Schroder was also named a replacement in the Skills Challenge as part of All-Star Saturday Night. He replaced Jimmy Butler in the eight-player bracket format competition. Teammate Jeff Teague is also in the event. The two are on opposite sides of the bracket and could meet in the finals. Schroder, with a big smile, said he would welcome the chance.
“Hopefully we make it to the finals,” Schroder said. “I’ll take that, for sure. I’ve got a chance on that one.”
Atkinson coaches World Team
Hawks lead assistant coach Kenny Atkinson was selected to lead the World Team in the Rising Stars Challenge. He welcomes the chance to put his international experience to work – and spend more time with Schroder.
“I’ve done so much with the NBA globally,” Atkinson said. “I was in China this summer. I do Basketball Without Borders. I’ve been to Argentina and Mexico. I’m not sure, but I think that might have helped, my experience overseas playing and coaching.”
Atkinson welcomes the change – and added interest – in the Rising Stars game. He will be joined by the rest of the Hawks assistant coaches, who are determined to take the game seriously. In fact, in the limited practice session Thursday, Atkinson started with a defensive drill.
“I think I might be the first All-Star coach in history to do a defensive drill to begin practice,” Atkinson said. “I think the players were a little surprised. I followed a mini Hawks template.”
Atkinson said he would be careful with the minutes of Schroder – after all head coach Mike Budenholzer was in the stands watching.
Korver in the Big Apple
Kyle Korver declined an invitation to take part in the 3-point Contest at last year’s All-Star Weekend. He couldn’t turn down New York City this year.
“I did want to do it again, and I felt this was a great place to do it, in New York,” Korver said. “The NBA doesn’t take over New York City. You can come here and it can be a little bit of a break.”
Korver will be part of a loaded field this year that includes Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The event will be part of All-Star Saturday night along with the Skills Challenge, Dunk Contest and Shooting Stars Competition.
“There are eight people who could all win,” he said. “Whoever wins this can feel pretty good about it.”