Atlanta Hawks guard Malcolm Delaney took an interesting path to the NBA. A four-year player out of Virginia Tech, Delaney went undrafted and headed overseas in hopes of further developing his game. He found a home in Europe and quickly became one of the best international players in the game. Delaney finally made his return to the states this summer agreeing to a multi-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks.
“The biggest thing for me, I wanted to go over there and develop my game as much as possible so I could eventually come back. I ultimately changed my goal to be one of the best players in Europe instead of just making it to the NBA. I just wanted to make sure that I was good and my family was good financially,” Delaney said when asked about why this was the right time to come to the NBA.”
“I started working my way up over there, I was comfortable where I was at. I made it to be one of the best players over there. I didn’t want to chase the NBA. I wanted it to be a situation where a team wanted me and I didn’t have to come over here and take a minimum deal and be the last man on the bench just to be on a roster.”
The Hawks were no stranger to Delaney and General Manager Wes Wilcox had become one of his biggest fans. Delaney worked out for the Hawks in Atlanta last summer but the timing wasn’t right for either party. So it was natural that they revisited the situation again this summer.
“I just wanted the opportunity of a club that I fit in well with,” Delaney added. “Atlanta was the best situation I think for me. Speaking with everybody around here, this is probably the best or if not one of the top three organizations in the NBA. So it just felt comfortable. Wes was a big fan of me for a while. He scouted me and talked to me a lot. They tried to get me in last summer but it didn’t work out.”
As far as his fit on the court, Delaney brings a variety of skills to the table. He has developed into a quality playmaker but also possesses a strong jump shot. He knocked down 37 percent of his three-point attempts last season while playing for Lokomotiv Kuban.
When asked to describe his game, Delaney was a bit reluctant to pigeon hole himself into a singular position and instead said that his versatility and ability to adapt to his teammates was one of his biggest strengths as a player.
“I think the best part about my game is that I can adapt to anything,” Delaney said. “I can be a point guard. If you want me to go out, don’t shoot and get 15 assists, I can do that. Do you want me to go get 20 points? I can do that. So I think playing in Europe was the biggest thing that helped me the most. I can go into any situation and I can make sure everybody around me is happy as well as doing what I do.”
“I was a score first player first so I kind of developed into a point guard,” Delaney added. “I still have that combo guard instinct and it is just my playmaking. I never consider myself a point guard, I’m just a playmaker. I just make plays. I fit well into that because I can do both.”
Dennis Schröder appears to be entrenched as the team’s new starter at point guard but there is an opening behind him. The team brought in veteran Jarrett Jack this summer but he is still recovering from an ACL injury that he suffered last season and has not been cleared for full contact. That is an opportunity for Delaney and one that he is hoping to capitalize on.
“Yeah that is why they brought me here. I’m a rookie but I’m not really a rookie. For me, basketball really wasn’t a worry. Once I get to know all of my teammates and what they do, I can play with anybody and I can do whatever they need me to do. Whenever I get my opportunity I will take advantage of it.”