Atlanta Hawks stars get brutally honest about former HC Nate McMillan

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /
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Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Guard Dejounte Murray Opens Up About Former HC Nate McMillan

“I mean, it’s a business, like I always stated to you guys you know from the beginning,” Dejounte Murray, who was added just this past offseason, told reporters. I’m a basketball player. I’m here to get better, learn, be a leader by example. And, as far as the business side, that’s up to the front office. They the one that trade players, sign players, waive players, fire coaches, hire coaches. That got nothing to do with me. The thing for me is to come in this league and like I said, work, learn, and be a great person but also build great relationships.”

Murray has assumed a vocal leadership role since arriving over the summer.

The deal that brought him to Atlanta was scrutinized by rival league figures and was even fought against by former team president Travis Schlenk, playing a part in the latter’s surprising exit in December.

“I do feel bad because it’s not just on Nate McMillan. I could look in the mirror and I could be a part of that. I’m somebody who hold myself accountable. I use the accountability word on the court, off the court. And like I said, it’s not just one guy to blame. So, I hope people that’s making all these reports…just know, it ain’t on Nate McMillan. It’s we all got to look in the mirror and take responsibility and part of this and we all got to be better.”

It has been a mixed bag for the experiment of putting two ball-dominant players on the court together – Murray has the highest usage of any full-time backcourt mate Trae Young has had in his career or even among the other three players in the starting lineup at 24.7% per Basketball-Reference.

John Collins is the next highest at 23.7% in 2019 – Young’s rookie season.

When Murray and Young share the court, the Hawks have a plus-4.4 net rating, ranking in the 79th percentile, per Cleaning The Glass. With Murray and without Young, that rating drops to minus-9.9 (ninth percentile). With Young and without Murray, minus-0.8 (44th percentile).

The issue has been finding a balance of parts to put around either when they are off the floor.

Atlanta has used 103 combinations featuring Young alone and 78 with just Murray. Only one of those lineups has even 100 possessions together. Still, the Hawks starting five has a plus-12.7 net rating (97th percentile) and at least some of that credit has to go to McMillan.

“I called Nate yesterday. We had a great conversation and that’s a relationship that will last forever.”

Murray — who came from one of the most stable organizations in the NBA — insisted that the message is the same since the beginning of the year and echoed Prunty’s sentiments about the day’s practice. He also declined an opportunity to expound upon where the reported disconnect that Fields saw was while echoing his previous remarks about his role on the team and organization.

He did say that he told McMillan to reach out if he notices anything in his game.