Kyle Korver is no stranger to winning. At Creighton, under Dana Altman, Korver experienced seasons of 23, 24, 23 and 29 wins and went to the NCAA Tournament every season he was a Bluejay. In the pros, Korver was on two very successful Bulls teams, winning 61 and 50 games his two years in Chicago.
So since winning is nothing new to him, maybe we should listen when Korver talks about the success his current team, the amazing Atlanta Hawks, is having. We asked some questions and he gave us an excellent insight into how he feels this team works.
On why this team works so well on both ends of the floor:
Every time down the court everyone feels like they matter. When you feel like you matter...We all know we might not get the shot, but we're all going to do something. Nobody is out there spaced out watching someone else go to work. You feel like you matter every time. Your cut, your pass, your screen, or your shot, whatever it is, you effect if we score every single time down the court.
And it's like anything in life, when you feel like you matter you do it a little harder, you do it with a little more pace, you do it with more purpose and I think things work out a little better and it's the same thing in basketball.
Everyone here has been on teams where you watch guys go to work and that guy will probably get a lot of points but defenses now are getting so good that it's getting harder and harder to be that guy. You need to have a good team and you can't just do it by yourself anymore. Can't get a team to a championship just by yourself. It's just too difficult.
On the team's defense and his own propensity for the Korver Swat:
(Laughs) Yeah, I usually swing hard at them, usually a big foul or block. Try to use my length - some things I'm better at than others, but it's all about team defense. I want to be there for other guys, I want them to be there for me. I'm not going to jump super high, but the ball has only got to go 10 feet, right? So I can get to 10 feet.
We all have to play together and we know this. There isn't a guy on this team that's been All-Defense, so we have to be there for each other.
On the team growth from last season:
It's great. A lot of the foundation was laid out for us last year as far as how we want to play, who we want to be. We dealt with Al going out, obviously, he's such a big part of who we are, such a good player. Now that we know who we are, what we're doing, we've put all the bones in place, now we're out there, playing confident, better chemistry, know how to execute better late in the game....all those things that you get better at as you play together more.
Every possession you matter. You might score or you might make the pass. We all love playing basketball and I think in the NBA, if you can play together and play hard every night then you are going to win a bunch of games and if you add the pieces, we have some talented guys...you put that all together you get consistent effort, consistent wins.
On his thoughts about where all of this is going, ultimately:
I think the way we play is fun...I am sure everyone debates whether it can win in the playoffs, we don't care much about that. We just...it's fun for us and we feel like its working.
And with that, the freshly minted All-Star heads into a weekend that celebrates, if not by design then by sheer involvement, a team that is bringing the biggest regular season success to this franchise to date in Atlanta. Korver's a special talent at a special point in time and we're fortunate to be a witness to it all. The professionality and thoughtfulness Korver brought to these answers underlines the approach of the whole team.
And, he's right, it's an awful lot of fun.