Five questions with Malcolm Delaney

Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer confers with Malcolm Delaney during a game against the Lakers at Philips Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com

The Q&A series with Hawks players from their season-ending exit interviews concludes.

Today: Rookie Malcolm Delaney

Q. How would you sum up for first season in the NBA?

A. It was fun. It was a new experience for me. I think more so just being home and being around my friends and family. That’s the biggest thing. The basketball part was cool but just getting away from Europe and being able to embrace the American culture again was big. As far as the season goes, it didn’t go all the way I planned it to go. But I think we had a good year. We showed some spurts where we could be. I think the organization is taking it in the right direction in what they are trying to do and I’m just happy to be a part of the organization.

Q. Obviously, you’ve played basketball a long time but are there things you still want to work on this summer?

A. I just want to get back to being me. I think I went away from my game and what got me here. I think this is the time for me to be selfish and get back to being at the top of my game and be prepared to come in next year and, hopefully, make a bigger impact on the team. Like I said, just getting back to what got me here, being aggressive and making everybody around me better. Concentrate on myself a little more.

Q. Do you mean being aggressive with the ball when you say get back to being you?

A. Yes but everything. Like my workout habits. This will be my first summer in eight years where I can just work on my game and be with the staff. I work out with (assistant coach) Charles Lee a lot. Me and him have a good plan. They develop players well here and hopefully I’ll be one of them.

Q. How difficult was it going from being the backup point guard to being out of the rotation?

A. Toughest thing I’ve had to go through in my career. I’ve never had a DNP in this will be my 23rd year playing basketball. I’ve never had a DNP. For me it was different but I knew coming from Europe it was possible. It wasn’t something I wasn’t prepared for. Like I tell people, I come in to work every day the same when I did play and when I didn’t. I practiced hard, try to be a good teammate, do my job on and off the court. That’s the only thing I can control.

Q. Who did you lean on during those times?

A. My family. We are a tight-knit family. I was pissed but I could have been in Europe on a 10-hour layover in Russia. For me, I appreciated being here. That was the biggest thing. I didn’t let it bother me because I was still here. Just being here was the biggest thing.

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