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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/15/2019 in all areas

  1. 22 points
    I just found out 10 minutes ago that this site was back up.
  2. 21 points
    .... aaaaaand now .... a 19" bundle of joy from Atlanta, Georgia .... .... he measured in at a clean and ready 6lb, 14 oz .... .... the nurses haven't seen hands this big since some cat named Kawhi .... .... his court vision is electric, his passing (gas) is tremendous, and he literally came into the world dribbling ... ..... the doctor didn't smack him, he smacked the doctor, he's kg05! Hey, this thread is hawks related. He has a hawk inspired name. Plus he came just in time for us to watch last night's game. That's a real fan. Ah, this is the best I could do. I been up for 2 days almost.
  3. 20 points
  4. 20 points
    Getting a starting good center for a mid teen first is a steal. Great trade for us. Can we all give @NBASupes some dap here? Some outright love? All his insider talk was spot on!
  5. 20 points
    Trae is a different breed. Literally going to start keeping my hands under my face to prevent my jaw from dropping on the floor all game. 🤣
  6. 19 points
    Find someone who looks at you the way Trae Young looks at John Collins!
  7. 19 points
    ...and I could not be happier. We have waited since Nique was traded to the Clippers for a true, honest to God MUST SEE TV superstar. That, my friends, is a long ass time ago. We're talking in that time period if you had a kid then or were a kid then you've grown up and out of the house with your own kids by now. Trae Young is an unreal. He can score one point in an entire half, shrug his tiny shoulders, and go back out there in the second half and put up almost thirty in a half. And in between those points he runs the offense gets double digit assists and literally forces the opposing team to change their defense just to stop one small guard. I haven't felt like THIS GUY IS MUST SEE TV since Nique was here. We can argue all day and night about what does superstar mean. It comes down to me to two things: can you see that guy as the best player on a championship team and is he truly BIG TICKET. Like, if you had a chance to go watch him you would cancel your plans and get there. That is what Trae Young is for us. He isn't a dunker. He isn't blocking shots or getting steals. He just hits shots like a mad bomber and passes off the rock like Nash 2.0. If you could combine Curry's shooting and Nash's passing you get Trae Young. And he is OURS Hawks fans. Enjoy every game you get to see from him. Trust me as one of the old timers here. You rarely get the true superstar in you lifetime on your favorite team. Enjoy it.
  8. 19 points
    Yes, Billy earned himself a statue, too. Sorry, Danny. Good evening, Friends! I am not just addressing all of you out there in Atlanta Hawks Nation, eagerly awaiting today’s season opener versus the Detroit Pistons (7:00 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Southeast and V-103 FM in ATL, Fox Sports Detroit) at Little Caesars Arena. By “Friends,” I also refer to individuals among us of the Quaker faith. If you’re not one, and you come across one, hug one. (WARNING: the following may contain perspectives gained from the Cracker Jack Box School of Theology. Viewer discretion is advised.) Around for over 350 years since its founding in England, the Quakers’ central tenet involves a belief that there exists a spiritual “light within”, a light which each human can internally access through experientialism, as opposed to relying on external, sacramental sources. Formally the “Religious Society of Friends,” Quakers got their name when their mid-17th-century founder, a dissenting English preacher testifying amid accusations of religious blasphemy, cited a magistrate judge who mockingly claimed he “bade them tremble” at what the founder asserted was “the word of the Lord”. The basis for “Friends” is a biblical reference in the Book of John, where The Notorious J.H.C. distinguishes his “friends” from mere servants. Associated with the Quakers’ signature wide-brim hats was the founder’s refusal to remove hats in court, or to comply with orders to be subservient or subjugate to laws that implied some divinely driven hierarchy among humans. It is why many Quakers grew to be acknowledged among the foremost abolitionists and opponents to slavery. It is also why they became one of the Protestant sects most rooted in pacifism. After World War II, the Quakers, many of whom were conscientious objectors, would become the first religious organization to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. The treatment of Quakers as heretics worthy of persecution was frequent in both the Old and the New World, where a Quaker convert turned colonial by the name of William Penn set up shop in the 1680s. The recipient of land as repayment of debts the King of England owed to his father, Penn granted 1,000 acres in his new Province of Pennsylvania to the Quakers’ founder, vowing to establish a colony where inhabitants were free from religious persecution and unjust imprisonment. He also planned and developed the capital of the future United States, the city of Philadelphia. Penn insisted that Quaker grammar schools be open to all citizens. His William Penn Charter School (1689), the first Quaker school in America and the school that, today, claims a strapping fellow named Matt Ryan as an alum, offered education to all races as early as 1770. Growing schools like Penn Charter began to build campuses outside of Philadelphia’s original city proper. Westtown School (1799) was built for coeds to live in West Chester, a one-day carriage ride away from the secular influences of Philadelphia. Friends Central (1845) moved out of Center City Philly to a sprawling suburban campus in Wynnewood in 1925. Beginning in the 1960s, notably with Power Memorial in NYC, DeMatha in suburban Washington, D.C., Evan Turner’s St. Joseph’s (of Hoop Dreams fame) outside Chicago, and St. Anthony in Newark, Catholic schools began recruiting and enrolling standout African American prep athletes, especially in the desegregating sport of basketball. The idea was to gain positive notoriety, local prestige and, in the process of building renowned athletic programs, perhaps some new adherents as well. The successful religious-based basketball programs became powerhouses on a regional, state, and even national scale. The movement to cast larger nets for basketball talent extended not only to religious schools like Philly’s Roman Catholic High, but the secular suburban ones, too. Wynnewood, in Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion Township, is home to not only Friends Central, but the public Lower Merion High School that Kobe Bryant and his many jersey-rocking stans have made famous. It was probably around the time of young Kobe’s prominence that Friends Central, and other Quaker schools, decided their athletic programs needed to get in on the act. The first future NCAA Final Four hero to walk the halls at Friends Central was a pogo stick out of Philly named Hakim Warrick. The Quaker schools ran independently from the state’s interscholastic hoop tourneys at the time, yet in 2001, Warrick helped snag the school’s first Friends Schools League title since 1974 before going on to become a legend at Syracuse. The next year, they drew future Arizona Wildcat Mustafa Shakur away from a Philly public school named coincidentally after William Penn. By the end of that decade, Friends Central was riding the skills of Philly-kid Amile Jefferson to the first of four straight state independent-school titles, drawing the attention of scouts at Duke University. Jefferson would go on to become a three-time team captain for a Blue Devils squad that won the 2015 NCAA title. No Dookie would ever appear in more games than Jefferson. Coach K and company didn’t return to this particular well at Friends Central, leaving the state’s 2016 Class AA Player of the Year, senior De’Andre Hunter, who was raised in Northeast Philly near his Under Armour circuit-ball teammate (Hawks two-way contractor Charlie Brown) to settle for a less-accomplished ACC program at the University of Virginia. But Duke was not done with Quaker schools from the Quaker State. Sports Illustrated, while producing a full-length documentary in 2018, claimed the Westtown School’s basketball team featured, “perhaps the greatest starting five in HS basketball history,” which is lofty praise, indeed. The towering center Mo Bamba commanded everyone’s attention, but it was the super-shy introverted kid, about five inches smaller, that Westtown’s head coach could not stop raving about. “Cam (Reddish) is the hardest working player I’ve ever had,” said Westtown coach Seth Berger to SI, “it’s not close… You’ll never see him try a move that he hasn’t practiced in the gym by himself… He’s the best offensive player I’ve ever seen in high school… unquestionably, the best combination of skill, size, athleticism, and intelligence.” More lofty praise for Reddish, 2018’s Mr. Pennsylvania Basketball, who grew up in gritty Philly-burb Norristown, same as Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce’s wife. Once more, Coach K was sold. Outside of high school hoops, Hunter and Brown trained together under Sean Colson, a former Philly prep star and journeyman pro who had a cup of tea in the NBA back in 2001, with ten-day contracts in Atlanta and Houston. De'Andre took Hakim’s and Amile’s college-championship legacy at Friends Central and turned it into a lineage. He led his UVA Cavaliers on a wild-and-woolly March Madness journey to the 2019 NCAA title while avenging an embarrassing loss when the top-seeded Cavs had to play the 2018 tourney without him. Another accented DeAndre of sorts, the Atlanta Hawks’ DeAndre' Bembry, mentored the college star, Brown, who followed him down the road from Friends Central at St. Joseph’s University. Now they may very well be teammates on an NBA floor. All of these local connections add credence to those who suspect Travis Schlenk, the Hawks’ GM and new Prez of Basketball Ops, must have aced a Chemistry class or two back in his own school days. Even better, Schlenk came away with a bachelor’s in something called Human Ecology, the interdisciplinary study of humans’ relationships with their natural, social, and built environments. But I posit there’s more involved than mere Philly roots when Schlenk and the Hawks maneuvered to pair these particular lottery talents with Atlanta’s growing stable of blue-chip pro-spects. Quaker schools are not into the whole proselytizing business. But both Westtown and Friends Central do require their students to attend a weekly “Meeting for Worship.” It’s akin to a collective for a Protestant church service. Except here, the Meeting of Friends and students involves sitting together, generally in silence, for at least a half-hour. Exceptions may include a Meeting leader who presents a query, or food for thought, as a point of initiation. Occasionally, after many minutes of pondering, an attendee will be moved by their “inner light” to stand and offer thoughts, or poems or songs, they find to be beneficial to the attending community. After that, it’s back to the silent treatment until the Meeting concludes. If you’ve managed to read this far, you’d know I’d be toast at these Meetings. If you’ve heard about Reddish, and Hunter, being a bit reserved for the types of players pro teams tend to gravitate toward, I may suggest that weeks after weeks of mandatory Friends’ Meetings will do that to you. The incoming first-rounders are mistaken by those not in the know as bearing some detrimental sense of passivity, of deference, of timidity that won’t fare well as the spotlight shines even brighter at this level. Schlenk was in the Warriors’ war room back in 2012, when Draymond Green fell into Golden State’s lap at Pick #35. He understands that there is room in this league for the more caustic, extroverted opinion machines like Green, when those teammates commit to improving their own game, conditioning, and leadership skills along the way. Travis was also in the draft room a year prior, when a decision to take the more reserved, withdrawn Klay Thompson at Pick #11 was at hand. Declining to pass up on either player was key to the bonanza of basketball excellence that would soon support the Warriors’ young, nifty-dribbling, sweet-shooting point guard star. Thompson, and the reigning NBA Finals MVP, could be categorized as the “strong, silent types” whose game occasionally makes all the noise anyone needs to hear. That “silent, with an emphasis on strong” characterization could very well be the future cases for both Hunter and Reddish, and perhaps 2018-19 All-Rookie selection Kevin Huerter, too. In Atlanta, for now, they can leave the jersey-tugging and flexing and crowd-rousing to 2019 All-Star candidates Trae Young and John Collins. If Reddish read his press clippings and hogged the ball during his stay in Durham, maybe Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett don’t get enough chances to shine as play-finishers and become Top 3 picks in the 2019 Draft. Maybe the trio of frosh doesn’t outlast Hunter’s eventual Natty winner, UVA, to emerge with the ACC conference title, and advance to within a single point of the Final Four. Cam routinely deferred, stepping forward only when called upon in critical moments, and his team won 32 games anyway. Now, instead of a 6’6”, 270-pound rim-rocking behemoth at center stage obscuring Reddish, the marquee in Atlanta is for a 6’2”, 180-pound sprite who absolutely craves finding creative ways to share the ball with talented guys like him. For the lottery rooks, their common off-court tutelage brings even more to the table for the young Hawks. Quakers are well-renowned for their structured consensus-building and mutual decision-making process. The underlying assumption is the sense of a common humanity, pulling toward “unity” rather than “unanimity” when there’s a need to reach a resolution. The “Quaker-based” consensus model produces team members who are well-versed in the practice of active listening, ensuring that every voice, including those of dissenters, is heard and valued equally in discussion. Adversity looms for all young teams in the pros as they look to make the rugged, slippery climb toward relevance and contention. Rough stretches of quarters, of whole games, of whole weeks, await. Especially eager to face the Hawks, in the early going, are teams loaded with veteran players and highly experienced staff. Teams like the Pistons, a squad that broke even (41-41) under coach Dwane Casey in 2018-19 and secured an 8-seed, one that returns its star talents and most of its starters despite a 4-game first-round bludgeoning at the hands of their division rival Bucks. Fervent in their belief they’ll need vets couched around Blake Griffin (out until November, hammy and sore knee) and Andre Drummond to better compete, Detroit’s biggest offseason additions were Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris, and soon-to-be fellow tricenarian Tim Frazier. On draft day, they acquired Kevin Porter and veteran Tony Snell from the Bucks, then cast off the 19-year-old prospect, Porter, for a trove of Cleveland’s future second-rounders and cash. With eight regular-rotation Pistons having at least five NBA seasons under their belts (almost nine, had they hung on to our old friend Joe), they are a team that can stash youngsters like Sekou Doumbouya, Bruce Brown, Svi Mykhailiuk and Khyri Thomas, pinning their development to the team’s long-term hopes rather than their immediate ones. Highly regarded NBA rookies and sophomores in repetitive lottery locales like, say, New York, or Dallas last season, will be looked upon to seize the Singular Superstar mantle, solve challenges mostly on their own, and turn things around in ways their predecessor peers could not. They often must swim upstream against veteran squads like the Pistons despite, not so much with, the residual talents of flawed teammates that put them in this situation in the first place. Conversely, in Atlanta, Hunter and Reddish can demonstrate leadership through listening and collaboration, contributing to an even-keeled locker room. They will have a stern yet relatable taskmaster in Pierce bending their ears, and a host of veterans, including the venerable Vince Carter, to help get them acclimated with all the off-court rigors and on-court tricks of the trade. Barely a couple months younger than the 22-year-old Collins, Hunter enters the league with a maturity and composure one normally would not expect of his newbie cohorts. For Hawks fans in search of something a lot more tangible in the near term, the rookies, including second-round center Bruno Fernando, step onto the court as the team’s best bets to make immediate impacts on the defensive end of the floor, the side where the Hawks found themselves most woefully inadequate in 2018-19 (28th in 2018-19 Defensive Rating, 24th after the All-Star Break, 22nd in final 15 games of the season; NBA-worst 20.9 opponent points-per-48 off TOs). The young veterans like Collins (5th-best in 2018-19 NBA for Roll-Man Defensive points per possession, min. 40 games played), Young and Alex Len will be expected to continue making defensive strides this season. But the first-year performers could be the rising tides that float all the Hawks’ boats. While both will start tonight, as Huerter’s minutes are restrained due to preseason recovery, whichever of Hunter or Reddish does not remain in Atlanta’s precocious starting five could be one of the strongest rookie candidates for Sixth Man of the Year since the days of Ben Gordon. Surrounded by a host of experienced veterans, including Turner, Bembry, Jabari Parker, Chandler Parsons, Allen Crabbe and Damian Jones, the rookie reserve is sure to have a featured play-making role while also charged with inducing stops on the defensive end. There’s no certainty that the Hawks’ plans will bear fruit immediately, or even this season, in the form of a formidable postseason contender. Yet the consumer confidence in this team’s long-term potential, carried over from the promising close of last season, has arguably never been higher entering an NBA season. Fan skepticism around an NBA team coming off a 29-53 campaign, conversely, has never been lower. If the playoff payoff begins to arrive in 2020, at State Farm Arena, there will be a whole lotta quakin’ going on, in the ATL and beyond. In the months and years to come, if Hunter and Reddish have much to do with a sudden basketball breakthrough, with teammates discovering and embracing their “inner light” as they reshape themselves into legitimate contention, Hawks fans will have many a Friend to be thankful for. Just remember, before you hug any Quakers in appreciation for their contributions, they had absolutely nothing to do with oatmeal or motor oil. Let’s Go Hawks! (and you too, Five Stripes!) ~lw3
  9. 18 points
    Win-win situation for me. We get a legit backup PG and I can continue being too lazy to change my avatar.
  10. 18 points
    Let's just say Schlenk stole my idea.... I can GM
  11. 18 points
    "Hey, Google, what's the best medication for someone falling out of their chair?" ~lw3
  12. 18 points
    ATLANTA — Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young has partnered with RIP Medical Debt to relieve more than a million dollars in past due medical debts for people in Atlanta who cannot afford to pay them. “The city of Atlanta has welcomed me with open arms,” said Young. “Giving back to this community is extremely important to me. I hope these families can find a bit of relief knowing that their bills have been taken care of as we enter the New Year.” RIP Medical is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit started in 2014 by two former debt collectors that uses donated funds to purchase portfolios of bundled medical debt on the secondary debt market for pennies on the dollar. Content Continues Below It specifically buys accounts for those most in need (individuals: two times or below the federal poverty level, insolvent and/or with debts that are five percent or more of gross annual income). Young donated $10,000 through the Trae Young Foundation to target relief in the Greater Atlanta Area. Through this charitable act $1,059,186.39 of medical debt will be erased. The average amount abolished is $1,858 for 570 people. Those benefiting from relief will receive a branded, RIP yellow envelope, which landed in Atlanta on January 3.
  13. 18 points
    August 30, 1936. 83 years ago. Yep. It's the old man's birthday. The people on the Squawk are so nice to allow me to do this on my birthday. Since I claim the title of the oldest rat in the barn, I am allowed to get away with this. I consider all you posters on the Squawk as special friends. We all like our Hawks and share our thoughts and ideas, some of which are sincere and well thought out and some of which are wild. My two adopted Squawk grand kids, @JayBirdHawk and @Spud2nique usually refer to me as gramps. I'm hoping that this year's team shows big improvement. October 7, the first pre season game, is sneaking up on us. GO ATL HAWKS !!
  14. 17 points
    Team is 9 - 9 in their last 18 games. That's 22% of the season. We gone be a problem next year. Trae - Is Traemendous. Everyone thought he had an off game. Looks up boxscore, 25 pts, 6 rebounds, 10 assists on 48% from the field 37.5% from three with five turnovers. That's an excellent game by mere mortals. He took over in the 4th. John Collins - PROVED the Hawks can win with him. He gave us everything. I don't see how you can see what John did tonight and don't think we can win with him. 35 pts and 17 REBOUNDS on 72% shooting and 100% from three. Inject that ish into my veins! CAM F***ing Reddish - Ya'll this man has taken over quarters with his offense and defense. When he puts it together, @NBASupes might be getting the last laugh. It seems like when we need his offense he's giving it to us. He's getting the foul calls. His three ball is off a little, but if he keeps getting to the basket like he is and finishing, it won't matter. This kid is a special talent and we are starting to see it! Kevin Heurter - Y'all act like Kevin just didn't have a good game against Miami. Not everyone is on the same curve, but Kev has been playing pretty well over his last 20 or so games. Go look at the stats for yourselves, but there's too much overreaction here on Kevin. We have a good problem to have with Kevin and Cam. What a game! Good win!
  15. 17 points
    I always think some of the Huerter hate isn’t warranted. He wasn’t a lottery pick, but I think his expectations are as if he was one. To me, he has a good feel for the game. Even if he isn’t shooting well he finds a way to positively impact his team. If you don’t think he should start you have a good argument. Beyond that, I can’t find a reason why you wouldn’t want a guy with his skill set on our team.
  16. 17 points
    I think a lot of it is that they thought he would be a bust in the NBA due to his lack of defense, size and shot selection. Instead of seeing they were wrong by late Dec 2018 they instead have dug into their positions about him. So they hate him. And the more he does well the more crow they have to eat.
  17. 17 points
    The was already a funny meme before that announcement:
  18. 17 points
  19. 16 points
    Recap: John "we got to trade em" Collins: 35 pts - 17 rebs Trae "he needs to stop ball hogging" Young: 25 pts - 10 asst - 6 rebs Cam "he needs to start" Reddish: 20 pts - 6 rebs - 3 asst - 3 stls Huerter - ( +10 ) . . . lead the team, despite being 1 - 11 FG for 3 pts, but 4 HUGE steals.
  20. 16 points
  21. 16 points
    Extreme couponing
  22. 16 points
    You see Golden State Struggle right now. They have the same coach that had them being dominant. A coach cannot win if he doesn't have talent. It's not the coach. It's the lack of talent that we ought to address.
  23. 16 points
    Excuse me, Waiters. There appear to be flies in your soup! Senior Night is always a special affair in high school sports. It’s extra super-duper special anytime a senior gets his basketball jersey retired, on the spot, at a legendary program like Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy. This was a coronation of sorts for Jabari Parker, the Duke-bound Simeon senior who looked to be going places well beyond Durham in the years to come. After Jabari led the highest-ranked boys team in the nation to their fourth consecutive Illinois Class 4A state championship in 2013, the Wolverines couldn’t wait to lift his #22 into the rafters beside the honors for Derrick Rose, Bobby Simmons, and the late, great Benji Wilson. Another Simeon senior’s jersey, #20, was hoisted right up there alongside Parker’s, for the only other person to ever start as a freshman at the storied school, the Robin to his Batman. “1-2-3, CANCUN!” That’s always a funny joke directed at losing basketball teams. That is, unless you were Parker, who won an MVP trophy after guiding Team USA to gold during the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 tournament in the coastal Mexico town. The next summer, in Lithuania, despite being sidelined with a foot injury, Jabari joined Justise Winslow in helping secure another title for the Stars ‘n Stripes, this time at the 2012 FIBA World U17 World Championship. How many people can say they won multiple international basketball tournaments for their country, with a high school teammate right alongside him? In Parker’s case, that would be one of Winslow’s newest teammates. Coming into tonight’s face-off with Jabari’s Atlanta Hawks, Kendrick Nunn leads not only the Miami heat (7:30 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Southeast and 92.9 FM in ATL, Fox Sports Sun in MIA, NBATV), but all NBA rookies, in scoring (22.3 PPG; 57.6 2FG%, 42.1 3FG%). Nunn has been exactly what KB21 ordered, filling in aptly while the heat (2-1) had to proceed without their new fear-mongering leader Jimmy Butler (DNP, cajoling newborn into learning to walk), who likely returns tonight for his Miami debut, and a few other would-be contributors. Not even Dwyane Wade scored more points through his first three career games in Miami, and Kendrick is out to show he’ll be much more than a momentary Flash in the pan. While the one-and-done P.T.P.’er, Parker, was being fast-tracked for professional greatness, the now 6-foot-2 Nunn had to go the some-and-keep-going route. He carried Wilson’s Simeon legacy to Champaign by wearing #25 at Illinois. But his path through the Big Ten was derailed. The Illini dismissed the rising senior in 2016 after he pleaded guilty to a domestic violence-related battery charge. While coming to terms with his misdemeanor by conducting public service hours, Nunn enrolled at Michigan’s Oakland U. and sat out a transfer year. It was in 2017-18 that the Golden Grizzlie’s scoring exploits began popping up routinely on SportsCenter. On his way to earning Horizon League Player of the Year, Kendrick averaged a sparkling 25.9 PPG. Only one D-1A collegian could boast of a higher season average – Oklahoma’s Trae Young (27.4). Among the few to sink more than Trae’s 3.7 triples per game as a Sooner was Oakland’s Nunn (NCAA-high 4.5 3FGMs/game), hitting them at nearly a 40 percent clip, despite virtually every opposing Ho-League defender determined to stand in his way. While he went undrafted in 2018, Nunn did catch the attention of the Golden State Warriors, who had him in Summer League and training camp. Kendrick then showed he was no Banana Slug, filling up buckets quickly in Santa Cruz for the Dubs’ G-League team (19.3 PPG in 49 games, mostly as a reserve). Pat Riley tacked Nunn onto the heat roster at the close of 2018-19 with a non-guaranteed make-good deal, and Nunn has been making good ever since. He was named to the NBA’s All-Summer League First Team after leading the Summerheat with 21 PPG, 6.3 APG, and 5.0 RPG. He continued to wow onlookers throughout training camp and in preseason games to secure a final spot on Miami’s roster. Now, Kendrick is out to show any doubters – and one Miami teammate, in particular – that he can be Second To, well, you know. It could be that Dion Waiters is the fly in his own soup. I have loads of patience for players that need some extra time to work on their conditioning and aptitude, in preparation for an upcoming season. That is, if you’re a young butter-baller like Omari Spellman, having to adjust to a ramp-up in game frequency and minutes while training with and playing versus heightened levels of talent. Not so much for seven-plus-year “professionals,” like Waiters and James “Kung Fu Panda” Johnson, who played much of last season like they’re auditioning for Ice Cube’s scouts. A former Hawks training camp cut, Johnson got his act together as a useful reserve in Memphis and then Toronto, peaking with the heat in 2017 before re-upping with a four-year, $60 million deal ($16 million player option in 2020-21). With players like Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson out of the picture, heat coach Erik Spoelstra planned to pick up the tempo this season (MIA #1 in Pace right now). You can imagine his disappointment when his could-be starting power forward, an accomplished black belt, approached training camp with a physique much closer to Dolemite than Jim Kelly (be sure to check out Eddie Murphy’s new NSFW flick, btw, it’s fun). Hopefully not from trying a Van Damme stunt, Johnson (groin) will sit tonight’s game out, too. “He did not meet the requirements that he knew about and we set for him coming into training camp,” was about as much of a sugar-coating as Coach Spo, speaking to reporters after early October two-a-days, could offer in that situation. Spoelstra kept Johnson, who I assume bowed respectfully, away from the team, and he glued Waiters to the bench, a situation that left the latter moping on the sideline and online. Returning from two-and-a-half ankle-injury-plagued seasons, Waiters hit some clutch shots last season as Miami (39-43) rolled into April with a shot at reaching the playoffs. For that reason, Peon Dion thought he was owed Wade’s usage as a starter in Miami’s 2019-20 lineup, particularly considering not only Wade but Josh Richardson was gone, the latter following the deal to reel in Jimmy Buckets (18.2 PPG, 46.1 FG%, 33.8 3FG% in Philly). But there were integrals in the roster calculus that Waiters didn’t count on. Namely, Miami drafting auto-bucket guard Tyler Herro (51.9 preseason 3FG%) in the first round. Point guard Goran Dragic sticking around and playing reasonably well (19.0 PPG, 5.0 APG) after being dangled in trade offers throughout the offseason. And, the Flying Nunn swooping out of nowhere to clinch a spot not only on the roster, but in Spoelstra’s rotation. With Butler preparing to assert his authority on the squad and regain his four-time All-Star status, Spoelstra can afford to have Waiters ($24.8 million, guaranteed cash, owed through 2020-21) stewing on the side as much as he would like. “I would win,” Waiters snapped back at his Insta-haters online in a veiled shot at his coach and GM, “if I had Bron and Wade plus Bosh.” Right now, Spoelstra would rightly retort, so might the rookies, Herro and Nunn. He hit “send” on that missive after being suspended for Miami’s season-opener, what would be a 120-101 win over visiting Memphis where Nunn and Herro, starting, combined for 38 points on 16-for-32 shooting plus four steals, Nunn a team-best +27 on the night. “There were a number of unacceptable incidents this week,” said Riley of Dion’s announced suspension, although usually one stops at one unacceptable incident before reacting, “culminating with his unprofessional conduct on the bench,” with the coach during Miami’s preseason finale. “Eventually the truth will come to light,” Waiters Instagrammed, the well-worn go-to claim stated by people everyone but themselves can see are in the wrong. As it pertains to his NBA future, Waiters doesn’t yet know just how correct he sounds. Icky all-around play in short stints from Hawks center Alex Len left South Floridian John Collins (16 points, 8 boards, 1 unfortunate poster, 6 fouls) stranded on Embiid Island and Horford Isthmus last night. Still, it was a valiant effort where his Hawks fell two points short of Finals-contending Philadelphia last night in Atlanta. Johnny Bap is likely to get a SportsCenter reprieve tonight, what with highlight-reel jumping jack Derrick Jones (groin) sitting along with Johnson. Coach Lloyd Pierce has already deployed two rookies in his starting lineup, with appreciable defensive results. But on the eve of a back-to-back, and with a four-day respite coming after Thursday’s rematch with Miami back home, one wonders whether it’s already time for LP to put a third rook on the top line. Bruno Fernando (62.5 FG%) sits second on the Hawks (2-1) with 20.3 points per-36, just ahead of Jabari’s 19.4, while his 11.1 rebounds per-36 is the closest by far to Collins’ 11.1. He has demonstrated a willingness to move the ball, to take and make open threes, to contest at the rim, and to keep his defensive assignment from springing free (Alex…) on the path between the perimeter and the paint. Fernando (2 FTAs in 39 minutes) won’t be perfect from the jump, but as Cam Reddish can attest, the rookie isn’t supposed to be. Essential at this early juncture is to at least look like you’re putting in the effort to be effective. Contract Year Alex (4-for-16 FGs, 7.5 rebounds per-36) had Better Act Like Bruno, and soon. Don’t nobody tell ever me there aren’t good backup point guards in the Southeast Division! Isaiah Thomas is out here proving he’s not washed! Markelle Fultz is stepping up! Dragic has been a luxury backing up Nunn! Evan Turner. Devonte’ Graham, wowzers! Dewayne Dedmon is thankfully not doing much to make Hawks fans miss him while watching Len struggle. But Evan Turner (34 minutes through 3 games) will have to at least make us not miss Kent Bazemore. But for Achilles pain rendering him doubtful to play, tonight would have been a prime opportunity for the veteran to show he can be more than a defensive stopgap and an offensive caddy. Lest a hungry Tyrone Wallace comes along to give him the Nunn treatment. Point Bembry and Point Huerter will have to suffice, in the interim. The non-Trae Hawks cranked out 14 assists last night versus the Sixers, led by Len and Kevin Huerter with three apiece, to go with 14 turnovers. Whether he is a point guard or a point forward, there’s no point if Turner isn’t setting up productive plays as a balance against teams like Miami, where multiple players have been dropping dimes in Butler’s absence. Winslow’s 6.7 APG paces the heat, as he takes on a more consistent starring role (19.0 APG), but center Bam Adebayo (5.3 APG) has been right behind backup guard Dragic. Having quick-trigger jump-shooters like Herro (only 26.7 3FG% so far) and bigs Duncan Robinson, Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard at the ready helps their cause. But these are not sound fullcourt defenders, and Young and the Hawks’ backcourt ball-handlers should be able to spark the offense with quick-strike transition plays, whether Miami’s threes fall or not. Wade’s not around to chase shots down anymore, so opponents might as well keep Butler busy. Atlanta’s 13.6% transition frequency (a paltry 1.02 points per possession) ranks just ahead of Miami’s 13.5% for 25th in the league. Doghoused Dion will be back on the bench, the Sun-Sentinel and other beat writers report, in Miami’s return from a two-game road swing. But he will get the DNP-DUH treatment, out of uniform, and he is expected by Riley and Spoelstra not to cause any more intra-national incidents, as Nunn and Herro ball out in his stead. But that doesn’t mean Dion can’t accomplish anything while he… Waits. Say, has Life Center Academy in New Jersey retired his number, yet? Let’s Go Hawks! ~lw3
  24. 16 points
    Well they did get the # 1 pick and had a superstar with considerable trade value to jump start their rebuild. Griffin has done a good job no doubt, but compared to most rebuilds, he was dealt some pretty nice cards.
  25. 15 points
  26. 15 points
  27. 15 points
  28. 15 points
    The Hawks are now at the midway point of the season, capping off last night's 41st game with a win bringing our W-L record to 9-32. A win where we saw a glimpse of what our returning trio of Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and John Collins could be. It's been a rough season, suspensions, injuries, strength of schedules, youth, the aged ones, coaching mishaps, etc - all had their part to play. My biggest takeways (despite all the excuses above) that could have helped us get more that 9 wins: • The Veterans - not helpful, actually downright useless. Not in the locker room or on the court. • The Center Rotation - what's that you ask - yeah me to. • The Back-Up Point Guard - we needed one. • The Bench - badly needs upgrading. • The Defense The next 41 games begins Friday against the Spurs. 2020 so far has been reasonably good for the Hawks, we are playing better as a unit, just need to learn how to execute the game plan down the stretch. Travis Schlenk spoke about expectations for the 2nd half of the season here.. https://929thegame.radio.com/articles/travis-schlenk-on-traes-hamstring-and-how-to-grow-the-team What are you looking to see from this group as currently constructed? (for this exercise, I'm assuming NO SIGNIFICANT trades). As a team: Get and Stay Healthy, Reduce TOs, Communicate on defense, Rebound, Reduce the number of blowout games, continued growth and improvement from.our rookies. Individually: Trae - reduce TOs, defense, balance running the team with his affinity to score. Huerter - consistency, he now appears fully healthy Hunter - Stop dissapearing, increase rebounds. Reddish - get Lasik, seriously - his shooting needs work. Collins - I would like to see LP run some plays for him. I don't want him to fall in love with the 3 too much. Keep working on his defense - he's gotten adept at being a weakside shot blocker, work on team and man defense. Bruno - Welcome back! Hopefully he gets more playing time in the 2nd half of the season, I see no reason to not play him. Graham - take advantage of every opportunity. I like his game. Len - get and stay healthy and handle your bunnies. Bembry - dat boy gotta learn to finish at the rim. He gets there easily then it all goes to hell - bad pass or easy miss. Parker - get healthy, the jury is still out. Need his bench scoring Jones - we know he can catch lobs and dunk. Defense and rebound, not so much Vince - less playing time, please. Hopefully Parker is back soon and he'll soak up most of the PF minutes Crabbe - I really need him to up his 3pt percentages over the next 3 weeks so we can find a viable tease. The Aged Ones - Bye Bye We have 21 days - 11 games before the Trade Deadline. What will our record be? Home - Pistons, Raptors, Clippers, Wizards, Sixers, Celtics Away - Spurs, Thunder, Raptors, Mavericks, Timberwolves. I would like to see us win at least half of our home games and at least 1 on the road. Thoughts?
  29. 15 points
  30. 15 points
    You're the man @nbasupes. I appreciate all your info. I'm the cool guy at work breaking the Hawks news. I give you credit though.
  31. 15 points
    I guess cherry picking is different today because cherry picking from my understanding isn’t anything trae young does .
  32. 15 points
    What a wuss....having his girl lobby for him.
  33. 15 points
    Hey @Sothron, our Acie Law 2.0 not going to get a 2nd contract is an All Start starter in his 2nd year! I kid, I kid. Sorry Soth. 👻😬
  34. 15 points
    Schlank does ... something ... .. brangs bak a legacy-Hawk .... ... gets rid of Crabbe ....
  35. 15 points
    I experienced it LIVE, I almost shed a tear when he hit that 3, seriously!
  36. 15 points
  37. 15 points
    Why do you think us mods fought so hard for months to get the Squawk back?
  38. 14 points
    As a lifelong suffering Hawks fans... F'em all. I love that boy has some swagger to his game. He's not rubbing it in anyone's faces he's just excited he made a shot or a good play. No harm in that.
  39. 14 points
    Combine what @Sothron and @NBASupes said. Folks hate being wrong. They were all wrong about him. Every success he has is a slap in their collective faces. Him starting in the ASG, in year 2, is a gigantic FU to the establishment.
  40. 14 points
    He is crafty af but plays a game where he likes to bait for fouls like Lou Williams, Luka, and James Harden. People hate that style of play outside of Luka because he's you know... Honestly, it's a skill. That's pretty much it. Guys like that aren't fun for many fans while some love Trae because he plays like it's pickup Basketball. That's why kids love Trae Young. I know I would if I was a kid. He's the modern Iverson.
  41. 14 points
    Deadman's impact on defense is obvious. Welcome addition.
  42. 14 points
    For starters his name is cool AF. Can you imagine every time he was about to come into the game Ryan Cameron saying in a his deep booming voice, "Release the Dragan!" and then playing music from the Mortal Kombat movie. Would be epic.
  43. 14 points
    Just awesome! Supes said there will be a major bench overhaul. Though I never have ....I vow that ALL members (including myself) of the squawk never question @NBASupes or @thecampster sources ever again. This was a historic time and thread on the squawk! these two got so much right that they updated us with even before Woj Bombs took place! You CANNOT ask for more then that!...just can’t.
  44. 14 points
    That's what I'm talking about!!! If you would've told me last year that Bazemore would net us Capela, I would have laughed out loud....well, he sort of did!!! Great job, TS!!!!
  45. 14 points
    The Salty RealGm Tears - GLORIOUS!!!
  46. 14 points
    Can't stand coward-a** refs. Y'all freaking review the most innocuous nonsense in the freaking 2nd and 3rd quarters but have no interest in taking a look at that last play? You basically gave them the game with lopsided a** foul calls all game. Let Theis freaking mug Trae 4 times before getting what was a legit block. You let Heurter get hit upside the head on a wide a** open breakaway while you were staring right at it. You let ol' overrated a** Tatum get his numbers on like 1-for-17 shooting by parking his a** at the foul line all game. And on a legit block, albeit a bang-bang play, Collins gets called for a phantom a** foul on his way to landing square on his tailbone from 10ft in the air. Did I miss anything? Anyways, how can we expect to win a game like that playing 5-on-8? Ridiculous! And how in the actual F does this Selltics team have such a good record? They look janky as heyul with fake-a** Kobe Tatum and old-man-game-a** Jaylen Brown and floppin-a** Smart and ol' shell-of-his-former-self-alt-right-hairstyle-a** what's his name? Guess it pays to play every game with a 3-man advantage. Hopefully this sh*t catch up wit' they a** early in the playoffs.
  47. 14 points
    “Wet, Like I’m Book!” You ever dance to Mambo No. 8? Me neither. It’s Season No. 5 for Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker. When it comes to breaking through, as an All-Star, as a playoff-caliber standout, Booker hopes his Season No. 5 will be a huge, international hit. And rightfully so. NBA fans get in our feelings whenever our highly touted draft picks aren’t ready-made stars, or at least reliable contributors, fresh out of the box after five games, five weeks, five months. Our teams popped the champagne over the summer that whatever woes they’ve suffered over the past few years are firmly behind us, because The Commish shook your hand and handed you some (other) team’s baseball cap. No matter whether you’ve reached legal drinking age, the hangover effect for us fans arrives quickly. I like to pretend I’m more of a teetotaling, sober, patient fan. But I’m also of the strident opinion that by Season No. 5, if you, hyped Lottery pick, haven’t emerged as a legitimate NBA star and a franchise face (for good reasons) for your team, if you are not playing in lockstep with a stable management and coaching regime by then, well, I’m sorry, that plan’s just not going to work out for you. A career of journeyman travels across the states and provinces of North America, hardball negotiations for trade-bait contracts, and fans annually heralding some future draftee as your replacement awaits. The 13th pick from the 2015 Draft, Booker (25.3 PPG; 51.0 3FG%, 10th in NBA, say NOTHING to him about Evansville) has poured in the second-most points of his Draft class, and the second-most assists. He ought to be a rockstar in 28 NBA cities and several nations by now. Instead, he’s been more of a very good, one-note local lounge singer. Partially, that’s because of being cursed with competing in the wrong Conference for upstart young stars. More significant, it’s due to having already cycled through four coaching headmasters (Jeff Hornacek, Earl Watson, Jay Triano, Igor Kokoskov) during his first half-decade in the pros. Plus, a pair of 30-ish executives who didn’t quite know what they were doing. (“Hold the phone. Are we getting Dillon, MarShon, or Mel Brooks?”) Fortunately, the book hasn’t closed shut on D-Book yet, because his second Suns GM, James Jones, has begun to get the gist of his duties. Beginning with the offseason ouster of Igor, his prior’s hire, and subsequent offer to Monty Williams to become head honcho. “I said to (Devin) that, ‘I want to help you become a household name. Right now, you aren’t because of all the organizational stuff,” said Williams, who offers his Full Monty critique tastefully but without sugarcoating. “But you have the talent.” Williams knows a thing or two about coaching talent. At post-Katrina New Orleans, Coach Monty bridged Chris Paul’s search for the exits and the arrival of #1 pick Anthony Davis. His Season No. 5 as head coach of the Hornicans began with a caveat by a desperate, aging owner. Make the postseason, or else. Mission accomplished – 45 wins in 2014-15, despite Davis and a slew of starters missing between a dozen and 40 games, despite plugging Omer Asik at center to appease AD’s wish not to shoulder the burdens of a starting five – and a competitive sweep at the hands of the 67-win eventual NBA champs. Job secured. Or, so he thought. The retired nine-year NBA vet, having gained extra recognition around the league as a player’s coach after he and his wife went above-and-beyond to counsel a grieving Ryan Anderson, was on the outs, as New Orleans chased after the eventual champs’ lead assistant to take over. Fate dealt a more severe blow to Williams mere months after taking an associate head coach job with Russ-and-KD’s Thunder, when his wife was killed in OKC, and several kids injured, by a lane-crossing driver causing a head-on accident. Monty took time off, then accepted a front-office gig with the Spurs. But he knew his late wife would want him to continue pursuing his passion to be an NBA head coach again. After one season lead-assisting coach Brett Brown and Ben-and-Joel’s Sixers, he accepted the open gig in Phoenix. It was offered to him by Jones, who played in Portland when Williams was an assistant there. Having had to endure the CP3-to-LA saga(s), the knowledge that Booker has been devoted to see things through in Arizona has made it easier for Williams to accept auto-sigged checks from beleaguered owner Robert Sarver. Toward him and his teammates, Devin feels the devotion in return. “The culture around, you can feel it. You can feel it in the air. It started with Monty,” Booker told The Undefeated about his newest head coach. “His voice travels. I’ve been in situations where things coaches say is kind of discussed amongst players. But with Monty, it’s not like that. We all believe in him. He believes in us all the same. It’s really contagious.” Jones’ predecessor, Ryan McDonough, gambled when he sought out Jazz assistant Kokoskov, way-too-coincidentally, Lu Know Who’s Slovenian national coach, to take the reins a mere month before the 2018 Draft. But to the extent that it’s possible to get cold feet in the PHX, the Suns weren’t convinced that Doncic’s threats to stay at Real Madrid if he didn’t wind up with a team to his liking was mere bluffing. They instead went big with Deandre Ayton, who was thrilled just to get people’s minds off whatever cash Arizona’s Sean Miller was offering him under the table, at #1. McDon’tneedapointguard’s failings to secure a reliable ballhandler in the 2018 Draft, or via free agency, made Sarver’s urge to replace the GM with his handpicked successor in Jones, right as last season was to begin, a justifiable one. The Suns having drafted anyone other than Luka in the Lottery sealed Igor’s fate before it could really get started. Igor’s communication challenges with players, to say nothing of the media, made the quest to finish anything better than 19-63 a tall order. The upgrade to Williams has Phoenix (6-4) well on their way to leaving last season’s win total in the dust. Here at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Tuesday, Monty’s young guns stayed neck-and-neck with the vaunted Lakers until the closing minutes, when a trio of consecutive three-bombs by LeBron and Kyle Kuzma blotted out the Suns. They started the season with a bang, a 29-point home blowout of Sacramento, leaving many to wonder what had gotten into Ayton (18-and-11 plus 4 blocks). Ayton figured people would wonder, too, but his gamble to obscure whatever that was with a diuretic blew up on him (don’t laugh, John Collins; you got suspended for 25 games, too). Fortunately for Deandre, Jones and the Suns planned ahead. A top-7-protected first rounder from Phoenix pried former Al Horford backup Aron Baynes, plus developmental guard Ty Jerome (out, sprained ankle), from the Celtics during the summer. Eager to show he picked up a few tricks from his time with Boston (21-for-61 on threes last year with the Cs), Baynes has already passed his 3FG volume from last season, sinking half of his 44 attempts in just ten games. Aron has gone 10-for-18 from downtown during the first four contests in Phoenix’s six-game homestand, which continues tonight against the Atlanta Hawks (9 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Southeast and 92.9 FM in ATL, Fox Sports Arizona), and concludes next Monday with Boston in town. This past Sunday, the host Suns sunk a barrage of triples (19-for-42 3FGs) to beat the brakes off Brooklyn, 138-112. A team that finished last season (32.9 3FG% in 2018-19), and the 21-61 season before that (33.4 3FG% in 2017-18), dead-last in the league in three-point accuracy is flipping the script under Williams’ direction (38.8 team 3FG%, 3rd in NBA). 2018’s Draft saw the Suns trade back up into the Lottery to grab Mikal Bridges, a scrappy defensive wing who didn’t add much to the equation from the perimeter. This season, Jones and the Suns traded out of the Lottery altogether, passing up the opportunity to draft one Cameron to take the less-heralded, sweeter-shooting Cameron Johnson (3-for-8 3FGs vs. LAL on Tuesday; 40.0 3FG%) instead, getting Dario Saric (37.5 3FG%) from Minnesota as a throw-in. Aside from Ayton, who can’t do so yet, everybody’s gotten into the floor-spreading craze. Ricky Rubio (8.8 APG, highest average by any Sun since Steve Nash in 2011-12; 21-and-10 vs. LAL) was brought in by Jones to alleviate Booker and the Suns’ longstanding play-setting and defensive issues, not as much for his outside shooting prowess. But even his 1.3 triples per game, at a 40 percent clip, are currently career highs. Of the eight most active Suns in Williams’ rotations, all but Bridges are lofting three 3FG attempts per game, and all beside Bridges and Frank Kaminsky are hitting at a 35 percent clip or better. The availability of shooting threats across the floor at all times, and the reduced need to dribble the ball into oblivion, allows Booker to diversify his offensive approach. The reliability of perimeter shooters allows the Suns’ frontcourt to get back in defensive sets (PHX 6th in D-Reb%; 27th in O-Reb%) instead of crashing the offensive glass and risking exposure in transition (1.07 opp. points per transition possession, 9th-best in NBA; 24th last season). Stifling would-be shooters around the three-point arc, or at least knowing which personnel to leave open (quit hacking people, Nik the Slick), has been one of the fortes on the young season for Atlanta (4-6). Only foes of Miami (NBA-best 28.9 opp. 3FG%) and the Hawks (32.8 opp. 3FG%, 7th-best in NBA) have made less than a third of their long-distance attempts while taking 35 or more of them per game. The Nuggets were 11-for-41 on Tuesday night, and any defensive performance approaching this one while minimizing second-chance opportunities would allow Atlanta a chance to steal a second-straight road game. The iron is unkind to almost anyone on the Hawks not named Trae Young (8-for-13 3FGs @ DEN) or Kevin Huerter (3-for-3 3FGs, out for at least today with a shoulder injury). It’s a lot easier fighting for first-time backcourt All-Star fan votes when your surname begins with, say, a ‘B’, as opposed to a ‘Y’. Up-and-coming stars like Young have to make discerning fans want to scroll all the way down to check the box next to their names, and that means branding brains with a string of virtuoso performances like he had a couple days ago (42 points, 8-for-13 3FGs, 8-for-11 FTs, 11 assists @ DEN). But Young’s and Huerter’s Hawkmates could connect on just 4 of 18 attempts (half of those by rookie De’Andre Hunter) during Tuesday’s rousing 125-121 win in the Rocky Mountain air. The Suns know of Trae’s teammates’ desire to get open inside to compensate, particularly the rim-stapling Jabari Parker (67.7 2FG%, 2nd in NBA; 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists @ DEN), a guy who never got to see Season No. 5 in Milwaukee, or even No. 2 in Chicago. Lacking a shotblocker with Ayton waitin’, Phoenix will scrap and claw for steals but commit a lot of fouls (24.8 personals per-48, second-most in NBA). So Atlanta (22-for-34 FTs @ DEN) will have to avoid giving certain Squawkers heartburn troubles tonight by sinking the free throws they’re handed. I’ll skip the chimichangas, thanks. It’s notable that the second-leading free throw shooter (4-for-8 FTs) during the Hawks’ win over Denver is faintly familiar around Phoenix. “I wish I would have left after that third year,” with the Suns, said Alex Len, Pick No. 5 in 2013’s Draft, to Amico Hoops this past summer. By Season No. 5 of forlorn under-development with the club that made him their highest pick since 1987’s Armen Gilliam, Len was already perceived around Phoenix and the league as a lost cause. Deserted in the desert, the 2018 free agent approached this season, as an incumbent starter in Atlanta, as “The happiest I’ve been in a while.” Len suffered under the same instability that Booker had to deal with in Phoenix. But, at least for the time being, Len has benefited from a stable combo of coaching, conditioning and management that won’t be so easy to give up on him. Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce pointed at himself, not Len, for the latter’s brutal offensive struggles with the starting unit, finding him better suited as a reserve. Len rewarded LP and the Hawks with 17 vital points (6-for-8 FGs), 7 rebounds and a +18 plus-minus in 22 bench minutes on Tuesday. Bench scoring comes at a premium with Parker starting, in place of Collins, and several veterans under load oops did I say that aloud I mean injury management. But for four missed freebies, Alex would have been Atlanta’s third 20-point scorer on that night. Sarver’s old Suns regime could not have foreseen a performance like that from him, not in the NBA, and certainly not beyond Season No. 5. A couple years behind the Hawks’ organization, due to citywide skepticism, Sarver eventually finagled a $230 million arena renovation deal out of the city of Phoenix. Yesterday, he, Williams and Jones were on hand to break ground on a $45 million intown training complex for the team. Sarver hopes that, with the Jones-Williams pairing and Booker, armed with the max contract extension he signed in 2018, locked in, his Suns can get Ayton back soon and, with the improved supporting cast, surprise many with a charge toward the Suns’ first Western Conference playoff appearance in a decade. As for Devin, this is a make-or-break season to confirm his long-term worth in The Association. Phoenix’s prime All-Star prospect and All-NBA hopeful, Booker can make his owner, the GM, the new coach, the facility deals, and everyone around them smell much better to his team’s faithful fanbase. Time, for Booker, is of the essence. Why? Ever heard of Chanel No. 6? Exactly. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Season No. 5! Let’s Go Hawks! ~lw3
  48. 14 points
    There were like 20 rookies that looked better than Trae at this time last year. Let's hold our horses on making declarations on rookies when they are just starting to learn what the NBA is.
  49. 14 points
    Trae is my favorite Hawk of all time. I love his game
  50. 14 points
    “I Know I’ve Been Changed.” He poured his heart and soul into this theatrical production. His life savings, too, such as it was. The conceptual vision of this 22-year-old aspiring playwright, a recent arrival to Atlanta who escaped an abusive home life in New Orleans, was a story of spirit overcoming unspeakable adversities and outlasting one’s own depravities. That story was finally coming to fruition, live, on a stage, at a community theater not far from his meager downtown studio apartment off Peachtree Street. The play opened to an audience of 30 people, the premiere being the maximum draw, and to lackluster local reviews. Out of all 12,000 dollars he arrived with from Louisiana, the aspiring playwright was soon penniless and kicked out into the streets of Atlanta. Again. And not for the last time. He could have stopped there, in the mid-1990s, as a construction worker and used car salesperson who once tried his hand at producing inspirational stage entertainment. It would have made for a nice story to share at a watering hole someday. But Tyler Perry was not through. Instead, he spent the next six years re-writing and re-engineering his opus. The breakthrough came with what Perry perceived as his final big gamble, presenting the play at the House of Blues, a church-repurposed venue at the seedy edge of downtown that was itself trying to establish a foothold. Through better word-of-mouth marketing and more compelling weaves of dramatic and comedic scenes, Perry and the House of Blues had a huge local hit, drawing lines around the corner to buy tickets. He could have stopped there, that guy who had a boffo play downtown that one time. He was not through. As the show moved onto the Chitlin’ Circuit across the country, Perry kept right on writing, armed with a formula as welcomed by his loyal consumers as anything Coca Cola ever concocted. Audiences soon knew, if the production’s title began with “Tyler Perry’s…”, they were in for a rip-roaring, tissue-tearing, get-up-on-your-feet treat. No matter the critical reviews, audiences came in droves. Newer plays, bigger venues. New stars created by him, A-List stars who craved to associate with him. People from all walks of life -- the churches, the comedy clubs, comeback actors and award winners, single moms and great grandmoms -- wanted to grab a hold of this Tyler Perry fella. He wasn’t done. He slapped on a grandmotherly wig and muumuu getup that was provocatively popular in his plays, and he soon ventured into filmmaking. And later, onto television, helping Oprah’s fledgling cable network rise up off the viewership mat with one salacious TV series after another. Most of this box-office-busting, ratings-bonanza hit-making, carried on while Hollywood and Broadway stood on the outside, stunned by the singular boldness of Perry’s independent spirit. In short order, the stuffed shirts at the big production studios had made it clear -- they didn’t much want Tyler Perry around. Conversely, Tyler Perry made it clear -- he didn’t much need Hollywood around him. He was a self-made success, at multiple forms of entertainment, pretty much despite them. This past month, he earned his Walk of Fame star anyway. “For anyone whose dreams may be on life support,” Perry addressed the crowd, I want you to walk past this star, in particular, and know that I’ve been there.” As he clutched his Ultimate Icon trophy at this year’s BET Awards ceremony, Perry offered up words of wisdom for persons of color striving for better representation in American media. “While you’re fighting for a seat at the table,” Perry told them, “I’ll be down in Atlanta building my own.” Where, precisely? At a huge swath of what was previously Fort MacPherson, a closed US Army base that, at the time of the Civil War, sited Confederate soldiers, “plotting and planning,” he said, “on how to keep 3.9 million Negroes enslaved.” “Now,” the once broke and homeless Atlanta resident noted, to thunderous applause, “that land is owned… by one Negro.” At 330 acres, Tyler Perry Studios is bigger, in land area, than Hollywood’s Warner Bros., Walt Disney Studios, and Paramount Pictures. Combined. Will his film studio one day become bigger in other respects, too? Don’t count him out. The new state highway sign, directing drivers to Tyler Perry Studios, is adjacent to the longstanding sign for Sylvan Road, an Atlanta street that was the site of one of the apartments that evicted him just over two decades ago. Headed down the wrong road, Tyler’s life could have gone one way. Instead, he figured out how to make his own lane. Today, he’s making a way for many others. Another local who once made a brief living selling cars? How about RuPaul Andre Charles? Kicked out of high school in San Diego, ostensibly, for being truant, Charles moved east with his sister and brother-in-law, working for six years in the family auto sales business. He didn’t graduate here in Atlanta, either, but it was at the local high school’s performing arts program where he found his calling. “You can call me, ‘he’. You can call me, ‘she’. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee,” one of RuPaul’s now-famous lines go, “I don’t care! Just as long as you call ME.” Ru’s willful embrace of gender-bending for purposes of entertainment was not entirely a transcendent thing in NYC, or LA. But he found a way to make himself stand out even amongst those in the burgeoning drag scene of Midtown Atlanta. It is this city’s glitzy gumbo pot of condo and office towers now. But it was the drag performers of the 1980s, and RuPaul notably, that helped rambunctious Midtown claim its counter-cultural ascendancy. “RuPaul is RED HOT” was the sign repeatedly plastered on dumpsters behind the neighborhood’s withered apartment dwellings. Ru would know, because she’s the one who put them there, after moving into a sublet apartment blocks away from the wild all-night dance clubs and stages that lined this once-abandoned stretch of Peachtree Street. She also promoted herself through a weekly video show on public-access TV, and through his own filmmaking, “these trashy little movies on VHS,” Ru explained. “Atlanta gave me the freedom to produce that kind of stuff.” While most envision Ru these days with glamourous wigs and glittery attire, in the 1980s, he was this town’s androgynous punk-drag performer. The frontperson for a local punk-rock band called Wee Wee Pole, Ru stood in tall contrast to the expected “norms”, if you will, of Southern-style drag presentation as The Genteel Women of Tara. He could have stopped there, that guy who once headlined standing-room-only, late-night shows in a now gentrified part of town, back in the 1980s. She could have stopped after moving to New York City and emerging quickly as the Queen of Manhattan. He could have stopped at being that partying guy in the crowd with the Afro-wig who carried the day for Athens band The B-52’s iconic “Love Shack” music video. Or, as the Supermodel who had just one thing to say – “You better WORK!” – in the chart-busting dance hit of her own in the early 1990s. As the first male to hold a modeling contract for a major cosmetics line. As TV’s first openly gay national talk show host. But, no. RuPaul wasn’t through. America’s Biggest Drag Superstar made it her mission to find America’s Next Drag Superstar. Putting the campy drama of hard-working drag queens front-and-center on the small screen while merging America’s Next Top Model with Project Runway, RuPaul’s Drag Race was born in 2009. A decade later, the Emmy-winning reality competition show continues to soar annually in ratings and Twitter reactions as it anchors its Viacom cable channels. Its internationally inspirational host has vaulted, meanwhile, from a counter-cultural icon to a cross-cultural one. Around the corner from her modest old apartment, RuPaul returns to Midtown, the neighborhood she put on the global map, in a few weeks, this time bringing her Drag Race World Tour to Atlanta Symphony Hall. “I never set out to be a role model,” Ru admitted to Vogue UK. “I may have set out to be a Super model, but not a role model. But I accept the responsibility and it’s an honor.” Who quits Georgia Tech in their senior year to go to work? You might, if your dad had some pull as a local executive at computing giant IBM in the 1980s. But who, a few years later, quits IBM in the 1980s… IBM!... to pursue a career in… comedy tours??? You might be Jeff Foxworthy, a kid who grew up in the little ol’ town of Hapeville in the shadow of Atlanta’s big ol’ airport. Jeff’s co-workers prodded the jovial mainframe repair technician to enter the Great Southeastern Laugh-Off competition, at a comedy club behind a diner north of Buckhead. He entered, and he “won”… second place. He was inspired enough, by this victorious-ish reception, to leave those green blinking cursors and heavy plastic boxes behind, for good. But, here’s the rub. The “professional” comedy world, such as it was, didn’t look fondly upon those who endeavored below the Mason-Dixon line. Intellectualism and wit were not seen as likely strong suits for Southerners who ventured into standup. Even if you were a clever young man who did just fine at Georgia Tech and IBM, to the rest of the world, there was always that drawl that had people seeing you as a country bumpkin and selling you short. “I think it was 1987,” Jeff recalled to MLive a couple years ago. “They were kidding me because I had this Southern accent.” Foxworthy’s ventures had him joining other comedians at standup venues outside Detroit, this time behind a bowling emporium. “I was wearing blue jeans and cowboy boots and drove a pickup truck. They were kidding me about being a redneck.” Little did these jokester upstarts know what they were about to unearth. “I said, ‘Come, look out the window. If you don’t think you have rednecks in Michigan, look. People are valet parking… in the bowling alley!’” He made his point, with his uniquely humorous style. But from that moment on, he was done with pulling his punchlines. “I went back to the hotel that night and said, ‘I know what I am but, apparently, a lot of people don’t.’ And I wrote, ’10 Ways to Tell How You Might Be a Redneck,’ never thinking it was going to be a book.” “From that first night, not only did people laugh, they were pointing at each other.” The best comedians offer up plenty of self-effacing humor, but offer audiences opportunities to laugh about themselves, and discover the silly commonalities they share with strangers. His “You Might Be a Redneck, If…” one-liners were not merely comedy gold. His first two “Redneck” comedy albums went certified Platinum. That success spawned an eponymous TV sitcom, “The Jeff Foxworthy Show,” that was promptly cancelled by network execs who felt his routines were “too Southern,” he was told, for a national audience. (“Has ANYONE heard me TALK?”, he later quipped to his standup audiences). He could have stopped there, that guy who made people cackle with an unending litany of redneck jokes. But Jeff Foxworthy was not done. More Grammy-nominated comedy albums were in the offing. Country music awards host, nationally syndicated radio show host. A voiceover for animated movies. Writing an autobiography, writing a cookbook, writing Redneck Dictionaries. 28 books authored… and counting. Having long demonstrated he was, indeed, Smarter Than A 5th Grader, Jeff became a primetime game-show host, daring contestants and grade-schoolers to flex their brains, too. Need a Bible-quiz game show host? Jeff’s got you covered. “Southern-fried” and “common-man” comedy was now firmly in demand, and through the wildly popular “Blue Collar Comedy Tour,” Foxworthy convened several of his comedian friends who would become icons by their own right. Larry the Cable Guy? Ron White? Bill Engvall? Did you doubt they would all become household names and sought-out celebrities by the mid-2000s? Here’s your sign. The guy whose professional future was once questioned and belittled has become the top-selling comedy recording artist in history. All the while, over the past decade, Foxworthy has toiled as an advocate for the homeless. Working with Atlanta Mission, he arrives with Chick-fil-A biscuits in the mornings, holds Bible study sessions for hundreds of homeless men, and promises support with housing and family assistance for those making progress in recovering from drug and/or alcohol addictions. “I’ve always had a heart for the underdog,” Jeff explained to First Coast News, “because I’m an underdog, where I came from. I just don’t think you can judge somebody, based on the quality of their shirt or their shoes, because you don’t know what beats in their heart underneath.” How about one more underdog? “I would be over sleeping on the floor,” said Montero Lamar Hill, a former resident of the Bankhead Courts projects, and a recent graduate of Lithia Springs High, of his sister’s house in Atlanta. “I didn’t want to come back home, because I knew my parents would be mad at me.” Montero’s story of having struggled to make ends meet, working low-wage gigs at Zaxby’s and Six Flags after dropping out of college (unlike rising Tech senior Foxworthy, Hill left West Georgia U. as a freshman) to become a rapper, isn’t ground-breaking stuff, not in this day and age. Yet this newly 20-year-old’s particular tale was being published by Time magazine, for their cover story, and with good reason. 2019, A.D., IS The Year of Lil Nas X. Like it or not. Without a doubt, many are in the “not” column when it pertains to the out-of-nowhere, self-made artist with a “country-trap” blockbuster hit. But the “nots” have found themselves increasingly too small to matter, their shrills and shrieks drowned out by popular demand. Hill, like legions of teens before and soon-to-follow, craved to become an Internet sensation. Also, like 99.99999% of them, he just couldn’t quite figure out how. Facebook, Vine, Twitter, Soundcloud, making memes, making songs, fashioning himself a foremost Nicki Minaj stan. “At first, I was just bored, like, ‘Hey, Twitter, I made a song,” he told Teen Vogue. “But I’m like, ‘Wait, this is really hard.’” “A lot of it was me trying to be something that people would like, instead of making music I would like.” That revelation was the first crack in the dam. But time was running out with his sis, who was also hosting two other siblings (including a brother fresh out from prison) while raising kids of her own. Her warning to Montero that he would soon be kicked out… Where is he gonna go? What is he gonna do?... spurred, if you will, him to sit on her back porch and listen to a generic country-trap beat that prompted the now famous lyrics to “Old Town Road”. He’ll tell you exactly what he’s gonna do, and you’ll find yourself singing the lyrics, recorded in a modest Atlanta studio in less than one hour for $20, right in tune with him. Many wannabe influencers and artists struggle to navigate the changing tides of the Internet streaming age, but Hill seems to have figured out how to surf the waves without having to rent a board. Listing his song as a country tune on SoundCloud and iTunes, he was able to stand out in ways he would not under the crowded Hip Hop format. When “Old Town Road” caught a high tide of eager young ears on the video-making app TikTok (Yes, we all know where TikTok is from, don’t blame LeBron), the old-school radio industry couldn’t avoid it. Some country stations copped the infectious song off the Internet for casual airplay, before Hill could even find himself a record label to rep him. Listeners slammed radio stations’ phone lines and inboxes, desperate to find the song and the mystery artist. But how Lil Nas X wound up getting Billboard’s attention was no fault of his own. Trying to stay ahead of the game, the music-ranking company recently began tracking much more than radio airplay, applying weights to better account for Internet-streamed songs and albums in its weekly “Hot 100” lists. Thanks largely to those strategic changes, Billboard execs woke one March morning to find an ATL-area kid’s online jam debuting on the Hot 100 (#83), the Hot R&B/Hip Hop chart (#36), and the Hot Country Songs (#19) chart. All at the same time. Someone in Nashville was not thrilled with this particular crossover song, not at all. In their infinite wisdom, Billboard surreptitiously omitted it from the latter list the following week. They thought they had done so neatly and quietly enough. But the unexplained absence was too conspicuous to avoid the firestorm of controversy and “country-splaining” that ensued. It’s not “country” enough, they said. Doesn’t have enough of the right “elements” for the genre, they said, or maybe too much of those “other” elements. Mama, please, don’t let your babies grow up to be music execs. If you ever want something remotely interesting to become insatiably popular, get it labeled, “That Thing That THEY Don’t Want You to See/Hear/Taste!” Hill could have stopped there, as that kid that created a brief spell of buzz with his little ditty on the Interwebs. But Lil Nas X was far from done. He formed an alliance with Billy Ray Cyrus, the famous country singer who knows a thing about one-hit-wonders and offered support, and the resulting “OTR” remix became a bigger banger than the original. Because of Billboard’s rule, lumping remixes in with original songs, “Old Town Road” went stratospheric. More remixes and collabs with a diverse range of artists would soon follow, adding fuel to an unquenchable fire. DJ Diplo. Atlanta rapper Young Thug. The Yodeling Kid, Mason Ramsey. A K-pop rapper from BTS (“Seoul Town Road”). In the space of months, Montero Hill went from a random, struggling young adult stringing out his time in his sister’s backyard to the singular producer of the world’s longest-running song on the Hot 100 (19 weeks at the #1 spot) since Billboard began the chart in 1958. He has been hauling in golden accolades – this year’s MTV Video Music Award for Song of the Year, the Teen Choice Award for best R&B/Hip Hop Song, the BET Hip Hop Award for Single of the Year and Best Collab (with Cyrus). Next month, he’ll be the first out gay man to be a nominee at country music’s CMA awards. All this, from making music he likes, not following some bigwig’s time-tested formulae. “Well, to me, Lil Nas X is my mic drop moment.” So says Ken Burns – yes, That Guy – fresh off of producing his latest major PBS documentary epic, Country Music. “We spend eight episodes and sixteen and a half hours talking about the fact that country music has never been one thing… and here we are, in a new modern age that we’re not touching, with all these classic, binary arguments about Billboard not listing [“Old Town Road”] on the Country chart, and it turns out to be not just the #1 Country hit, but the #1 single, period. And it’s a black, gay rapper!” “It just is proving,” Burns suggests, “that all of those cycles that we have been reporting on across the decades – all of the tensions in country music of race, class, poverty, gender, creativity versus commerce, geography – are still going on.” Only in America, many rightfully exclaim. But an important corollary seems increasingly hard to disavow: Only from Atlanta. It’s here where, as Burns alludes, people of many backgrounds flex their creativity to conquer commerce, transcending societal norms, the “it’s not your turn”-isms, the “you’re not people’s type”-isms, the “there’s only one way to go about it”-isms. Everyday people defying convention, succeeding spectacularly, and steering their own paths, despite the whims of self-styled kingmakers and queenmakers. The mythological Horatio Alger tales that inspired people in the Gilded Age, centuries ago, are happening, in real life, in real time. These “rags to riches” stories come about in a myriad of ways Alger himself could never have dreamed up, happening to individuals those of Alger’s ilk could never have envisioned. Notably, they’re happening in a place – Atlanta – whose own rise, as a modern metropolis that stands quite well on its own merits, could not be grasped by those who attribute, “making it in America,” to the bright lights of old megalopolises like New York, Chicago or L.A. Julia Roberts. Spike Lee. d*ck Van Dyke. Ryan Seacrest. Clyde Frazier. Clark Howard. Chris Tucker. Most recently, Coco Gauff. These are names people across the country, if not around the globe, know quite well, and most don’t know them by their leaner years in the Atlanta area. Some were born in metropolitan Atlanta. Some were transplants. Some had more means than others. But even people who have long lived here don’t recognize how significant the Atlanta region was, as the definitive Proving Ground for the world-renowned celebrities these people would become. Of The ATL, today’s Sinatra would croon, “Before you even try to make it anywhere, figure out how to make it, here.” “We full!” Many folks already in the Atlanta area, including transplants from generations ago, still stand aghast at how many young people flock here to stay, thousands of newbies striking out on their own, others with kids or whole nuclear families in tow. Some are destitute and desperate; some are striving to gain a foothold in America for the first time; some are kids eager to get out from under their well-made families’ thumbs. Folks from the outside looking in generally don’t get it, either. If suns-out, guns-and-buns-out is your scene, there are many more tropical and coastal climes, with hotties in tanks and sundresses, to choose from. There are more established financial centers, bigger entertainment and media hubs, infinitely more affordable places to live. Not only are there no palm trees, or money growing on trees, you can’t even pick peaches off the street trees here. So, what’s the big deal about Coming To ATL? Can't you just go to Disney World if you want to make your dreams come true? The skeptics are unable to see the mysticism that these young hopefuls do, what brings the storylines of some of America’s most successful self-made people to fruition. Not everyone, or even most citizens, achieve their dreams here. But there are those who have the best combination of unique talent, drive, and fortitude. For that subset, it is the ATL, and the synergy amongst its residents, that bears better fruit than anywhere else they could conceivably go. Move Fast and Break Things is not just a well-worn mantra in Silicon Valley. It’s part of the common thread for how ATLiens ascend out of seemingly nowhere. They take huge personal risks. They often fail, learn from their failures, re-assess, and persist in pecking away until the breakthrough happens. Crucially, these ATLiens do not stop at just the first hint of success. They’re quick to show gratitude to those who offered them support, no matter how small, along the way. They connect with, and assist, people who struggle in similar ways as they once did. And they work around, over, and past, those who are too quick to pigeon-hole and castigate them based on who they are, how they appear, or where they came from. Taking big chances often involves making the most out of what limited means one has at his or her disposal. “At the time, I was young and I didn't have no job,” said Mississippian-turned-Atlantan Justin Scott to Pitchfork magazine, back in 2010, in a now-familiar refrain around here. “It wasn't like I could really afford to pay for beats. At the same time, there was this program that came out for PlayStation, MTV Music Generator, where you could make your own beats. So I started making my own beats right around that time because I just couldn't afford to pay for the other ones.” Fast forward nine years, and Scott has released his fourth studio album. As the critically acclaimed rapper Big K.R.I.T., he provides the pump-up gameday Intro this season for the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. When he exclaims to the local crowd, “I. NEED. YOUR. ENERGY.”, Big K.R.I.T. isn’t goofing around. He, like the Hawks (1-0), thrive on that unique, True To Atlanta spirit that can transform Underdogs into Top Dawgs in a heartbeat. The kind of unbridled energy that morphs a 15-year-old drug arrestee into a 35-year-old Grammy nominee named 2Chainz, and… not stopping there… a 42-year-old minority owner of an NBA G-league team in his birthplace. ATLiens may fall down, even hard, on occasion. But when they figure out how to get up, man alive, do they get UP. After the 2019 All-Star Break, coach Lloyd Pierce’s team pulled off six victories in their final nine games here at State Farm Arena. Often, his Hawks managed to enthrall audiences even in some tank-friendly outcomes where his Hawks fell just short by the final horn. Even with NBA Finals contenders like Milwaukee and Philadelphia passing through, Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter and the Hawks discovered an increasing number of attendees at The Farm were not simply here to cheer on the opposition. A winning home record is a necessity for a team, even one in the Eastern Conference, seeking a reservation for the NBA Playoffs (23-18 minimum over the past four seasons). Coming off a satisfying season-opening win in Motown, Atlanta’s first meeting with Steve Clifford’s bedeviling Orlando Magic (7:30 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Southeast and 92.9 FM in ATL, Fox Sports Florida) kicks off a run of six home games over 14 days, interrupted only by a brief trip to Miami next Tuesday. Feasting on the fan energy and picking up a few tough Ws in this early stretch could go a very long way in achieving goals by this season’s end. Especially against teams like the reigning Southeast Division champion Magic (4-0 versus ATL last season; finished 3 games ahead of 9-seed Charlotte in the division). Orlando is stocked with veterans that have already built up a solid rapport, especially on the defensive end (1st in D-Rating after a 94-85 home win over Cleveland), while phasing in a few young hopefuls, like former top-pick Markelle Fultz, and former Cam Reddish high-school teammate Mo Bamba. For a team that’s committed to learn on the fly faster than anyone in this league, this fever-paced Hawks team is Moving Fast and Breaking Things, lathering up the kind of local support that could soon propel them past teams like Orlando and right on over the perpetual Lottery hump. You’d best believe, these Hawks don’t intend to stop there. With fan support behind them, they’re gonna ride, until they can’t no more. Whenever this core of upstarts emerges from the NBA crucible as championship contenders, they’ll know… thanks to Atlanta, They’ve Been Changed. All around town, we’ll sense it, too. Along with Atlanta United, this group of Hawks could help change the trajectory of Atlanta sports history, forever. And it won’t be terribly long thereafter before the rest of the world wonders, “Whoa… where did all these great guys come from?” Let’s Go Atlanta! Let’s Go Hawks! ~lw3