Hawks bring back Kyle Korver to help player development

Hawks' Kyle Korver takes the court for the home opener against the Wizards in an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com

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Hawks' Kyle Korver takes the court for the home opener against the Wizards in an NBA basketball game at Philips Arena on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com

The Hawks continue to double down on improving after last season ended in a disappointing early exit from the playoffs. On Tuesday, the team hired Kyle Korver as its new director of player affairs and development.

In this newly created role, the Hawks have tasked Korver with helping the coaches, athletic-performance team and front office to create a development plan for each Hawks player. He also will help to oversee each plan throughout the season.

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The Hawks have had questions come up about the development of their young players in recent years as they try to achieve their postseason goals. Last year, Jalen Johnson averaged 2.4 points and 1.2 rebounds in five minutes, while Sharife Cooper spent much of last season in the G League.

This year’s draft picks, AJ Griffin and Tyrese Martin, will have plenty of competition to crack the Hawks’ rotation. As of now both likely would sit at third on the depth chart at their respective positions.

So, with Korver aboard, the Hawks will be able to have a clearer plan in place to bring their young players along in the hopes of preventing any drop-off in talent along the bench.

“We are excited to bring Kyle back to the Hawks,” Hawks General Manager Landry Fields said in a statement provided by the team. “He is a tremendous person and someone whose presence will benefit all of our players, both on and off the court, drawing from his unique experiences over his 17-year playing career, as a late-second round pick who later became an All-Star in Atlanta and one of the league’s all-time best shooters.”

Time will tell what plans Korver has in place for the 14 players currently under standard contracts, as well as Cooper and Chaundee Brown, who likely will hold the team’s two-way deals. But Korver spent last season with the Nets, where he worked with the team’s young players on their shooting, especially at the free-throw line.

When Korver stepped away from basketball following the 2019-20 season, he had shot 42.9% from 3-point range and 87.7% from the free-throw line in his NBA career.

The Hawks were one of the best shooting teams in the league last season, finishing in the top five when it came to knocking down shots from long range and the free-throw line. But they’ve moved on from several of the players who contributed to that in the offseason and saw the departure of Chris Jent, who was the team’s top assistant and shooting coach. So, the Hawks will need a solid replacement who can help tap into the shooting capabilities of the current players on this roster.

Korver could fill in where needed or at the very least help to guide the team’s current coaching staff.

Hawks offseason moves

June 23: Selected AJ Griffin with the No. 16 pick. Drafted Ryan Rollins with the No. 44 pick and traded him to the Warriors for No. 51 pick Tyrese Martin and $2 million.

June 29: Obtained Dejounte Murray and Jock Landale from the Spurs in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, a 2023 first-round pick (from Hornets), 2025 first-round pick, 2027 first-round pick and the right to swap first-round picks in 2026.

June 30: Free agents Delon Wright (Wizards) and Kevin Knox (Pistons) agree to deals with other teams.

June 30: Extended a two-way qualifying offer to 2021 draft pick Sharife Cooper.

July 1: Agreed to a one-year deal with free agent Aaron Holiday.

July 1: Traded Kevin Huerter to the Kings for Justin Holiday, Maurice “Moe” Harkless and a 2024 lottery-protected first-round pick.

July 2: Dealt Jock Landale to Suns for cash.

July 3: Signed AJ Griffin to rookie deal.

July 5: Promoted Joe Prunty to lead assistant; hired Mike Longabardi

July 8: Signed center Frank Kaminsky to one-year deal

July 16: Signed Tyrese Martin to two-year contract.

July 19: Hired Kyle Korver as director of player affairs and development