14-year veteran shooting guard and defensive presence Wesley Matthews held his daughter’s hand while cradling a tote bag with The Lovett School logo on it. When Matthews, a new addition to the Atlanta Hawks roster, and his daughter made their way to the station where he was going to be photographed by team photographers he put the bag down and she quickly reached inside for a toy.
The veteran sharpshooter played the past two seasons in Milwaukee and shot over 30% from three. His particular skills from long range and as an on-ball defender are two reasons why Atlanta signed him, according to Hawks second-year head coach Quin Synder.
Synder spoke about many topics pertaining to the upcoming season during the franchise’s annual media day this morning. One of the topics of discussion was adding Matthews, 36, and former San Antonio Spurs and Brooklyn Nets guard Patty Mills, 35, to the team. Both have played in the NBA for 14 seasons.
During media day Mills shook hands with Hawks staff and longtime Hawks television play-by-play announcer Both Rathbun before getting his picture taken with former San Antonio Spurs teammate Dejounte Murray.
Snyder spoke of the selfless style of play he wants to see this season and how both Matthews and Mills already play that way.
“That’s how they’ve played and demonstrated throughout their careers, both of them, these are pros pros,” said Snyder. “Veteran leadership can really be impactful, particularly when that leadership is grounded in that type of experience.”
Mills shot 36.6% from three last season as a member of the Nets, but only played in 40 games. Matthews played in a few more games for the Bucks, 50, but both will be coming off the bench to back up starting guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Matthews and Mills’ contributions will be more as veteran leaders than scorers, for example.
“They have both been on teams that have won, they know what a winning team looks like, they know what a connected team looks like,” said Snyder. “Those are things both Patty and Wes want to share.”
Coming into his first training camp and preseason as head coach, Snyder will be counting on veterans like Matthews, Mills and Hawks regulars like Young, Murray, De’Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdoanovic and centers Clint Capela and projected starting center Onyeka Okongwu. On what Matthews and Mills will be contributing off the bench Snyder said, “Those two guys have different styles, but with the qualities that they bring they will figure out how to be impactful in those ways.”
The loss of veteran forward John Collins, who was traded to the Utah Jazz during the offseason, leaves the team with one less locker room voice, but Snyder believes there are two potential locker room voices in Mills and Matthews, but in their own specific ways.
“It’s not like I’m expecting Wes and Patty to stand up and say ‘Hey, here’s how it’s going to be guys,’ but they understand what we’re trying to accomplish. They are not the only ones, but they are the ones that have lived it the most.”
“I’m excited to have both those guys in our program,” added Snyder.
The National Basketball Association held league-wide media days and the Hawks media day took place in a warehouse space on the upper west side where General Manager Landry Fields and Synder talked to the media before the players.