Al was named third-team All-NBA. It’s the 24th time a Hawks player made one of the three teams. J.J. didn’t get a single vote from media after making the third team last season.
“I wasn’t really wasn’t expecting it,” Al said. “It’s really a great feeling. I’m very honored, I really am.”
Al had a great year and got plenty of pub for it, so why wouldn’t he think he had a shot?
“When you are so focused on the playoffs don’t really keep up with things like that,” he said. “And when you think about [All-NBA], it’s an elite group. I’m just really honored to be part of it. It just kind of shows the hard work I put in has been paying off.”
As we’ve seen in the playoffs, there’s more work for Al to do. Based on his history there’s little reason to doubt he will put in the hourse and, given that he’s not yet 25, there’s also reason to believe he will improve.
L.D. said Al’s development has been “truly remarkable” but both he and Al agreed he hasn’t reached his ceiling.
“A guy of his size and his ability, one area of improvement he really needs to make is his footwork,” Drew said. “On the block, he can score. He has skills down there but there is improvement to be made in that box area. He has certainly shown his ability, mid-range, to shoot the basketball. Prior to this year people didn’t see as a real pick-and-pop guy. He has turned into one of the deadliest shooters in the mid range.”
Al said he wants he wants to extend his range this summer.
“I haven’t thought about it that thoroughly, but some of the things I want is to be a better shooter, especially branch out a little more,” he said. “To be able to put the ball on the floor a little more–one dribble, two dribble and take it all the way. Those are things this summer I am really going to put a lot of emphasis on.”
- Same lineup tonight.
- The message on the Hawks’ locker room board at shootaround today: “Plane leaves for MIA 2:30 on Tues.”
- Teague on running the team: “We’ve got a lot of good shooters on this team. I’ve got to give them the ball where they can continue to play hard.”
- Josh on Teague’s feel for when to attack and when to facilitate: “That takes time, with minutes. He’s learning as we speak. We’ve got to be patient.”
- Smoove on being the catalyst: “I understand. It’s not pressure for me. I’ve dealt with it for a while. That’s just the DNA. I have to get off to a good start and be aggressive, especially on the defensive end. “
- L.D. on fourth-quarter offense: “We just have to move the ball. That’s just the bottom line. We can’t start isolating; we can’t start holding the ball. If you just hold the ball and try to play one-on-one you play right into their hands.”
- L.D. on Josh not retaliating against Boozer: “I don’t think there will be a carryover effect at all. Josh is professional enough to know he has to do that. All that does is plays right into their hands. It takes him out of his game, which I am sure they want. He has to be professional. It’s in the past.”
- Chicago media types were asking the Bulls if they are looking ahead to the Heat. D-Rose: “Definitely we want to get it over with but it’s not over with. We still have a game. We are anxious. We can’t look ahead.”
- It’s worth remembering that the Hawks have already exceeded expectations in the playoffs while the Bulls have underachieved relative to their regular season. That’s why L.D. thinks the Bulls are feeling pressure despite leading the series. “Going into the series, no one thought there would be a Game 6,” he said. “I give credit to my players. I think they have stepped up to the challenge. We have nothing to lose. We are going to lay it our on the line.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat