A lot of it starts with consistency and energy from the Hawks.
“We want to try and improve on that and make our building a tough place, really an impossible place for teams to come in and get a win,” McMillan said of last season’s home record. “... It’s all up to us. We have to establish that energy in the building, give our fans something to cheer for, to support, to come out and see. So that’s all on us, making this a tough place to play by the style of basketball that we bring to the floor.”
In terms of entertainment value, Trae Young and company certainly bring the highlight plays, which helps the team boost its engagement and following, John Collins thinks.
“That’s a big part of why I feel we’ve been able to turn it around so quickly, you have Trae’s dynamic, myself, (Clint Capela), the young core is booming and ready to go, some swag, some energy and some juice, and it’s fun to watch, so not only are we showing that we can produce and win games, but it’s fun and it’s not a slow pace, we’re up and down,” Collins said. “We want to move, we want to run and go, and I feel like that just adds to the aura and what makes us have that Hawks basketball identity that we’re trying to build.”
Ultimately, building up home-court advantage is a mind-set, per Kevin Huerter.
It means the Hawks have to do everything they can to create a hostile environment for opponents, whether that’s getting the crowd into it or just being as difficult as possible to beat on their own turf.
“It’s going in with losing not being an option, it’s using the crowd to gain momentum throughout the game, but just being tough to be on our home court, being relentless,” Huerter said. “... The best teams are tough to beat at home and that’s something that we’ve experienced the past couple years, coming in and playing some of the better teams in the league on their home court, and that’s what we need our atmosphere to be.”