Hawks Draw Portland In First Round of Summer League Tournament

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
By Jaryd Wilson

Word came in around 2 a.m. that the Hawks will play Portland in the first round of the 2013 NBA Summer League tournament in Las Vegas.  The game will be Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. on NBA TV.

Despite their 0-3 Summer League record, the Blazers have two of the most dynamic and electrifying stars in Sin City right now.  Leading the way is point guard CJ McCollum, the tenth overall pick in the 2013 draft.  McCollum hasn’t shot the ball particularly well this summer (38%) and is still the second leading scorer out here in Vegas.  He has the ability to get hot, as we saw several times during his run with the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in college.  He also crashes the boards hard for a small guy.  He’s pulling down almost five per game this summer.  Expect to see him a lot.  He has logged 35 minutes per game this week.

The Blazers got an exciting late addition to their roster when the Rockets chose to trade them Thomas Robinson, presumably to clear cap space for the impending Dwight Howard signing.  Robinson, who said he felt disrespected by the trade according to media reports, is taking it out on Portland’s Summer League opponents.  He’s averaging 12 rebounds per game, good for third in Las Vegas.  He’s a very athletic big man and plays aggressively, so it’ll be another tall order for Atlanta big men Lucas Nogueira and Mike Muscala.

Meyers Leonard is the other big man the Hawks will have to contend with.  Portland took him last year in the first round and have been working to develop him.  He made Portland’s roster last year and played 17 minutes per game.  Size is not the issue.  At 7’1″, he’s an imposing presence for any opponent’s offense.  As he continues to polish his low post game, he will become more and more dangerous.  Atlanta’s interior defense has had holes this summer, so I’m excited to see how they rise to the challenge with Portland’s dangerous frontcourt combo.

Allen Crabbe, who the Hawks considered in the draft, went to the Blazers in the second round.  He’s had a limited offensive impact in 25 minutes per game for Portland, but we know how potentially explosive he can be as well.

Don’t sleep on Portland’s 0-3 record.  Their Summer League opponents went a combined 8-1 in pool play, and they took a very good Chicago team to overtime last night.  This is a very good team with lots of potential.  Tonight should be fun.

One other note – Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard is listed on the Blazers’ summer roster but hasn’t played.  We’ll keep an eye on that.

If the Hawks win, they’ll play at 8 p.m. Thursday against Phoenix in the “Sweet Sixteen.”  If they lose, the last game of the summer will be at 6 p.m. Friday against the loser of the New York/Miami game.

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