By Kendal Manns
The Atlanta Hawks enter the NBA 2K24 Summer League 2023 with a talented young squad that is hungry to win and improve. The team is headlined by the Hawks three 2023 draftees in Kobe Bufkin (No. 15 overall), Mouhamed Gueye (No. 39) and Seth Lundy (No. 46). “Young vets” like AJ Griffin, Tyrese Martin and Vit Krejci give this team a mixture of experience and leadership.
Kobe Bufkin: Despite his slender build at 6’4, 195 pounds, the rookie guard is a game changer on both sides of the ball. He combines his natural speed with a high IQ to control the game. Coming off his sophomore season at Michigan averaging 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists, Bufkin showcased his ability to play on and off the ball. Using his speed and decisiveness to get to his spots, he knocked down .482% of his shots from the field and .355% from deep. His speed translates on defense as well, allowing him to make plays and get his team out in transition. He averaged 1.3 steals in his sophomore season translating to instant offense for his squad.
Bufkin’s key to success is his mentality. He has a high motor and work ethic to match. He is constantly focused on improvement as seen by the drastic jump between his freshman and sophomore years at Michigan, increasing his point total by +11.0 (3.0 to 14.0), rebounds by +3.4 (1.1 to 4.5) and steals by +0.9 (0.4 to 1.3). When asked what his approach to summer league is, the rookie expressed his desire to “soak up that information and apply it.” Look for Bufkin to be a major contributor on both sides of the ball for the Hawks.
Mouhamed Gueye: On first glance, Mouhamed Gueye looks like your classic lanky big man standing at 6’11 and weighing only 210 pounds, but he is much more than that. A former soccer player, Gueye moves with the fluidity of a guard despite his stature. The Dakar, Senegal native exhibits a sneaky athletic prowess in his offensive game. Coming off his sophomore season at Washington State, Gueye averaged 14.3 points per game on .513% from the field, using a variety of midrange pull ups and post moves. Gueye’s size makes him a consistent double-double threat. He put up a Pac-12 leading 15 double-doubles during his sophomore season.
His defense is an underrated part of his game. His 7 '4 wingspan poses a daunting task for any offensive player that tries to attack the paint or get a shot over him. Gueye plans to “be patient and let the game come to him” in the upcoming Summer League.
Seth Lundy: Lundy has shown elite shooting ability as a collegian as he tallied career highs from the field (.450%) and from deep (.400%) in his senior year at Penn State. After averaging 14.2 points and 6.3 rebounds in his final season, Lundy broke into the all-time ranks. With his next level scoring ability, he left Penn State ranked sixth all-time in made three-pointers (229), ninth in career free throw percentage (.814%) and 20th in career points (1,283). The Paulsboro, New Jersey native is much more than a spot up shooter, though. He can also put the ball on the floor and create his own shot. Along with his shooting, Lundy is sneaky athletic and is known for the occasional slam to remind his opponents of it.
Confidence is everything for the best shooters. Lundy has that in abundance. Describing his confidence “at an all-time high right now,” the second rounder looks to take that confidence and turn it into wins. His toughness and winning mentality were a couple of the things that stuck out the most before the draft to the Hawks front office.
AJ Griffin: Griffin is the most experienced player on the roster as far as games played go, appearing in 72 games for the Hawks in the 2022-23 season. The now-sophomore guard averaged 8.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 19.5 minutes of action on the season. Griffin left his mark with his consistent shooting from deep, hitting at a .390% clip, second-most among rookies. His craftiness around the basket and three-level scoring ability makes him a problem for any opposing defense. Griffin is no stranger to taking the big shot either as he was responsible for two of the Hawks game winners last season, against the Raptors and Bulls respectively. His 6-foot-6, 222-lb frame and his toughness makes him a prominent presence on the defensive end.
Despite only being 19 years old and younger than some of his teammates, Griffin brings leadership and experience, and is embracing his role as the “young vet.” When asked what he wants to get out of this summer league experience, Griffin was adamant about “becoming a better overall player and taking on more of a leadership role and being more vocal. The Dallas, Texas native will suit up for his first summer league competition after not playing last year due to injury.
Tyrese Martin: Martin is the definition of a “microwave.” When the second-year guard gets it going, he is a nightmare to stop. In his 30 games with the College Park Skyhawks, the Hawks’ G League affiliate, Martin averaged 18.1 points on .502% and .352% three-point shooting splits. He also went off for a team record 46 points against the Grand Rapids Gold, pouring in nine three-pointers (9-14 3FG) tying another team record. He is aggressive in transition and has no problem using his athleticism to throw down some thunderous dunks on the break. As one of the best shooters on the team, the Allentown, Pennsylvania native is sure to be someone to watch out for.
Outside of scoring, the 6’6 guard/forward also does the dirty work of fighting for rebounds. Averaging just under nine rebounds per game (8.9), Martin is dedicated to getting involved in the game anyway he can. He recorded 13 double-doubles on the season, including a season-high 15 rebounds to go along with 15 points against the Raptors 905 on 3/17/23. Be on the lookout for the UCONN product to be an effective scorer in the halfcourt and in transition.
Vit Krejci: Krejci is a familiar face for the Hawks after appearing in 29 games for the clubduring the 2022-23 campaign. He was also featured in three games with the Skyhawks,averaging 9.0 points and 9.7 rebounds in 33.9 minutes on .400 FG% and .333 3FG% shooting. With two years of experience under his belt and his international experience from suiting up for Casademont Zaragoza (Spain), he provides this team another veteran presence.
At 6’7 and 215 pounds, Krejci can put the ball on the floor and occasionally run the offense. In his 30 games with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2021-22 season, he averaged 6.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists as a rookie.