Training camp starts in less than two weeks for the Atlanta Hawks. From there, the maelstrom of the NBA season begins and won't let anyone up for air until June. But before we officially dive head-first into next season's coverage, we must look back at the summer.
Last season, the team grumbled about burnout and perhaps even took part in the national phenomenon of quiet-quitting. For better or worse, the young team enjoyed an offseason almost twice as long as last year.
Since Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler hip thrust the Hawks out of the playoffs, a lot has gone down. Hawks players have kept fans entertained with Pro-Am games, Instagram beefs, and the occasional peek at their summer vacations.
Today, we recognize the Hawks players who had the best moments of the summer. Welcome to the inaugural Atlanta Hawks Offseason Award Show.
Dejounte Murray did not waste time endearing himself to fans at his introductory press conference. As soon as the All-Star guard put his arm around the shoulder of legendary Hawks broadcaster Bob Rathbun, everyone knew he had a great sense of judgment.
But don't let Murray's friendly demeanor off the court fool you. The All-Star point guard is ultra-competitive when hooping. Murray took Orlando Magic top draft pick Paolo Banchero to school during a Pro-Am game in August.
The two Seattle natives took exception to each other's actions and let their feelings be known on social media. Luckily Murray and Banchero reconciled less than a week later. But for that exciting couple of days, Murray wins our Outstanding Drama Award.
Best Supporting Character
It should be no surprise that the ultimate glue-guy, John Collins, wins our Best Supporting Character Award. Despite being only 24 years old, Collins is often discussed as if he is the most seasoned of NBA veterans, perhaps because he carries himself with such composure.
Collins takes home the award thanks to his two Pro-Am performances. In August, Collins gladly played second and third fiddle to Trae Young and Dejounte Murray in Los Angeles and Seattle. But just like Collins' position in the NBA, his role was essential.
It has been a long time since the Atlanta Hawks had a superstar like Trae Young. The All-NBA point guard starred in two national ad campaigns just this summer. But Young won our Best Performance Award for the thespian skills he demonstrated in the new Call of Duty videogame trailer.
Best Film Editing
If you are not following Justin Holiday on Instagram, stop what you are doing, and smash that follow button. The NBA journeyman won our Best Film Editing Award for all of the incredible Instagram videos he posted throughout the summer.
Everyone groaned when the Atlanta Hawks traded back in the second round of the 2022 NBA Draft. Fast forward less than two months, and they are signing the 51st overall pick to a full NBA contract. It's a subtle reminder of why Travis Schlenk and Landry Fields work in Atlanta's front office, and we do not.
But Tyrese Martin wins our Best Story Award for his longshot tale of a second round pick balling out in Summer League and getting rewarded with an NBA contract. The future is bright for the former UConn Huskie.
De'Andre Hunter has proven capable of locking down opponents' best player and providing the Hawks with much-needed three-level scoring. But what most fans did not know is Hunter can really cut a rug. Earlier this month, the Hawks social media team shared a clip of Hunter dancing on the bench. There is no doubt that Hunter gave us the best dance number of the summer.
In the wake of the disappointing playoff series, Onyeka Okongwu promised to expand his game this summer. The 21-year-old has fulfilled that pledge. We have seen videos of Okongwu working on his jump shot and developing his ball-handling skills.
Okongwu missed a pivotal offseason last summer due to shoulder surgery. But a full five months to work on his game could spell trouble for the league. There is no doubt that Okongwu is deserving of our Breakthrough Performance Award.
Last but certainly not least, Clint Capela wins our Best Vibes Award. Without a doubt, our most prestigious superlative of the summer. Over the past several months, we would periodically publish offseason power rankings. Despite facing stiff competition, Capela regularly finished near the top.
Thanks to Capela and his social media savviness, we were all able to live vicariously through him as he traveled the world. Capela visited Las Vegas, Madrid, Geneva, and several other cosmopolitan cities over the past five months. No Hawks player can compete with a travel schedule like that. Hopefully, the big man got plenty of R&R, as the team will be counting on him to step up again in the coming season.
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