Atlanta’s summer league opponents, dates and times have been announced, so it’s time to look ahead to July!
John Jenkins, Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack are supposed to be on the Hawks’ roster, but outside of those three, we don’t know anyone else yet. The roster should come into focus after next Thursday’s draft, where Atlanta currently has four picks scheduled for the two rounds. If no trades are made and all four draft picks are chosen to play in Las Vegas in three weeks, it would bring the roster total to seven. Others from the D-League may join as well depending on what the roster looks like after the draft.
Summer League is usually designed so teams can see and develop their young talent, and the Hawks will certainly have a lot to evaluate this summer. With a huge roster overhaul, the players on Atlanta’s team during the 12-day period in July will have not only a lot to play for and certainly a huge opportunity to impress the coaching staff.
For Jenkins, I’ll be particularly interested in his defensive improvement and his explosiveness off the dribble. We know he can shoot, and we know he can pass – he did both very well during a successful rookie campaign in Atlanta. There’s still much to develop though, and he can use this Summer League to help hone the skills that could make him a star in the league one day.
For Scott, I’ll be looking for him to make post moves early in possessions, and for him to finish around the basket. He has a nice 12-15 foot jump shot, But I’d love to see him get more aggressive down low. Quick decision-making upon receiving the entry passes could help that. He’ll also likely be guarding bigger players this summer, so we’ll see how he handles himself.
And finally, for Mack, I’ll be looking at his court vision and decision-making. We saw him grow into creating his own shot after being called up to the Hawks from the D-League, so now it’s a matter of improving his court vision and distribution skills.
The format for Summer League is also new this year. Instead of the round robin format, the NBA has scheduled three games for each team. The 22 teams will then be seeded based on the results of those games, and there will be a bracket to determine a champion. First-round losers will play a consolation game, meaning each team is guaranteed five games. A team could conceivably play up to eight though if they go from the first round of the tournament all the way to the championship. The two teams playing in the final game on July 22 will have played no fewer than seven games during the 11-day stretch.
Atlanta’s first three games are July 12 against the Clippers at 6 p.m. ET, July 14 against the Heat at 10 p.m. ET and July 15 against the Spurs at 10 p.m. ET. All three of Atlanta’s opponents had home-court advantage in at least one playoff series in this year’s playoffs, and they are one of only two teams (Toronto) guaranteed to play both conference champions.
The tournament format certainly adds another layer of competitiveness to an already intense stretch of basketball for the NBA’s youngest stars.
We’ll post an updated blog about Summer League after the draft once we find out the official Hawks roster.
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