10 things we learned from Hawks media day

Hawks general manager Landry Fields speaks to press members during the Hawks Media Day on Monday, October 2, 2023, in Atlanta. (Miguel Martinez /miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com)

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Hawks general manager Landry Fields speaks to press members during the Hawks Media Day on Monday, October 2, 2023, in Atlanta. (Miguel Martinez /miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com)

Training camp officially opens Tuesday but the Hawks got to share their thoughts for the upcoming 2023-24 NBA season at Media Day on Monday.

Here are 10 things we learned.

1. Establishing “good working habits”

That was the major theme from management and coach Quin Snyder, and everyone wants to remain on the same page as training camp begins - and throughout the season.

“It’s about a day in day process about creating good and sustainable habits so that when you do reach those goals, you can continue to surpass them, because you’re leaning on the process of your work, rather than just ‘we’re doing anything we can to just achieve this specific goal,’” general manager Landry Fields said. “So that sort of paradigm of that mindset is really what we’re hopping on right now.”

2. Spacing the floor crucial

The Hawks will look to continue to space the floor because of the number of possibilities it will open up. Of course the Hawks will look for ways to knock shots down from distance but for Snyder the idea of spacing means a little more.

“I mentioned spacing a lot last year and spacing allows you to move the ball, it allows you to attack and even though you think it’s subtle, if you’re spaced properly sometimes that can be as simple as like you’re not in someone’s way when they get to go lay the ball in,” Snyder said. “So again, you’re doing something for someone else.”

3. Unselfish mindset and making it obvious in how they play

With the Hawks looking to move the ball more, Snyder emphasized the importance of unselfishness in the team’s system and style of play.

“This season is about hard work,” Snyder said. “I would like for that to be characteristic of our our system, us being a selfless team is huge and you can point to that in so many different areas, whether it’s taking the charge, making the extra pass, running back on defense, celebrating your teammates successes, all those different things.”

4. Defense has to be decision

The Hawks finished last season toward the bottom of the league in terms of defense. So, another theme throughout Media Day was emphasizing better play on defense.

“For where we want to go, which should be to the highest level, starting with that, it starts on the defensive and not just one guy or three guys,” guard Dejounte Murray said. “It’s the whole team, whoever’s on the floor, which is five guys at all times and everybody has to be on the same page. It’s a pride thing at the end of the day, so you know, for where we want to go, defense is the number one thing and then everything else will fall in place.”

5. Adaptation to player skills

Snyder understands the personnel and he will look to maximize the talent of the players that currently make up the Hawks roster. He pointed out that the Hawks have a talented group that he can draw plenty out of on the offensive end.

6. Healthy training camp

The Hawks head into training camp with a healthy roster and they’ll use that to their advantage to draw the most competition out of their players.

One player excited to take advantage of an injury-free training camp is Bogdan Bogdanovic, who missed last year’s preseason and the first 20 games of the regular season.

“Since I missed because of injuries and because of my health, I missed a couple of training camps last couple of years,” Bogdanovic said. “I’m excited for training camp to compete very guys, be with them over there, build a chemistry find a rhythm, you know and get ready for for for a season opening.”

7. It’s about being consistent

One of the few things the Hawks showed consistency in was inconsistency. As they embark on a new year, making sure that they have some level of stability in their play is a key for them.

“I think every day we’ve just been focused on getting better but as us players talk, we believe we can go as far as we want to,” Hawks guard Trae Young said. “So it’s all about just putting in that work every day which we’ve been doing and being disciplined and being consistent with it throughout the whole year. It’s not just about doing it one or two games or three games here and then falling off a game or two.”

8. Top 4 seed, play-in not an option

As the Hawks think about going far, Trae Young’s backcourt partner made a definitive statement that the expectations for the season are higher than a Play-In appearance. Murray said that the team looked to make a leap into the top four of the Eastern Conference.

“(The goal is to) be better than last year, establish identity from jump, which I feel like we’re on the right road towards, just having the whole team here a month ago, guys in early, happy to be in and just working hard building chemistry in the locker room and outside of the facility and carry on and translate to the court,” Murray said. “So, be better than last year and win and don’t be a top four seed and, you know, being a Play-In team is not an option.”

9. Patty Mills, Wesley Matthews ready to lead

The Hawks brought in two longtime veterans in guards Patty Mills and Wesley Matthews. Both understand that with their experience, they’ll be expected contribute plenty of leadership and they’re ready for the opportunity to do so.

10. Embracing the challenge ahead

The Hawks have plenty of challenges ahead of them this season. The East has gotten a little tougher. They have a new system to adapt.

But from top of the bench to the end of it, they’re already for what’s ahead.