(SportsNetwork.com) - We're taught at a young age to share.
Whether it's with your brother, sister, cousin, friend or teammate, sharing
brings out the best in everyone and opens avenues to success.
Introverts may not grasp the concept of sharing, which is why selfish or
egotistical behavior lends itself to failure.
In the NBA, it's a necessity a team has more than one option. LeBron James
couldn't do it alone in Cleveland and we all know what happened after that.
Heck, even Michael Jordan needed to crack the whip to get his teammates more
involved en route to six NBA titles. (A good coach helped.)
Teams need more than one component to achieve ultimate glory and having more
hands on the ball creates more opportunities. Take a look at the New York
Knicks and how Carmelo Anthony is carrying them on a nightly basis. It's not
Anthony's fault the Knicks are banged up. Those are just the breaks.
The Knicks were supposed to be in the mix for Eastern Conference supremacy in
2013-14, but they're not even in the first 10. Indiana and Miami are living up
to lofty expectations and Atlanta now rounds out the top three in the East.
Atlanta is not making waves by any stretch of the imagination because they're
good to begin with. The Hawks have been to the playoffs in each of the past
six seasons and are just one of three teams (Pacers, Heat) in the conference
with a record above .500. Why have the Hawks been so successful? Sharing.
It all starts with the head coach.
Mike Budenholzer may not be a household name yet and is gradually becoming a
popular figure to Hawks fans. A longtime assistant under the great Gregg
Popovich with the San Antonio Spurs, Budenholzer was a part of four NBA
championships under Pop, arguably one of the greatest and most successful
coaches in basketball lore.
Budenholzer saw first-hand how sharing and unselfish play lead to success and
a piece of the proverbial pie. Yes, the Spurs lucked out in landing Tim
Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and all three believed they would
achieve more together. The bling on their fingers proves that.
The Hawks want to earn a championship pedigree and have the roster to do it,
especially with how disappointing the East has been. They probably couldn't
match up with any of the top five in the West and will just have to settle on
working their way up the East standings over the next few years.
Atlanta has four major pieces in Al Horford, Paul Millsap, who's in his first
season with the Hawks, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver, who's known for taking
passes and burying 3-pointers. Teague is averaging a team-leading 8.0 assists
per game and the Hawks are first in the NBA with 25.3 apg. They added to that
impressive stat with a season-high 38 assists against Sacramento on Wednesday
and set a Philips Arena record.
Teague had 15 assists versus the Kings. He has no less than five assists in 16
straight games and has handed out 10 or more on nine separate occasions this
season. The ball movement impressed Budenholzer after the 124-107 win over the
"I think the ball movement and the shooting are both to be commended,"
Budenholzer said. "The shooters can't make shots unless the ball gets to them
on time - on target."
The Hawks have handed out 30 or more assists five times this season (4-1) and
20-plus assists 24 times. They're also averaging 114.7 points per game in the
last three and have scored 100-plus points in four straight games. Horford is
posting an average of 23.8 points and 10.5 rebounds in that stretch, and is
one of the beneficiaries of precise passing inside.
Korver, meanwhile, extended his NBA-record for a 3-pointer made in consecutive
games to 95 and talked about the charitable play.
"That's a product of a lot of things. It's unselfishness. It's good spacing.
It's a lot of guys in rhythm. It's everyone being dangerous," said Korver,
who's knocked down 19 3-pointers over the last four games. "It's a product of
Jeff putting pressure on them. When Jeff's attacking like that and going to
the basket, it just opens up a lot of opportunities for us."
Atlanta is recording assists on a remarkable 66.2 percent of made baskets,
which is the best in the league. The Heat and Pacers aren't having as much
success on that front and will still probably occupy the top two seeds come
playoff time. Atlanta should only have to worry about Boston and Detroit
taking the third spot.
If the Hawks, who are no longer playing in anonymity, continue to share both
the ball and spotlight each night, they'll be hosting a playoff series, too.
The Sports Network