By: Cullen Davis
The Atlanta Hawks concluded the NBA 2022 Summer League with a lot of takeaways and energy moving towards the NBA and NBA G League regular season. After finishing 2-3, the Hawks and Head Coach Nick Van Exel did well adjusting in Las Vegas.
Several players stepped up on the court during Summer League, both offensively and defensively. In one of the most impressive moments of the tournament, Tyson Etienne delivered a game-winning, go-ahead driving layup with 14 seconds left to cap off a 15-point comeback victory against the San Antonio Spurs on July 14.
Coach Van Exel went on to mention that all the players did something different on the floor but was impressed with several individuals play.
“Tyrese (Martin) has been good and figured out how to get downhill, get in the paint and use his body. (Justin) Tillman was solid with scoring in the post and his post presence. Chaundee (Brown Jr.) has been attacking a lot better since we’ve had him the last few months. Joel Ayayi’s been doing everything.”
Martin, who recently inked a multi-year contract with the Hawks, had two 21-point performances (July 12, July 16), while Etienne recorded 21 points coming off the bench in his illustrious performance on July 14 where he also shot 5-9 from three-point range. Hawks two-way guard Chaundee Brown Jr. put his name on notice during his time in Las Vegas, eclipsing double-digit points in four of his five games while shooting .456% from the field and .400% from behind-the-arc.
Sitting down with Coach Van Exel, he had a lot of positive things to say about the squad and what he took away from the last two weeks. When asked what he believed his team excelled at the most he stated, “Attacking downhill and playing on the catch and go. We’ve been really good in transition and on the defensive end all summer league.”
As a former player and NBA all-star, NBA experience goes a long way as a coach. I asked Van Exel about this and how he thinks it helps in regards to a coaching role, which he responded, “I can relate to everything they're going through; putting pressure on themselves and playing with a lot of anxiety. I try to calm them down and tell them to play not with a sense of urgency but calmness. My experience helps me remain calm and I feel that as a coach if I’m calm, players will see that and respond to that.”
The next time the Atlanta Hawks will see action is when they face the Milwaukee Bucks for two preseason games at Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, Oct. 6, and Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 will mark the league’s first games in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Arabian Gulf.
Coach Nick Van Exel Sounds Off on NBA 2022 Summer League
By: Cullen Davis