Latest posts by Ben Stinar (see all)
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ATLANTA — Atlanta Hawks fans waited in line with their Hawks gear, basketballs and jerseys to take a photo and get an autograph from DeAndre’ Bembry on Saturday. The three-year-veteran posted career highs this season in almost every category. Playing in all 82 games, he averaged 8.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals in 23.5 minutes.
“It was great,” Bembry told Amico Hoops. “Being able to actually talk and speak to some of your fans and let them give you their thoughts and opinions.”
There were more fans than one would expect at an XFINITY store in the middle of the day on a Saturday. There has never been a diehard fan base in the city of Atlanta for the Hawks. However, that is changing. Their exciting brand of basketball and relatively new front office and ownership have instantly changed the perception of the team. There is a budding excitement in and around the city. That’s also led to more fans being excited about Bembry.
“I’ve definitely noticed that over this past year,” he said. “You can definitely tell a lot more kids and family members know my name now.”
During the season, Bembry said he used to live in the city around Midtown, and now he lives in a quieter area in East Atlanta. That led to more focus on and off the floor.
“It definitely played a huge factor for me,” he said. “Moving outside of the city so I could just focus in on what I need to do.”
The 24-year-old (he will turn 25 on July 4) has been in Atlanta since the season ended, working out with the team and is now entering his fourth season in the NBA. This will also be the final season of his contract, becoming a free-agent next summer. He shot 44.6 percent from the field this season, 28.9 percent from deep and 64.0 percent from the free-throw line.
”Last year, it worked for me, staying in the gym,” the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Bembry said. “I’ll be there all summer.”
There was also the reported trade between the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks sending Taurean Prince to the Nets. Prince, was one of Bembry’s good friends on the team and he called him as soon as he found out Prince would be traded. They came into the NBA together as part of the same 2016 rookie class for the Hawks, Bembry being selected with the 21st overall pick out of St. Joseph’s University.
”One of my best friends on the team, of course,” Bembry said. “I’m happy for him. This isn’t going to stop him. It’s not going to stop us, either.”