Hawks' Summer League Roster Offers Plenty of Intrigue
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images
The Hawks released their 2014 Summer League roster Tuesday, and there are a lot of exciting pieces.
Back for another stint in Las Vegas are John Jenkins, Mike Muscala and Dennis Schröder, all of whom were part of the 2013-14 Atlanta team. Jenkins will be playing in the Summer League for the third time as he continues to work his way back from a season-ending back injury last year. Hopefully he can re-gain the shooting form he had his rookie year and last summer.
Muscala played 20 games with the Hawks last season and said he wants to continue to get stronger, play better defense and expand his range. He'll be challenged defensively with a number of great prospect big men in Las Vegas, and he'll have a chance to expand on the range we saw from him, similar to what Mike Scott did last summer when he unveiled a newly-crafted three-point shot.
Schröder had some tough luck as rookie with limited minutes behind Jeff Teague and Shelvin Mack. Still, a year in the NBA helped him, and another summer of playing 25+ minutes per game won't hurt either. He still needs to develop a consistent jump shot, and he'll have plenty of chances to let it fly in Atlanta's free-flowing system this week.
All three of the players the Hawks acquired in the 2014 draft will be in uniform as well. First-round pick Adreian Payne will see his first taste of NBA action, and I'm sure fans will be watching closely to see how he'll do. On paper it appears his style of play fits well with what the Hawks want to do, so we'll see how well that holds true once game action starts.
Edy Tavares, as General Manager Danny Ferry said, is a unique player because of his size. He could very well end up being the tallest player in the tournament, so we'll see how he takes advantage of that. As most people know, the international game is very different from the NBA game, even in Summer League, so Tavares' ability to adapt to how physical things will be in Las Vegas will be a good indicator of how close he is to being ready to make the jump.
Lamar Patterson is a guard who can shoot and create for himself, which is sometimes the best offense in the summer because of the fast and chaotic play. Games are shorter, sometimes sloppier and usually faster, so Patterson's style may actually fit well considering he can run, shoot and drive. I loved the trade when it happened on draft night, and I hope this is a step toward him getting a Training Camp invite.
Atlanta filled the rest of its roster with some undrafted rookies, a few international prospects and some guys looking to make a team once again. You may recognize Eric Dawson's name, as he both played for Atlanta in last year's Summer League and was also part of the Hawks' Training Camp before eventually being the final cut. He played for the Austin Toros and the NBL in China last season.
A few SEC alums made the roster. Florida's Casey Prather teamed up with Scottie Wilbiken to form an elite backcourt for the Gators. Prather shot better than 60% from the field and 40% from three in helping Florida reach the Final Four this season. Alabama's Trevor Releford, also on the roster, finished fifth in the conference in scoring and was named to the first team All-SEC for the second straight year.
Several other players who played college ball in the states are on the roster too. Abraham Millsap, brother of Hawks forward Paul Millsap, played six games for Tennessee State in 2012-13. Stephen Holt, the 6'4" guard out of St. Mary's, started all 34 games as a senior, averaging 15 points as a team captain in his final season. Washington State forward D.J. Shelton averaged a double-double last season in 30 minutes per game. And 6'10" Travis Wear is a perfect fit for the Hawks' style because he can stretch defenses. He shot 44% from three last season for UCLA.
Greek-American Michael Bramos has been playing in Europe since 2009 but did attend school in the states at Miami-Ohio University while Edo Muric, of Slovenian decent, helped his team to win the past four championships in Slovenia from 2011-2014.
All in all, the Hawks have a roster diverse in skillsets, but they all seem to be able to contribute something to a system predicated on pace and space. It should be a fun week.
Story by Jaryd Wilson