If you look up Kyle Korver’s highlights, you will be met with some of the most impressive shooting you will ever see. He had an incredible NBA career that lasted 18 seasons. He made it to the NBA Finals and showed that he could ball out at the highest level. It was unfortunate that he was one of the guys playing his final games in the bubble and could not have any proper fan sendoffs.
A lot of NBA betting was done on him and his ability to shoot. Korver is truly one of the best of all time, and he had a streak of 127 games in a row with a three-pointer. Before Stephen Curry showed up to destroy the mark, it stood for a good while. He was as consistent as it gets and shot close to 50% from beyond the arc a couple of times. He was also an All-Star once, surprisingly, so let’s discuss.
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The 2014-15 Hawks
Mike Budenholzer became the coach of the Atlanta Hawks ahead of the 2013-14 campaign. The team finished just 38-44 and got eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. They had laid the foundation for what was to come for them, though. They made some off-season moves and looked like they could be a little better in the season that followed. Nobody could have predicted just how much.
One of the many disciples of the Gregg Popovich coaching tree, Budenholzer clearly had a vision for Atlanta. The team improved from 38 wins to 60 the next year. This put them as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference, ahead of LeBron James and the Cavs, and the mighty Bulls, too. There was a point in the year when the team won 17 games in a row.
This would lead to Atlanta making some odd history. The entire starting lineup of Jeff Teague-Kyle Korver-DeMarre Carroll-Paul Millsap-Al Horford was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month. While none of them had an incredible amount of individual success in this stretch, it was clear that the impact of their cohesion was enough. It was not normal, but they certainly earned it.
They went to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in their existence in Atlanta. They had most recently made a West Division Final while playing in the other conference. They proved that you don’t need a superstar to compete like this. That might not still hold true, but this team was absolutely special.
Four of Their Starters Were All-Stars
Paul Millsap played four seasons with the Hawks and never missed an All-Star team. Is that a coincidence? He never made it in Denver for Utah. Al Horford had a remarkable career with the team, and they should give consideration to hanging his number in the rafters. He made it to several All-Star games, including the 14-15 game. His ability to play offense and defense was truly impressive.
Jeff Teague averaged 16 points, seven assists, and almost two steals per game in the 14-15 campaign. It was enough, the voters felt, to get him in as an All-Star reserve. That would not cut it in today’s game, but eight years ago, it was still considered enough to be on the best team. Under the same logic, Malcolm Brogdon could have qualified for the 2023 game.
And the final starter to get in was Kyle Korver. He was averaging 12 points, four rebounds, and a shade under three assists per game. This might be good enough to make it in middle school, but the NBA? Sure, he shot an unearthly 49.3% from long range for the year, but this seemed to be a bit much. He deserved the honor at least once in his career, but not like this.
Arguments could be made against both Teague and Korver, but you can’t change what happened. Two role players were so good at what they did that they qualified for the midseason classic. They joined the ranks of the Celtics (Rondo, Allen, Pierce Garnett) and Pistons (Billups, Hamilton, Wallace, Wallace) as Eastern Conference teams in the millennium to have four All-Stars.
Winning pays, huh? But seriously. Korver was not good enough to be an All-Star. Come on. That’s like putting Seth Curry in the game right now.