the first time under owner Tony Ressler, and trading Collins to shed salary would take them out of the tax, Marks notes.