Hawks Mini-Camp: Day 4

Thursday, July 23, 2009
By Micah Hart

Hawks mini-camp came to an end on Thursday with a morning scrimmage session. It’s a testament to everyone who participated that the effort was there till the end today; as Jeff Teague said afterwards, the atmosphere on the court felt like a playoff game.

Some thoughts on the 4 day event, which Mike Woodson called “the best camp I’ve ever coached.”

- Take this with a grain of salt if you feel like I’m toeing the company line here too much, but I honestly thought Jeff Teague, Othello Hunter, and Randolph Morris were the three best players over the course of the camp, with John Lucas III and Yaroslav Korolev not far behind. Now I realize the competition at a mini-camp like this isn’t quite apples-to-apples with veteran’s camp come October, their efforts were impressive nonetheless. Both Hunter and Morris look like they’ve improved their games since the end of last year, and Teague exhibited a calmness that reminds me a bit of Joe Johnson – he doesn’t seem to ever get rattled. That will serve him well as a rookie PG in the NBA, where even the best have struggled early on.

Overall the thing I liked the most about Teague’s game was his ability to finish around the basket. He has a terrific floater, he can finish difficult lay-ups in traffic with either hand, and as we saw in college, he can definitely jam.

- Speaking of Korolev, I’d say no other player in camp overshot my expectations more than he did. I don’t mean that as a backhand compliment – the only thing I knew about him coming in was that he busted out as a Clippers draft pick a few years back, so I didn’t expect to see much, but he showed off an impressive offensive arsenal scoring inside and out and with either hand. I don’t think he’s the most athletic player on the court, but I’ll be interested to see if he gets a training camp invite from the Hawks or perhaps another team.

- Lucas played very well the entire week matched up against Teague, and he too seems like he’d deserve another shot at the League. You feel for a guy like Lucas who clearly has talent, but his height (generously listed at 5-11) will always be something to make teams reticent to sign him. I spoke with him at length after practice yesterday (his younger brother Jai will play for my Texas Longhorns this season after transferring from Florida so I had to get the scoop), and he struck me as a guy who not only is an excellent basketball player but a great teammate as well. Even if he doesn’t get back in the NBA for a long stretch, I have no doubt he’ll be successful with any team he might play with here or abroad.

- Garret Siler acquitted himself well I thought, though he’s still pretty raw. His size is no joke, and if he continues to work on his game (he was a late starter, playing only one year of high school ball) he could definitely be an option because, as the saying goes, you can’t teach height.

- Corey “Homicide” Williams was fun to watch, as he showed off the tenacity that won him such acclaim on the hardcourts of New York City. He took it to the hole whenever the opportunity presented itself (and sometimes even when it didn’t), and I imagine the punishment he took on his way there was nothing compared to what he’s used to on the playground. Homicide is already set to play in the Australian National Basketball League, where he’s averaged 19 ppg over the past two seasons.

We’ve got a few more videos to post from mini-camp that we’ll have up over the next few days (including some good stuff from Randolph, who we gave a little mini-cam to play around with over the four days), as well as another photo gallery or two.

Final thought – maybe it’s hard to tell much about a few scrimmages bunched so closely together over a few days, but if, as Mike Woodson said after camp ended, part of the point of this camp was to see how T

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