HAMNIK COLUMN: Korver still serving up the hot sauce

2014-02-11T19:15:00Z 2014-02-12T12:31:33Z HAMNIK COLUMN: Korver still serving up the hot sauceAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
February 11, 2014 7:15 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Take a 7-footer who can chew gum and walk a straight line at the same time and a 3-point shooter with range to the VIP seats.

Who would you want on your team?

Silly question. The deep threat, of course.

That's the Atlanta Hawks' Kyle Korver, the bane of NBA defenses coast to coast.

If Korver's range was any farther out, you'd need a taxi to chase after him.

The 10-year veteran and former Chicago Bull entered Tuesday's action at the United Center averaging 12 points a game and shooting a league-leading .463 from beyond the arc.

His 118 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer was an NBA record, and he had converted six four-point plays this season.

"He's been doing it for a long time, so you have to give him a lot of credit," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game. "He keeps getting better and better every year. That's a mark of his preparation, his drive, his intelligence, work ethic, determination.

"That's why he's been a winning player throughout his career."

Korver was a popular member of the Bulls' once-famous "Bench Mob" from 2010 through 2012. He'd give them eight or nine points a game, but was a demon from deep -- shooting .415 and .435, respectively, from the shadows.

But then Derrick Rose blew out his knee and free agents like Korver were forced to move on.

Chicago's loss, Atlanta's gain.

It remains a sore spot with Thibodeau to this day.

"Sorry. You can't have him back," said Hawks' coach Mike Budenholzer.

Korver also is the owner of Seer Outfitters, a clothing brand which donates 100 percent of its profits to support organizations and causes throughout the country.

Dude's a big winner off the court, too.

"I really felt I learned a lot the two years I was here," Korver said while dressing for the game. "And then in Atlanta, I just got more opportunity and was really able to show a little more.

"But I really think my two years here were big for me in a lot of different ways."

Whoa. That's not the way it's supposed to work at this level. Teams use their players until there's little rubber left on the tires, then unload them.

The Bulls lack that deep impact player, though Mike Dunleavy and D.J. Augustin have certainly had their moments.

"There's some 'gift' with it but there's also a lot of hard work," Korver said of his unique skill. "Shooting is something where there's not a special technique. It's a lot of rhythm, a lot of practice.

"It's about finding a shot you can make every single time and doing it over and over again."

Korver comes from a basketball family -- his mother once scored 74 points in a high school game -- and he earned his degree in visual communications at Creighton.

How ironic. Follow the flight of his shot and the message is often the same.

"Give me the hot sauce!"

My apologies, Stacey King.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

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