Summer League Wrap Up
Now that the Atlanta Hawks summer league team finished things off in Vegas with a 3-2 record, there isn’t much left to do other than watch the grass grow. Or at least that’s how most Hawks fans are probably feeling right now, what with free agency seeming to move at the speed of light every BUT Atlanta. However, before the true doldrums of summer set in, let’s have a look at the performance of the guys wearing Hawks summer league jerseys. Some were there to get their warmups. Others to get indoctrinated in a faster and perhaps more desperate pace than what they faced in college. Still others merely want a job in the League.
Jeff Teague – 15.6 ppg, 52% FG, 4.2 apg, 4.4 TO/pg
The Hawks second-year point guard figures to be a regular part of the rotation this coming season, assuming he can build on what he did in the summer league. Teague’s defense was substantially improved, and it seemed to have an effect on the team as well. Of course, assistant coach Lester Conner’s ultimatum of “play defense or sit down” probably helped as well, but that can’t take away from Teague’s effort. On offense, he proved he could score when in attack mode, showing off a decent jab step-then step back jumper, as well as his usual floater. In addition, he showcased his ability to get to the charity stripe (an average of over 6 trips per game). On the downside, Teague forced some passes and ended up averaging roughly a 1 to 1 assis/turnover ration. On the one hand, some of those turnovers had the same symptom as some of the assists that never happened: bobbled passes by teammates. On the other hand, Teague will have to play with the poise he showed in the last two or three games, if he is to be able to help this team. Is he ready to take Mike Bibby’s spot in the starting lineup? My guess….not yet. However, he IS ready for twenty minutes per game at least. As usual, summer league is not the best way to get a good read on how a guy will do. When training camp comes, and then preseason, the Hawks will have a better idea of what Teague is ready for. Until then, hold the phone…
Jordan Crawford – 16.2 ppg, 42% FG, 2.6 apg, 3.4 TO/pg
The rookie guard out of Xavier proved to be as explosive as advertised, leading the squad in scoring. The surprise? His court vision. The turnovers were somewhat expected, and the assist numbers really don’t tell the story. Crawford still needs to learn that not all shots are good shots, and that there is such a thing as over-dribbling. However, he looked quite comfortable on the floor, making very good passes and getting his shot off with ease. He does need to work on his defense (1.8 steals per game was nice, though), and that will only make it tougher to get minutes in a backcourt that features Johnson, Jamal, Bibby, Evans, and Teague. Who does Crawford steal minutes from? With his scoring mentality and passing ability, it’s possible that Crawford could actually steal minutes from Teague every now and then. Again, his defense is the key to this, and right now it’s not even close to being up to par.
James Augustine – 4.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 48% FG
If Jordan Crawford is Jamal Crawford 2.0, then James Augustine is Zaza Pachulia 2.0. Augustine gives the effort 100% of the time, fighting for rebounds and loose balls. As you can imagine, he’s also willing to give the gift of a hard foul here and there. However, at about an inch shorter and some 30 pounds lighter, Augustine is a long shot to making sense for this roster. You hate to see a guy like that without a job though, and chances are that he’s going to end up on somebody’s D-league squad until he gets called up.
Richard Hendrix – 8.5 ppg, 3 rpg, 65% FG
This guy has the size, but he never really showed it on the glass, or on defense. Hendrix also missed one of the games, and never quite stood out. Perhaps his subpar athleticism is to blame, or maybe it was just inconsistency. Whatever it was, Hendrix did not give teams much reason for a second glance, other than some nice physical measurements and a high shooting percentage (which isn’t overly impressive, considering he scored just about all of his points on “gimmes” at the rim).
Luke Jackson – 6.6 ppg, 50% FG, 50% 3-PT
A former lottery pick, Jackson is still hunting a somewhat steady job in the NBA. He can hit the open 3-pointer, and he’s willing to hustle on the other end of the floor. Jackson may find work as an all-but-forgotten feature shooter on somebody’s bench. Or, he might not. His role is limited by his abilities.
Alade Aminu – 10ppg, 4.4 rpg, 51% FG, 1.4 bpg
The knock on Aminu has been his consistency, but there is no denying the D-Leaguer’s athleticism. Reminiscent of Solomon Jones in some ways, Aminu showed the most potential for the summer league team hopefuls, particularly when it came to defending the rim and filling the wing on fast breaks (as a big man). His style may fit the Hawks or some other team quite well, especially if he can keep up his energy and focus. Adding a little weight and strength wouldn’t hurt either, as being an effective rebounder in the NBA won’t be an easy task. If there is a guy worth giving a thirteenth roster spot to, it may be Aminu.
Jermareo Davidson – 5.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 52% FG
As much potential as some other prospects have, Davidson held his own by perhaps doing the most with his minutes. If you’re not impressed with roughly 5 points and 5 rebounds per game, consider that Davidson did this in just 11 minutes per contest. His defense was “okay”, but his willingness to get after it on the glass, coupled with an effective offensive game makes Davidson a decent prospect for a backup job on an NBA team. Perhaps most impressive about the rangy forward is the fact that he scored a great deal of his points on baseline and turnaround/fadeaway jumpers.
Trey Gilder – 8.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 48% FG
Long and lean, Gilder could use a few more pounds to fill out his frame. Then again, it hasn’t seemed to hold guys like Kevin Durant and Austin Daye back (though obviously talent plays a huge part in off-setting such things). Gilder filled the wing very well on the break, and wasn’t afraid to go after rebounds. Another of the more exciting players on the squad, Gilder would fit on a team that likes to get up and down the floor. Still, a bit more weight/strength and an improved 3-point stroke wouldn’t hurt anything.
A year away from consideration :
Second round draft picks Sergei Gladyr and Pape Sy acquitted themselves well for a couple of young European players amongs the NBA hopeful. Gladyr has a sweet stroke that failed him more often than he would have liked, but he handles the ball pretty well, and doesn’t shy away from defensive responsibilities. At the same time, another year of playing in Europe will allow him to add some strength, and learn how to create more separation from himself on jumpshot opportunities (not to mention learning how to defend without fouling). Pape Sy’s potential is even more intriguing, and it’s clear why Larry Drew was excited about him. Sy handles the ball well, and shows a consistent level of aggression on both ends of the floor. His ability to turn the corner quickly and slash to the basket turned into trips to the free throw line, something we could probably expect to see more of in the future. While Sy got a bit frustrated by fringe-NBA level defense, he showed a capacity to learn, and a relentless attitude. Unfortunately, an achilles strain (or something to that effect) limited him to only two games. That and a remaining year on his current European contract may be all that stands between Sy and a fresh Hawks uniform.
Randolph Morris is an enigma to some, and a flat-out bust to others. Either way, there may not be much reason to expect him back as a Hawk. Morris failed to stand out offensively, looking smooth on some possessions, and clumsy to a fault on others. That, and he proved that he is a threat to foul out of ANY game, regardless of the competition, if left in the game for long enough. But, if rumor is to be believed, Morris could be headed well away from here. Meanwhile, Landon Milbourne seemed more like a guy who was added just for the purpose of meeting a minimum roster requirement (if there was one).
As the Hawks quietly go about their “search” for guys to fill out the roster minimum of 13 guys, more players are getting signed. It’s hard to gauge the level of interest that the Hawks have in the players they’re reportedly interested in. While Golden State forward Anthony Tolliver was mentioned a few weeks back, the latest “interest” includes a soon-to-be-former Laker. In the meantime, the only Shaq talk still floating around involves Shaq taking a massive paycut to come here. Most reports are saying the Hawks aren’t willing to pay the luxury tax after handing Joe Johnson a very generous raise, making it seem likely that anybody they sign will come cheaply.
So….is there anybody from the summer league roster that you find worthy of an invite to training camp for a harder look? Would any of these guys seem like good fits for our team? Morris may not be back, but another little used guy might be. How about giving this guy another shot ? Unless reports are wrong, and the Hawks are still open to spending more, who might the Hawks sign to the roster? Perhaps somebody playing for another D-League team (has anybody seen Garrett Siler)?
How do you think Teague and Crawford will fare in training camp? Should the Hawks add a third pg?