Story by KL Chouinard
After spending time in the G-League and bouncing around from team to team, New Hawks point guard Quinn Cook is looking forward to a new season and a fresh start on a roster full of fresh faces.
“It’s a great opportunity for all of us,” Cook said when meeting the assembled Atlanta media for the first time. “We have a younger team.”
As a collegian at Duke University, the 6-foot-2 point guard assembled a long track record of success: a cumulative 118-26 record in four seasons, a national championship, and Second Team All-America honors from The Sporting News following his senior season.
The 24-year-old expects that his time at Duke will help him in Atlanta due to the similarities of the respective offenses under head coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Mike Budenholzer.
“We did a lot of (the same things) at Duke,” Cook said. “I know Coach Bud and Coach K are really, really, really close friends so they talk a lot. That’s one thing Coach K told me: Be prepared for motion and spacing. That’s really all I’ve been working on since before I got here.”
Cook has also thrived in the two seasons since finishing his college career. After going undrafted in the NBA Draft, Cook played the majority of his pro games in the G-League for the Canton Charge, where he won the G-League Rookie of the Year award in his first season and First-Team All G-League honors in his second campaign. In addition to averaging 22.6 points and 6.0 assists, he made the G-League All-Star Game twice while helping Canton to a cumulative 47-35 record in the games in which he played.
Don’t let those point totals fool you though. Cook considers himself a pass-first player.
“I put up a lot of big numbers in the D-League, just because on my team I was the primary scorer,” Cook said, “but I’m a pass-first point guard who can make plays for others. When it’s time to make a play for myself, I can make a play for myself.”
As a rookie last season, Cook also played 14 NBA games for the Dallas Mavericks and New Orleans Pelicans.
As for the things on which he hopes to improve in order to make a lasting impression in the NBA, he noted that he wanted to get better at defending ball screens, as well as maintaining the consistency of his jump shot.
One player who knows Cook’s game well is Josh Magette. The Hawks signed Magette to a two-way, NBA/G-League contract this week. Having played point guard in the G-League for the past two seasons, Magette knows Cook’s game well from numerous head-to-head battles.
“Quinn is a great player. He can really, really score the ball,” Magette said. “When he gets going, he is tough to stop. We played them in Summer League when he was with New Orleans, and he had two really good games against us.”
Magette also attested to Cook’s ability to guide his teammates from beyond the point guard position.
“He’s a great guy off the court too. He’s a leader and a guy that people like being around.”
While it remains to be seen how often the Hawks turn to Cook this season, his skill set and history of success make it difficult to doubt that he will make an impact. And for his part, Cook appreciates the opportunity to grow and learn around a young core of teammates.
“I’m very excited, very fortunate, and very thankful for the Hawks for giving me another chance to play in the NBA,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for all of us.”