DeAndre' Bembry: An Extra Credit On and Off The Court
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
Author: Kevin L. Chouinard (@KLChouinard)
Hawks guard DeAndre' Bembry is a cinephile, but not in the snobby, movie-critic sort of way. He is a man of the people, as evidenced by his method for picking out what he watches.
"I watch too many to be honest." Bembry said. "I get movies from people who tell me. I put in on Instagram. I'm like, 'What should I watch?' "
At that point, Bembry said that he sorts through 100 or so direct messages and picks his film for the evening. Bembry lives in Atlanta with his grandmother and a friend from high school; when he isn't on the road he sometimes watches his movie picks with them.
His most recent viewing did not overwhelm him.
"I watched Venom yesterday, and it was regular. It wasn't what I thought it was going to be," he said.
While films rule Bembry's evenings, basketball fills his days. Lloyd Pierce said that Bembry has been at the practice facility since the Hawks tabbed Pierce to be their head coach this summer.
"Dre' showed up with his mom," Pierce said of the press conference that announced his hiring. "From that day moving forward, he and (assistant coach Chris) Jent have been in the gym, if not five days a week, then six days a week.
If the preseason is any indication, Bembry is on the cusp of having his most productive NBA season. In five games, Bembry averaged 11.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per game. He tallied 20 points and 5 assists in a preseason-opening win over New Orleans in Atlanta at McCamish Pavilion.
Pierce noted that Bembry shot the ball well from the field in the preseason, flashing a nicely-improved jump shot.
"He's done it in a very efficient manner: 46 percent from three and over 50 percent overall," Pierce said. "He's just playing good basketball. He's one of those guys who we have to keep under control with the turnover issue, but I think that he has been great for us. He provides us with two-way opportunities. He is able to guard the best perimeter players. He is able to slash and get to the rim."
46 percent shooting on three-point shots is evidence that Bembry's jump shot is miles away from where it was in his rookie year when he made just 1 of his 18 attempts.
Bembry had high praise for his tutor, who once won an NBA Championship with the Houston Rockets in 1994.
"He's a great shooter today," Bembry said of Jent, who spent most of his 10-year pro career in Europe. "I switched up a few minor adjustments to my jump shot. Now I feel a lot more comfortable and confident.
In his third season, Bembry anticipates that his role to differ from his previous two. As a rookie, he wasn't expected to carry much of a workload on offense. In his second year, injuries kept him from having much of a role at all. This season, he hopes to co-coordinate the Hawks' bench offense with point guard Jeremy Lin. With Lin having previous experience as a shooting guard, especially during his time with Kemba Walker in Charlotte, it's a natural fit for Bembry to have the ball in his hands at times.
"That's who I am: a bigger guard who can dribble and just play downhill," he said. "That's what I was raised on doing. That's what got me here. I don't want to come out here and shoot all jumpers just to prove that I've been working on my jumper."
Given the high volume of roster turnover from the past two years, Bembry has quickly and strangely become something of an old hand on the roster. Despite playing just 64 games in two seasons, the only player who has been on the Hawks' roster longer than Bembry is Kent Bazemore.
"I can teach some of the younger guys," Bembry said, "but I can also learn from some of the older guys like Vince Carter and Jeremy Lin."
From Lin, Bembry said that he has learned some of the nuances of running the point guard position, such as reading and reacting with the ball in his hands. From the 41-year-old Carter, Bembry is learning about what it takes to stay on the court for 44,161 NBA minutes.
"He is teaching me how to keep my body in shape," Bembry said. "You can learn from a guy who has been in the league for 21 years."
One of those self-preservation tactics — and one in which Bembry participates enthusiastically — is getting the proper amount of rest each day.
"I like to sleep a lot, " Bembry said. "After I workout, I have to go straight to sleep. I've got to get a nap every day. Sometimes my nap might be from like 3:00 to 7:00. Then I wake up, eat, and it's movie time."