Malcolm Delaney: “I want to leave my mark in the Hawks”

2016-07-06T19:31:13+00:00 2016-07-06T23:28:15+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

06/Jul/16 19:31

The new asset of the Atlanta Hawks gave us an exclusive interview about what he wants to bring his new team, the adaption to a new work environment and style of basketball, while voicing his opinion about the the massive… transfer wave from Europe to the NBA

By Nikos Varlas/

After making noise in Europe as one of the elite ballers in the continent, Malcolm Delaney’s lifelong dream of becoming an NBA player, has come true. The 27-year old combo guard from Baltimore now belongs to the Atlanta Hawks, after signing a two-year contract with the Eastern Conference team.

“It’s a great feeling”, said Delaney to Eurohoops, about this new challenge of his career. “I am very happy since a big goal for me has been fulfilled“. The new asset of the Atlanta Hawks gave us an exclusive interview about what he wants to bring to his new team, the adaption to a different work environment and style of basketball, while voicing his opinion about the massive… transfer wave from Europe to the NBA.

He also discusses the increased attention that NBA teams are showing to European players and says his own farewell to Euroleague, which he has graced with his presence.

Malcolm, you are finally an NBA player now. Have you realized it? How do you feel?

“It goes without saying that I am so happy about the whole thing. But the people who are most happy about it are my parents and my family in general. For me, it’s just business. It’s something I pursued and something I worked for. It was my plan to join the NBA, which is definitely the biggest and strongest league in the world. I can’t wait to begin practicing with the Atlanta Hawks, meet my new teammates and everyone in the club. I want to adapt in the team’s demands and to my new role which of course is going to be different than the one I had in Europe during recent years. I am ready to do anything the coach asks from me”.

Up until now, you have spent the entirety of your professional career overseas. Now you signed for the Atlanta Hawks. Do you think that the adaption from Europe to the NBA is going to be any difficult? Or do you think that since you are an American player with college experience, it is going to be easy?

“For sure, it is a transition, but I don’t think it’s going to be a difficult one. It’s basketball and I know the game. I think that my biggest advantage is that I can adjust in any situation, any team with any coach and perform well at the side of any players I work with. This has helped me a lot so far in my career and that’s what I want to do now in my NBA beginnings. For sure, there are some things I need to adapt in, mainly because my role is going to be different. I will come into the game in order to be of help to everyone. Change the rhythm, support my players and do the best I can for the team. Generally, I don’t think I’ll have any problems adapting. I am full of motivation and my understanding of the game will help me.

Also, I know what my coaches and the team want for me. I know why they chose to sign me. I know that I will give them what they want and ask from me. I believe that my adjustment will be fast and that I will provide the team everything it needs from me”.

In 2015, the Atlanta Hawks made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Do you think that the team can make it one step further now? 

“I think that the Atlanta Hawks are a great organization. Very competitive. They have been building a steady strong presence during recent years. Now we also have Dwight Howard which is a great signing. I think we will make some further moves in order to complete the roster of the team and find the right mix. A plan that will allow us to be even more competitive”.

Many believe that the Eastern Conference teams are weaker than the ones of the Western Conference. Will this change soon?

“I think that the Eastern Conference teams will become stronger. Don’t forget that the champion (Cleveland Cavaliers) is from the East! The Boston Celtics are building a powerful team. And there’s us of course! Many other teams have young players with lots of potential and are going to become stronger in the near future. So the Eastern Conference as a whole is going to be stronger. My feeling is that the we will have the most competitive and high level league in recent years”.

There have been many players moving from Europe to the NBA during free agency. What do you think is the reason for this?

“It’s a combination of things. There are many players, Americans, Europeans, people from any nationality that worth a spot in the NBA. Basketball is international now. And American teams are looking everywhere for players to sign. Of course, the salary cap increase played a big part in what you’re saying. But let’s face it: Everyone wants to play in the NBA. It’s natural. This is the best league in the world. Everyone wants to play against the best. This applies to me as well of course. I think that it is a natural development. We expected this to happen, people who knew things around the league also knew that this was coming. And it will to to greater lengths in the future”.

Do you think that the respect from NBA organizations towards European players has been increased? Why do you think that even players that perhaps didn’t even had a leading role in Europe sometimes manage to strike some pretty good deals in the NBA?

“It’s all about scouting. Scouting is everything. It’s everywhere. NBA teams watch everything and know everything that happens in Europe and around the globe. Being a superstar in Europe doesn’t automatically mean that you will get a guaranteed contract in the NBA. And not having a big role in a Euroleague doesn’t mean anything, you might still get a contract. Each organization possesses a knowledge and a deep technical know-how of exactly what players need in every position. What tools each player has. What is his character, etc.  So they know how to find the right pieces in order to complete the puzzle in the roster as they have pictured it”.

Your plan in the last two years was to sign a good NBA contract. Have you begun setting a new goal for your career?

“I have agreed to a two-year contract with the Atlanta Hawks. I am very happy with this. I want to be an established NBA player, be very useful and leave my mark in the team. To be honest, I don’t think about what the next target might be because I’ve already completed my primary goal which was to prove my worth and sign a contract in the NBA. I take it step by step. For now, I am moving to Atlanta and get to work. All that matters is to be healthy and have a great cooperation with everyone. Something that will happen because, as I said before, the Hawks are a great organization, ran by smart people. And our roster is going to be pretty good”.

Euroleague will miss you Malcolm!

“Euroleague will remain a very strong league. One that gives opportunities to many great players, with top level of basketball and beautiful games. NBA teams will continue watching Euroleague to check players worthy of receiving a contract. My experience in Europe has made me a better person and a better player. It had helped me a lot. I want to thank everyone I met.

Also, I want to thank Eurohoops that has been very supportive to me. You have been analyzing the game and doing a pretty good job on it. You have been positive to me and I want to thank you. I want to generally thank all the fans of European basketball and media in Europe with which I had a great cooperation at a top professional level”.