A: My main priority was just somewhere I can go and be comfortable being myself and, obviously, with Coach Nate being here, as somebody I played for my first two years, I believe in Indiana, so that comfortability was there. And I played with a few guys in high school who are also around here. So that was really my main thing, just being comfortable. I didn’t want to go somewhere where I (didn’t) feel comfortable and at home.
Q: When you say that you played with a few guys in high school, are you talking about guys on the Hawks roster?
A: No. Nick Ressler (Hawks director, Business and Basketball Operations) and Ryan Silverstein (Hawks coordinator, Cap Strategy and Administration).
Q: When you say that you’re looking forward to reuniting with (McMillan), what specifically are you looking forward to with him?
A: Just knowing how he coaches and who he is as a person. He knows me as well. So, I think that just gives me more comfortability out there on the court and hopefully him as well. (He’s) somebody that can trust me on the court and, obviously, trust in my game. So that part means a lot to me.
Q: What is it like reuniting with your brother Justin and playing on the same team?
A: I mean, it’s crazy, honestly. Not even like an hour after I signed, it might have been 45 minutes, he called me and said this might go down. And I was just excited. Obviously, playing with him before it was really fun. Probably, obviously, my best teammate that I’ve had. But it just helps you get more comfortable out there on the court. I know him; he knows me. We know each other’s game. So, it’s very easy to play with him.
Q: And then what are you looking forward to the most just about this young roster that they have here, especially adding Dejounte Murray and with Trae Young (already here)?
A: I mean, those are two very talented players. Obviously. Just being young, I know we’re gonna fight. We’re going to come out with energy every night. And I think we have some pretty good talent to surround those two guys.
Q: How do you envision yourself fitting alongside those guys?
A: I see myself getting well. I can play point guard; I can play off the ball. So, just wherever Coach Nate needs me, I’m willing to do. Obviously, if Dejounte or Trae has the ball, I can play the shooting guard and vice versa. I can set them up as well as them setting me up and everybody else as well. So, I think I fit pretty well with them.
Q: And, of course, this team is looking to reshape its defensive identity. How do you see yourself I guess helping them take that next step?
A: Bringing energy, playing hard on defense. Probably picking up full court. But, yeah, just trying to bring energy and be disciplined. And I know my brother is going to bring the same thing.
Q: Which if any current Hawks players reached out to you since the news broke of you coming to Atlanta?
A: I saw a few things on social media and stuff like that, but I think I’m gonna get into the group chat soon. But everybody has been cool coming over, from the front office to the players. So, I just feel very accepted, for sure.
Q: What was it like growing up in that household and how competitive and how crazy did it get?
A: It was very competitive. We competed over anything, whether it’s like a card game or going outside playing tag or just anything you can think of we probably competed over. But it was fun. I was, obviously, the young one, the smallest one out of my three siblings. So, I got beat up a lot, just being the young kid out there, and my sister, my brothers, they were all obviously were stronger than me at the time. But it was fun. I enjoyed it. I think that going through that made me the man I am today. So, I enjoyed it.
Q: How do you see (the Hawks) helping you improve your all-around game and why?
A: Thinking about that, I feel just being more comfortable out there on the court. That’s one of the main things that I think I’ll be able to check the box off. Obviously, knowing Nate and how he plays and his coaching style and, I can play with pretty much anybody I feel like, and I don’t know if I showed that enough in the past, what, four years. But just putting me out there with Trae, Dejounte, even Bogey (Bogdan Bogdanovic), I don’t know, who’s starting or who’s not, but just playing with different guys, I feel like I could really just bring energy, ball movement and get into the paint, drive and kick shooting the ball and defense. So, I mean, I just want to show my all-around game, I don’t think I’ve had the chance to really show everything. So, I think this is the year to do so.
Q: When you evaluate this team, from your perspective, what do you see this team needing to do to take themselves to the next level?
A: I mean, last year, they did a pretty good job of making the playoffs. ... They got to the play-in game, and I believe they actually made the playoffs. So, I mean, just bringing that same energy. With the guys we picked up and me included, I can help bring some good energy and just hopefully, better communication, as well as just being able to be a good teammate. That’s one thing that being with the Suns, I’ve really noticed of how much that helps just being a good teammate, whether that’s cheering a teammate on or, like on the court, making the extra pass and hitting the open guy, like, those things really matter when it’s all said and done. And that’s how you win championships. So, hopefully we can bring some of that to our game.
Q: And you mentioned the Suns and obviously Chris Paul was a big factor in their run, but what were some of the things you were able to pick up from him in your time there?
A: Just really to get out there and play for your teammates. Like, obviously, just watching him, he can pretty much pass with the best of them. So, just understanding that part of the game and understanding that everybody’s in the NBA for a reason, help them get to their spots, help them get to the shots, they’d like to shoot and having the ball in your hand, you can do that, you can control the game. One thing he did really well was control the game and hit guys in the right spot. So that’s one thing I really took away from Chris.
Q: Being the youngest of your brothers. What was that like? I mean, did you get to kind of learn from their game and what have you taken away from watching them in their careers?
A: Yeah, for sure. I saw everything they went through to make it to the NBA. So, they kind of laid the blueprint for me. And, yeah, I mean, I tried to take everything I can from my brothers; those are the two NBA players I watched the most. So, yeah, I watched their film, I watched their games, and whatever I can take, I use, and whatever else, I just throw away in the trash. But I do love watching them play. Those, obviously, are my two favorite NBA players.