They have organized team dinners, such as the birthday celebration the Hawks put on for forward John Collins. They have watched playoff games together, while the coaching staffs point out strategy as they do in normal film sessions. They have talked about racial justice issues and the importance of voting. At both their practice facilities and hotels, they have hosted games of ping-pong, air hockey and cornhole. Some players have held wine-tasting sessions, including Love, who joked, “I can sweat some of it from the night before and we can get going.” “The biggest thing we want to accomplish is just to get our group together and build more camaraderie,” Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said. “It’s tough from a two-week window to really accomplish a lot from a basketball perspective. But from a team-building perspective, we feel like we can accomplish a lot with this little window.”
Each team has its own needs and brings its own questions, but Yurtseven has noticed some commonalities to the experience in recent months. That has allowed him to settle in and be more comfortable in the setting, after he said he was nervous in his first interview with the Atlanta Hawks. “I think first comes being honest and being yourself,” Yurtseven told NBC Sports Washington of the keys to a draft interview. “But other than that, you have to know their rosters in order to see how they would fit in; what shooters are you going to be able to kick out to, or what bigs would you be playing with, what picks do they have. In all the interviews, I try to incorporate all the things I know about them in order to show them that I care, that I want to be on their team.”
So one day, a close friend pulled up a few YouTube videos that he thought would keep Young entertained. One video showcased Young’s first All-Star appearance in his second season. Another captured the 50-point game he had Feb. 20 against the Miami Heat. The videos entertained Young. They also infuriated him. “That’s all cool and all. But I couldn’t even watch it,” Young said Thursday. “It’s so frustrating for me. I hate the narrative of just being a scorer and a stats person. Stats don’t mean anything. I don’t want that narrative to be I’m all about stats because I’m not. For me, stats is the last thing I’m bringing up. I’m all about winning.”