The Atlanta Hawks culture shines through in team’s media day

Sep 27, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) pictured at Hawks Media Day held at PC&E. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2021; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) pictured at Hawks Media Day held at PC&E. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks open training camp on Tuesday but took part in media day on Monday along with the rest of the NBA. It was an eventful and insightful day. Head Coach Nate McMillan was once again clear in his message of unselfishness to his team. The Hawks boasted some of the league’s best depth last season, even when injured. It should be even better now.

Players also gave optimistic outlooks, even amid the recent revelations that about a quarter of the regular roster will be slowed by injuries to start camp.

From a macro view, against the backdrop of the rest of the league, the day was even better.

The Atlanta Hawks appear free of the drama that is plaguing many teams in the NBA

One of the prevailing themes of the day was, of course, the vaccine status of many prominent players. Specifically, those in states that have strict protocols, resulting in non-vaccinated players being ineligible to participate in home games.

The two most notable being Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets and Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors.

They weren’t the only ones to make headlines for their decisions, however.

Bradley Beal caught heat for some comments he made about getting vaccinated. His new point guard, Spencer Dinwiddie, was open about his vaccinated status and noted there would be “no controversy” on his end regarding that. And D’Angelo Russell called Kyrie Irving “Goated” in a tweet.

Irving, who has been very vocal about this all, has been called to the front for his recent likes on social media.

Nate McMillan says sacrifice is the key for next season. light. Related Story

It wasn’t just vaccine controversy, however. Russell’s own teammate Karl Anthony-Towns looked more like he was attending an end-of-season press conference as opposed to media day before training camp. The Minnesota Timberwolves fired their president of basketball operations, Gersson Rosas, last week.

Things don’t appear to be much better down in New Orleans where Zion Williamson tried to clear the air following a report on the depths of the dysfunction within the Pelicans organization.

Despite Williamson smiling and joking with reporters for much of their time together, many felt his answer on his feelings towards the organization was disingenuous at best.

Meanwhile, despite dealing with some surprise injuries, the Hawks should be mostly healthy to start the new campaign. Onyeka Okongwu is the only player expected to be out for an extended period but we’ve known about that for quite some time.

And the added depth this offseason included center Gorgui Dieng to hold down the reserve fort in the meantime.

We also got word a few days ago that they would be “100 percent vaccinated” by the beginning of the regular season. Georgia doesn’t have such mandates as California or New York but the Hawks are clearly all on the same page in trying to prevent the spread of COVID throughout the team.

They don’t have the chemistry questions of Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers, nor the questions about fit like the Chicago Bulls with Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Lonzo Ball either.

It’s a welcome thing after such issues threatened to derail last season before it even really began. John Collins calling out Young for his playing style seems like ancient history and it might as well be.

Next. 3 most encouraging quotes from media day. dark

What Hawks fans saw was a team that is together in their stated mission to improve upon last season. Not many teams can honestly say that after what we saw Monday.