Hawks' Dejounte Murray sends message to Cavaliers' Emoni Bates

Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray sent a message after showing support for Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Emoni Bates.

Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks
Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray has formed a bond with a rival.

It’s a new rival, Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Emoni Bates. So there hasn’t been time for tension to build up if it ever does. As it stands, though, Bates can still count Murray as one of the people on his side both figuratively and literally.

Bates, playing with the Cavs G League affiliate, the Cleveland Charge – and on something of a tear of late – got a visit from Murray during a win over the Grand Rapids Gold, the Denver Nuggets affiliate. The Charge won the game 102-92 with Bates posting 17 points, six rebounds, two blocks, two steals, and one assist.

“Keep working bro,” Murray exclaimed in the caption of a courtside picture of Bates in an Instagram story on November 27. “Yessir.”

Bates responded in kind in a separate post after sharing Murray’s comments.

“Realest in it big brudda Fr,” Bates’ message about the Hawks guard – accompanied by a vieo of Murray calling him the “best in the draft” in his signature all-caps style – read. “I appreciate you more den [you know].”

“LOVE YOU BRO AND JUST WANT YOU TO GET EVERYTHING YOU DESERVE,” Murray again exclaimed in a repost of Bates’ comments, hashtagging this message with “4LIFE”.

The two players have publicly encouraged each other before.

They share a similar story in terms of facing adversity and legal troubles. Bates has cited Murray as a source of motivation.

Bates was the No. 49 overall pick in this year’s draft out of Eastern Michigan. He is averaging 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds on .267/.250/.500 shooting splits in just over seven minutes per game across seven contests with the Cavs this season.

In three G League contests with the Charge, however, Bates is averaging 25 points while shooting 46.7% from downtown on over 10.0 attempts per game with 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, and 1.7 steals. It’s a big leap from the G League to the NBA. But, as third-year Hawks forward Jaylon Johnson proved, the time can be highly valuable.

Former Hawks G Sharife Cooper is still a dynamic scorer

Bates’ teammate on the Charge is none other than former Hawks second-round pick – and Georgia native – Sharife Cooper.

The Hawks selected Cooper with the No. 48 overall pick in 2021, the same year they drafted Johnson. Cooper spent one season with the Hawks, barely seeing the floor in 13 contests as a rookie.

Cooper struggled with efficiency and turnovers during his second preseason. 

His assist-to-turnover ratio still leaves something to be desired. And he – like Hawks star Trae Young – is at a disadvantage defensively. But Cooper has averaged more than 19.0 points in each of his three seasons in the G League. And his efficiency from the outside was much improved prior to this season.

It would have been interesting to see Cooper alongside Hawks rookie guard Kobe Bufkin – when he returns from a fractured thumb – with the College Park Skyhawks this season.

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