Preview: Hawks vs. Heat
After a day of practice today, the Hawks are eager to get back on the court for game 2 of the Summer League schedule against the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat.
Of course, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh won’t be in uniform, but this is still a dangerous Heat team, particularly because they’ve already been playing together.
The Miami Summer League team also competed in the Orlando Summer League, going 3-2. They then flew straight to Las Vegas, where they’ll play their first Summer League game here against the Raptors tonight. We will see them tomorrow, where they will play their seventh game in eight days and fourth in as many days. We’ll see if that’s a factor.
Miami has a roster of 24, but not all made the trip to Las Vegas. Some notables who we will see tomorrow include James Ennis, who had a nice week last week in Orlando. You may remember the Hawks took Ennis with the 50th overall pick in the draft a few weeks ago, then traded him for a conditional second round draft pick in 2017. Ennis was the Heat’s second leading scorer in Orlando, averaging 14.3 points per game. He also shot 86 percent from the free throw line, so it’ll be wise to keep him off the stripe.
Ian Clark was Miami’s leading scorer in Orlando, but he is not on the Las Vegas roster.
Jarvis Varnado is another dangerous player. At 6’9″, he’s listed as a guard, but we know better. He was arguably Miami’s best all-around player in Orlando, averaging 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds a game. Mike Muscala and Mike Scott will have their hands full with him.
Rookie guard Scotty Hopson from Tennessee is the other Heat player who averaged double figures (11.3) in Orlando. He only played in three of the five games, so I think we’ll see quite a bit of him tomorrow.
An interesting storyline – Larry Drew II, the son of former Hawks coach Larry Drew, is on the roster. A few holdovers from the Hawks’ training staff are probably familiar with him on some level.
Based on practice today, it looked as if coach Snyder was going to stick with the same starting lineup tomorrow (Schröder, Jenkins, Weems, Scott, Nogueira), but we’ll see what happens. Catch the game at 10 p.m. ET on NBA TV.