Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Atlanta Hawks are 17-6 since changing coaches and have a guy shooting 50/50/100

Behold: Your Hawks savior, Tony Snell.
Behold: Your Hawks savior, Tony Snell.
Image: Getty Images

Tony Snell is still being memed for famously putting up zero points, rebounds, assists, steals or blocks in 28 minutes of play while with the Milwaukee Bucks four years ago. The accomplishment dubiously fell 21 seconds short of the NBA’s record for most minutes in a game without scoring, which Joel Anthony set years earlier. The same Snell who had 24 points on 9-for-9 shooting in a game last season.

But now, Snell’s on the precipice of a historical season while playing a vital role on one of the NBA’s most surprising teams this season: Nate McMillan’s Atlanta Hawks.

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The firing of Lloyd Pierce on the day after Black History Month ended was marred by unfavorable reactions, putting the successor in a difficult spot, even if it was McMillan, who has been coaching in the NBA in some capacity since 1998. Pierce was removed from his position with the Hawks on March 1, where the team sat 14-20 nearly halfway through the season. But since appointing McMillan — who had a career 661-588 NBA head coaching record coming into the season — the team is 17-6. They had even won eight straight immediately after their coaching change and have won 8 of their last 10 heading into tonight’s home game against the Orlando Magic.

Snell won’t be playing in that game because of an ankle injury, but that only means his historic 50/50/100 season could remain in-tact that much longer!

While averaging 21 minutes per game this season, Snell is averaging 5.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. It doesn’t look like much, sure, but the counting stats are not why you’re here. (Although, since McMillan got the job, Snell’s has jumped in usage, losing 25.4 minutes per game over his last 19, where he’s made 14 of his 18 starts on the season, and is posting 6.5 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.)

But the shooting splits are the first of its kind. Snell is shooting 52-percent from the floor, 57-percent from three, where he’s averaging 2.5 attempts per game, and 100-percent (!!) on free throws. Sure, he also broke the record for most minutes played without attempting a foul shot, but he also hasn’t missed a free throw since March 12, 2019. This means Snell has made 47 consecutive free throws, including 11 this season. Though records might not qualify him the 50/50/100 if he doesn’t attempt another free throw (because there’s only 11), we’ll give it to him anyway.

Not missing a free throw ain’t easy. Plus, at 47 consecutive buckets, he’s about halfway from the NBA record of 97, a mark held by Michael Williams and chased unsuccessfully by Steph Curry earlier this year. Steve Kerr is the only recorded player in NBA history to be in the 50/50/90 club, so a Snell free throw miss would still have him in elite company. (Kerr hit 50.6-percent from the field, 51.5-percent on threes, and 92.9-percent on free throws in 1995-96, when the Chicago Bulls won 72 games. Kerr played 23.4 minutes per game through all 82 contests and averaged over eight points.)

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Here’s to more silly sports feats by names you wouldn’t expect, and to Snell never missing a free throw ever again.