Hawks looking to take full advantage of Kyle Korver’s expertise


Credit: AJC file photo/Curtis Compton

Credit: AJC file photo/Curtis Compton

The Hawks lost a bit of their outside shooting during the offseason. So when the team hired former player Kyle Korver for its front office in July, some may have wondered if the team would tap into the sharpshooter’s talents.

Through the first few days of training camp, Korver has been on hand to provide one-on-one instruction to some of the team’s younger players. He’s the organization’s new director of player affairs and development, but he’s also a 17-year NBA veteran who made 43% of his 3-point field-goal attempts.

Korver led the NBA in 3-point accuracy in three of his five seasons in Atlanta and although some current players were teenagers when Korver starred for the Hawks, they are enjoying the expertise that the new ‘front-office’ man brings to the court.

“I’ve worked with him quite a few times actually,” second-year player Jalen Johnson said after Wednesday’s practice. “Kyle has helped me make a few adjustments in my shot. You know, having him around has helped a lot. He’s been helping a lot of these guys, giving them pointers and things they can work on, so it’s good.”

Johnson made 23% of his 3-point attempts as a rookie, and has been working hard to improve from distance while preparing for the coming season.

“So with my jump shot, making sure it was as sharp as possible and tweaking a few things to be able to shoot at a high level,” Johnson said. “Because that’s what you need in today’s game to be able to shoot at a high level, because that’s the way the game is going in the direction it’s heading. So just be able to have that and add that to my arsenal. I think that’s good.”

On Thursday, Korver also spent time with Clint Capela and appeared to show him a video of his shot. After a few minutes with Capela, Korver headed over to the other side of the gym and spent some time with De’Andre Hunter.

Coach Nate McMillan said that’s what he hoped to see from Korver when the two chatted about the role before the season. McMillan said he noticed Korver’s passion for teaching and coaching and he wanted the players to be able to take advantage of that.

McMillan has invited Korver into team meetings and said that the former All-Star has the freedom to do whatever he wants.

“He could talk about a lot of things,” McMillan said. “You know, when a guy is struggling with his shot and he’s concerned about it, he can speak on that, being a pro, working on your game, taking advantage of your skill, or whatever that may be, you know, guys who are struggling with their free throws, their release point.

“So, I wasn’t that shooter,” McMillan added. “So it’s great to have a coach or guide that can come into our practices and be with us to be available for the players to talk to them about that mindset of being a shooter. You know, the long season things that you go through, where you lose your legs, you know, how you get your confidence back. I allow him to just coach in that aspect.”

Injury notes:

-Dejounte Murray returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday’s public practice at State Farm Arena because of a non-COVID illness. McMillan said that Murray wanted to come in and work up a sweat, but the team would bring him along slowly because of the time off.

-AJ Griffin did not participate in live play, as McMillan hoped. The rookie did go through one-on-one drills and non-scripted plays.

-Vit Krejci fully participated in practice after arriving in town Wednesday.

The Hawks have one more practice in Atlanta before they head overseas to Abu Dhabi for their first two exhibition matchups against the Bucks.

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