Hello Smash fans, I hope you all are having a great day. In this week’s installment, I want to really praise the Atlanta Hawks, specifically Trae Young, for their play in the playoffs thus far. It is so incredibly impressive what this team has done this year and it is time for us to give this team their flowers. However, before we give the players the recognition they deserve, we must first give Nate McMillan his praise because, without him, this team would not be where they are right now.
Coach McMillan was the catalyst for this team’s success. Before the firing of Lloyd Pierce, the Hawks were six games under 500. After that firing, Nate McMillan helped propel the team to a 41 and 31 record helping the Hawks claim the 5th seed in the east. Yet I didn’t hear any talk about Nate McMillan getting this year’s coach of the year award. Add that to the fact that he has been able to coach this team to be absolutely fearless and we get one underrated coaches in the NBA. The fact that the Hawks and 76ers are tied 2-2 is just a testament to how great of a coach Nate McMillan is. No matter what happens in the rest of the series, it is amazing the Hawks have gotten this far. However, it hasn’t been all Nate McMillan, the leadership of Trae Young has also made a huge impact on this team.
The statistics might not show the amount of improvement Trae Young has made as a player but the eye test surely tells a story of two entirely different players. This year Trae Young has stepped up as a leader in a big way. He has really embraced the role of being the villain in a lot of ways and feeds off that energy. Trae Young is never afraid, he always rises to the occasion, and never shies away from a challenge, and that shows in the team. His leadership has instilled a culture of fearlessness that is always dangerous. A team that is not scared of anyone is never rattled by the moment, they are just there to play, and that team always has a chance to win, no matter how small that chance is.
The last person I want to shout out is Clint Capela. He has really been the second-best player on that team for a lot of the year. Capela’s willingness to do all the small things for this Hawks team is key for this team’s success. He plays amazing defense, rebounds well, is a great lob threat for Trae Young, and makes all the hustle plays for this team. It is great to see Capela has found a new home because he was too talented to be pushed out of the league.
Thank you Smash Fans for sticking with me until the end. If you want to talk about this topic or any other topic sports-related, please email me or text me using the information on the contact page. If you want to support me even more, please consider following my Spotify as well as subscribing to my youtube channel and blog for weekly podcasts and articles. Until next time, PD Smash signing off