Before the season, there were plenty of detractors of the Hawks Talon Gaming Company, the official NBA 2K League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks. Despite the outside noise and some very unusual circumstances, the team has banded together to start the season 3-1.
A lot of the success can be attributed to the level-headed coach Wesley Acuff. He was an integral part of a strong offseason, which included high draft picks and a trade for superstar, BP (Michael Diaz-Cruz). Now that Acuff has the talent he needs on the roster, he can work his culture-building magic.
In a phone interview, he told me how the team is closer than ever due to the quarantine and travel restrictions. The world around him might be going crazy, but his approach is very much the same. Building friendships, talking daily through group chats, team bonding, care packages, and team meals.
Acuff’s Zen approach to managing talent has paid dividends this season and will continue to benefit his young team as the schedule gets tougher, and the stakes get higher. His star player, BP, has somehow managed to take his game up another level since arriving in Atlanta this offseason.
The 2019 1st-round pick leads the team at the point guard position and routinely torches his defender for nearly 27 points and 7 assists per game — undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the league.
If Acuff is the Phil Jackson, then 2020 1st-round pick LEE (Lee Lamb) has to be the team’s Scottie Pippen. Yesterday the talented post player spoke on how he valued his “simple” role. Almost 9 points and 14 rebounds per game against the best competition in the world doesn’t sound simple, but it’s light work for the rookie.
Currently, the Hawks Talon GC is sitting at 2nd place in the league. Tonight, they take on the undefeated Raptors Uprising GC, the official affiliate of the Toronto Raptors. These games will be live-streamed on the league’s Twitch and YouTube channels as well as on ESPN.com and the ESPN App.
Before you watch tonight’s game, make sure you get to know these guys who wear their city pride on their sleeve. Atlanta’s own KEL (Mykel Wilson), MRSTYLEZ (Andrew Valle), FOLLOWTHEGOD (Kwan Larry Niblack Jr.), and ARKEL(Derrion Elmore) have the potential to explode on any given night.