Hawks’ cohesion begins with communication

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

The Hawks believe they have the talent and that they’re capable of going up against any team.

The Hawks have lingered around .500 since Jan. 23, having played 29 consecutive games at .500 or one game above or below that mark. The team hasn’t had much consistency this season, so improving that still is a goal at the top of their list as they navigate the final six games of the season.

The Hawks have the sixth toughest schedule down the stretch with games against three of the top six teams in the Eastern Conference.

One of those teams is the Nets, who they face Friday night. The Hawks downed the Nets in a close game Feb. 26 and they’ll need to tap into the connectivity that helped them pull out the win over the Cavaliers on Tuesday.

“It’s more on us to just bring that consistency every night,” Collins said. “I definitely think mentally and just from a talent standpoint on paper, whatever you want to say, we have enough to compete with any team in this league. I genuinely believe that. It’s just about you know, trying to throw our circumstances to the side and play basketball the right way, and I feel like that to help us just have a clear mental (understanding) and not think about too much, just go out there and hoop.”

Following Tuesday’s win over the Cavs, Snyder mentioned that when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, it meant there was a connection. In the Hawks’ case, he highlighted the defensive urgency from everyone and how it allowed them to make key stops in clutch time.

“I think for the most part, like I said, we played as a team, which is a lot,” Snyder said Tuesday. “When we say that, you know, anybody that’s been a part of the team, it’s not that easy to do. It takes sacrifice, and you have to think about the guy next year and do things for each other. And, that manifests itself in a lot of ways.”

Through 76 games, the Hawks haven’t been able to get that to stick. With Snyder leading the helm, Collins said that the team is working to implement their new coach’s system.

Several players have highlighted how vocal Snyder is. Collins highlighted how important that communication is, not only from Snyder, but also from the rest of the team.

“Communication is always vital for us. I feel like, I try to do my part, to be as vocal as I can,” Collins said. “But, you know, there’s only so much I can do, as one person. So obviously, encouraging everybody to lead, in a way and be vocal. I always say it, and Coach says that as well, ‘Talk to your teammates, and try to help them out in whichever scenario the need help in.’”

Snyder wants the team to communicate constantly throughout the game, even if words can’t be exchanged. At practice Thursday Snyder mentioned that the team has nonverbal calls that they can use, particularly when it’s hard to hear.

Whether the team talks out loud or uses signals, Snyder wants the guys to communicate every moment they can.

“A lot of times when there’s a stop in the action, that’s the time you want them to communicate and oftentimes they may be communicating to someone else, a referee, those are the moments where you really have to take advantage of those, in timeouts,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as calling a play, and the person you’re trying to communicate to has his back (turned) because he’s not aware of your choice. So all those things factor into it. I think the biggest thing is communication while the game is going on. You don’t have to wait for a stop in action or a timeout or a free throw. ... You know, you have to talk throughout the course of the game.”

Injury note

Jalen Johnson participated in some of Thursday’s practice. Snyder said that the team would continue to re-evaluate him consistently.