By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Former All-EuroLeague guard Malcolm Delaney far from enjoyed the 2017-2018 experience with his now-former team Atlanta Hawks. Basically, he didn’t just dislike it. He actually “hated” it.
In an interview with SDNA, Delaney mentioned the lack of a specific role within the Hawks system plus the team’s losing record as two main reasons that he “definitely hated playing basketball” during the previous season.
Delaney, who will spend the 2018-2019 in China after signing a lucrative contract with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, also explained how he came to second-guess himself and his abilities during his stint with the Hawks, following what was a highly successful run in Europe with multiple individual honors and championship titles.
“Yeah, I hated basketball last year. Atlanta was good. I have respect for the coaches, I am not saying that the coach is terrible, but that’s NBA. When I went there, I knew that it could end up being like this. I am not a star player in the NBA. The coaches’ priority isn’t to make me happy. I had to adjust, but I never had a role, so I never knew how I was supposed in Atlanta. For me, who always had a role and always had coaches trusting my abilities, it was surprising. I definitely hated playing basketball last year, especially since we were losing. I am competitive and I hate losing. So that was the biggest thing. I didn’t get to play like myself and then we were losing. Some players got hurt and they let me play at “2”. And when I played well, everybody was surprised by the fact that I can play shooting guard. If anybody has seen films or games from the past, knows that I can play both guard positions. In Atlanta, they didn’t see that I am capable of it until the second season. It was kind too late though”.
– Based on the situation that you ‘re presenting me, I guess you were now allowed to blame yourself.
“Νο. But that’s how NBA makes you feel. You start to think: “Am I really that bad?”. It’s political but it makes you think. I had never been in such a situation in my career before. I was questioned about what I can do, I was told that I was taking too many shots. In the second game of the season, I think I had 9 shots and I was told that I was being too aggressive. I ‘ve never had that in my life. I ‘ve never had a coach tell me that I shot too much. All my friends and family wanted me to shot the ball and asked me why I didn’t. I told them that they don’t understand that behind closed doors somebody told me that I shot too much. People don’t understand what’s going on behind the scenes and how things work for a professional athlete. Like I said, I am not to blame anybody and I could still have done even better, but I could have been in a better situation which could have helped me more”.
Delaney’s answers echo what he said in an interview with Eurohoops where he also described the struggles he faced in his second season with Hawks.