Kevin Huerter came out onto the court at State Farm Arena to warm up before a game like he’s done hundreds of times before. The security guards know him, the ushers know him, the Atlanta Hawks players know him and greeted him like they would a member of their basketball playing family. This time though Huerter, a former hawks star, was wearing a Sacramento Kings uniform, His white t-shirt matched his white headband.
Huerter made his first appearance in Atlanta as a King Wednesday night and by the sound of the cheers from the crowd when his name was announced along with the Kings starters, he is missed.
Following the game Hawks head coach Nate McMillan called Huerter, “one of my favorite guys. You get attached to your players when they are playing for you and he was one of my favorite guys to coach. It’s good to see him playing well.”
Trae Young (35 points, 7 assists during the game) called playing against Huerter, “different” and that he was happy to see him successful in Sacramento. “I’ve been playing with Kev a long time.”
During the obligatory tribute video for returning players of some significance, Huerter’s highlights were cheered by everyone in the arena, including his current teammates.
Prior to the game the Kings came into the game with the fourth overall best record in the Western Conference at 10-6. Huerter has been a huge reason for that success, averaging 16.7 points, three assists and three rebounds per game.
Huerter made his first three-point attempt of the game following a screen from teammate Domontas Sabonis at the 5:06 mark of the first quarter. He finished the opening quarter with three points, a pair of rebounds and an assist in just under nine minutes. He would finish the game with 13 points on 4-10 shooting (3-7 from three) with five assists and three rebounds.
During Huerter’s only free-throws of the first half, chants of “We still love you” came in from a normally opponent objective Hawks super-fan section.
Wednesday’s game will be the only time Huerter and the Kings play in State Farm Arena unless the two teams qualify for the NBA Finals next summer. In the meantime the former “Red Velvet” will remain a fan favorite.