Preview: Hawks vs. Clippers
The day is finally here! After five practices in a three-day period, the 13 Hawks on the Summer League roster are eager to get into action, and many will get their first taste of NBA action at 6 p.m. tonight against the Clippers on NBA TV.
The Clippers, like the Hawks, have had a busy offseason. They, like Atlanta, will be welcoming a new coach this fall in Doc Rivers. They re-signed their best player (Chris Paul), and acquired Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick through trades. Of course, none of those guys will be on the Summer League roster, but the Clippers have a lot to be excited about.
Los Angeles’ roster is headlined by 25th overall pick Reggie Bullock, a rookie out of North Carolina who the Clippers have already signed. Bullock is a versatile wing player who can play both guard and forward, and he is an excellent shooter. I expect the Hawks to rotate different guys onto him since there’s no clear starting SF on Atlanta’s summer roster at this point.
Maalik Wayns, who spend the end of last season with L.A., should start at point guard. The undersized backcourt of Shelvin Mack and Dennis Schröder shouldn’t have too much trouble matching up with Wayns from a size perspective. Of course, Wayns is no pushover talent-wise if you remember his days at Villanova.
The rest of the roster is filled by some players who hit it big in college but haven’t quite made it at the NBA level yet. You may remember Jonny Flynn, the athletic point guard who was drafted 6th overall by Minnesota a few years ago. He’ll be Wayns’ backup and has kept himself in shape by playing in the Orlando Summer League as a member of the Indiana Pacers.
DaJuan Summers and JaJuan Johnson are two frontcourt players who could see time tonight. Both excelled in college and have seen playing time in the NBA but are still fighting to make a roster spot. They are big bodies (6’8″, 240 lbs and 6’9″, 221 lbs), so guys like Mike Scott, Mike Muscala and Boban Marjanovic will have their hands full. Assuming Samardo Samuels gets the nod as the team’s starting center, L.A. will not have a player taller than 6’9″ on the floor. This could be an opportunity for Muscala and Marjanovic to go to work.
We’ve only seen a few Hawks practices this summer, but this is how I see the starting lineup if I had to guess:
PG – Shelvin Mack
SG – John Jenkins
SF – Sergiy Gladyr
PF – Mike Scott
C – Mike Muscala
I would expect significant minutes from Schröder, Jared Cunningham, Ed Daniel and Marjanovic. Beyond that, it’s a guessing game, so we’ll see what Quin Snyder decides to do.