Preview: Hawks vs. Kings

Thursday, July 18, 2013
By Jaryd Wilson

After a heartbreaking overtime loss to Portland yesterday, the Hawks will play their final Summer League game of 2013 tomorrow against the Sacramento Kings at 6 p.m. on NBA TV.

Atlanta will look to end the summer on a positive note and build upon the success they had yesterday, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.

The Kings have been led by Ben McLemore, the first-round pick from Kansas who shockingly fell into Sacramento’s lap at #7 overall last month.  McLemore is averaging 13 points per game through four games but has shot just 28 percent from the field and only 18 percent from three.  To make matters worse, the rookie shooting guard does not have an assist through four games.  That’s right, zero.  He has 14 turnovers, so it’s safe to say he hasn’t played well so far.  Nevertheless, we know he’s a great player.  John Jenkins and Jared Cunningham will get the bulk of the work against him, so we’ll see if they can make him give the ball up.

Dennis Schröder will have yet another tough assignment, as he draws rookie point guard Ray McCallum.  McCallum flew under the radar while playing for Detroit, but many say the Kings got a steal with him in the draft.  He’s been producing, trailing McLemore by just .2 PPG but shooting a much higher percentage.  He’s a slasher (30 FTA), so Schröder will have to give him some space, which goes against the way he’s been playing defense this summer.  McCallum has only attempted two three-pointers in four games, missing both.

Drew Gordon and Xavier Gibson have been playing the most frontcourt minutes, though Sacramento has gone deep into the bench in most games, so who knows what they’ll do.  Both are big guys – Gordon at 6’9″, 245 and Gibson at 6’11”, 248.  Nick Minnerath, also from Detroit, will see minutes in that spot too.

With the Hawks out of tournament play, it’ll be interesting to see if coach Quin Snyder extends the bench a little bit.  After going deep into it the first two games, he’s basically used an eight-man rotation the past two.

The Kings are the only winless team in Las Vegas, their latest a 38-point loss in the first round yesterday.  Hopefully the Hawks come out strong tomorrow night and keep them there.

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