The end of the season always seems abrupt. One day the team has a packed schedule of shootaround, media sessions, radio interviews (not to mention a game), and the next the players are cleaning out their lockers and heading their separate ways for the summer.
Today, about 12 hours after the final buzzer sounded and the Highlight Factory stopped production for the summer, the Hawks cleared out the locker room, met with Coach Larry Drew and GM Rick Sund, and headed out.
We spoke to most of the guys about the progress the team made this year and, to a man, they were a still a little stunned by the abrupt end to their run in the playoffs.
“Honestly, I couldn’t sleep last night,” said Zaza Pachulia. “It was a huge difference in last year or the year before, and this year in the second round. When you feel that you have a chance, that’s when it hurts.”
In the coming days, we will sift through all of the content gathered earlier today and feature plenty of interviews and videos here on the blog and on Hawks.com.
To get things started, here are some thoughts from one of the Hawks captains, Al Horford:
(Reflecting on the season)I think we did a much better job as a team in the playoffs. Beating Orlando is something that we didn’t take for granted, and competing with a team like Chicago, I was very encouraged by that. I think in the past you would have seen a different side of our guys, but we stayed with it and just fought. We just couldn’t get it done.
(On improving his game this summer)Just keep working on my shooting and putting the ball on the floor a little more. Those are the points of emphasis that I want to work on. I’m excited about it. I know that I still can get a lot better, and that’s what I’m gonna plan on doing.