On Monday, ESPN Insider Bradford Doolittle agreed with ESPN’s Summer Forecast that the Hawks will win 50 games in 2015-16. Wrote Doolittle:

The 50-win summer forecast might seem like a steep descent. After all, as good as [DeMarre] Carroll might be, he’s not worth 10 wins, and Atlanta did add Tiago Splitter and Tim Hardaway Jr. during the summer. Yet the forecast and my system agree that while Atlanta remains a force, last season was an outlier.

Prior to last season I took exception with low expectations from national NBA analysts, including Reggie Miller and Rick Fox, who predicted that the Hawks would miss the playoffs. In contrast to those who believed the Hawks would struggle to secure the eighth seed, I wrote that the Hawks could and should compete for the conference’s top seed:

Assuming Al Horford is able to fully recover from his most recent injury and have a healthy season, I believe the Hawks should be aiming for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

My argument was that, since the Hawks took the Pacers to seven games (and should have put them away) and the Pacers took the Heat to six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Hawks should be competitive with the top teams in the East in 2014-15:

Keep in mind that the Hawks pushed the Pacers to seven games, a team that may have been better than any team in the Eastern Conference this season.

If Paul George didn’t break his leg during a Team USA scrimmage in Las Vegas, the Pacers would have been the favorites in the East last season. Indiana would have retained continuity while LeBron James worked to build chemistry in Cleveland and the Heat dealt with his departure. If the Hawks took those Pacers to the brink of elimination, what would Atlanta be capable of with a healthy Al Horford? Last season, we got the answer: 60 wins. Continue Reading…

For a franchise that got so many things right over the last 12 months, the Atlanta Hawks simply cannot catch a break in the public relations game. After the Hawks hired the lead assistant of the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs in May of 2013, Mike Budenholzer was arrested for DUI exactly three months later. In July of the next year, Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson put the team up for sale after self-reporting an email in which he made racially-insensitive remarks about fans and game operations. It was later revealed that Levenson’s email came to light during an internal investigation that was launched after GM Danny Ferry made racially-insensitive comments regarding free agent Luol Deng during a conference call with ownership.

As a team, the Hawks’ players and coaches turned to each other to block out the outside noise resulting from the controversy. The team was determined to be defined by its performance on a basketball court and not by what had taken place in offices and conference rooms over the summer. The results were more than anyone could have predicted. Budenholzer won Coach of the Year in only his second season as head coach while the Hawks won a franchise-record 60 games, completed the first undefeated month in NBA history, sent a franchise-record four players to the All-Star game and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since moving to Atlanta.

But just when everything was going perfectly, Pero Antić and Thabo Sefolosha were arrested outside a New York nightclub hours after the team flew into town to face the Brooklyn Nets in one of the regular season’s final games. During the arrest, Sefolosha suffered a broken fibula and ligament damage and was lost for the season. A trial is set for Sept. 9 for the misdemeanor charges pending against Sefolosha and Antić. Continue Reading…

Mike Scott and his brother Antonn Imhotep Scott were arrested today in Banks County after leading police on a 98 mph chase and being found in possession of an ounce of marijuana and 10.9 grams of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, according to Fox Sports South. Mike Scott was a passenger in the 2015 Chevy Tahoe, according to police reports.

Per the Banks County Sheriff’s Office’s release: “As deputies attempts to make the traffic stop, the driver sped up to 98 mph and failed to stop for deputies. The driver continued for two miles and finally stopped near mile marker 156. … The occupants advised that they did have marijuana in the vehicle.”

The Atlanta Hawks have not yet released any statement.

The Spurs used a 39-15 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to beat the Hawks 75-68 and advance to the Las Vegas Summer League championship against the Suns. Former first-round pick Kyle Anderson led San Antonio with 22 points and eight rebounds. Jonathan Simmons scored 19 points with eight rebounds for the Spurs, was a game-best plus-16 and had a massive dunk on Atlanta’s 7-3 center Edy Tavares.

The Hawks finish Summer League 4-3 after a surprising run to the semifinals. Atlanta struggled in Las Vegas with Lamar Patterson playing out of position at point guard and shooter Stephen Holt unable to create much offense for his teammates. The Hawks overacheived thanks to excellent team defense but ran into a team with a similar mindset in the Spurs. Patterson managed only two assists against San Antonio, which harassed him into five turnovers. Holt had zero assists and two turnovers.

After the Hawks locked down defensively in the first half and took a 39-27 lead, the Spurs turned the table in the second half, outscoring Atlanta 48-29. The Hawks were among the best teams in Las Vegas at limiting opponents’ field goal and 3-point percentages, but were limited to 32% from the field and 19% from three by the Spurs. Meanwhile the Spurs shot 41% from the field and 29% from 3-point range. Continue Reading…

Atlanta used a 21-13 second quarter to take a 46-39 halftime lead en route to a 91-83 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Summer League Tournament in Las Vegas. Terran Petteway was 6-for-6 from the field for 13 points in the first half and hit his first eight shots en route to 19 points and six rebounds. The Hawks will face the Spurs at 6 PM ET tonight in the Summer League final four.

The Hawks shot 41% in the first half while limiting Dallas to 32% from the field and 5-for-18 (28%) from 3-point range. Atlanta got 21 points from their bench in the half compared to just 10 for Dallas. Glenn Robinson III led the Hawks with 23 points and two rebounds while Lamar Patterson was a game-best plus-18, scoring 16 points with four rebounds, five assists and just a single turnover.

Patterson had several nice assists in the third quarter. With 9:14 to play in the quarter, Patterson split a double team, hung in the air and dropped a pass off to Edy Tavares (six points, five rebounds) for a layup that put Atlanta in front 48-41. Then, with 2:21 remaining in the third, Patterson got a steal, drove to the basket and drew in the defender before dropping it off to Robinson III for a dunk that put Atlanta in front 64-57. Just before the close of the quarter, Patterson got a step on Jordan Crawford, got deep in the lane and set up Brandon Ashley for a layup that put the Hawks in front 68-59. Continue Reading…

Brandon Ashley had a 3-pointer, a tip in and a reverse layup during a decisive 9-0 run in the fourth quarter as the Hawks beat the Nuggets 82-73 in the second round of the NBA Summer League Tournament in Las Vegas. Ashley finished with a game-high 18 points, adding eight rebounds, and the Hawks will advance to face the Dallas Mavericks in the quarterfinals Saturday at 6 PM Eastern.

Lamar Patterson, who added a layup during the run, had 17 points with six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Stephen Holt also had 17 with two rebounds, two assists and three steals. Also in double figures for the Hawks were Terran Petteway (14 points, nine rebounds and seven assists) and Mike Muscala (10 points, five rebounds).

Joffrey Lauvergne backed Muscala down in the lane and hit a short hook to draw the Nuggets within 69-66 with 6:48 to play in the fourth. Petteway responded with a jumper from the right elbow, but Lauvergne had two offensive rebounds during the following sequence, culminating in his dunk that brought the Nuggets within 71-68 with 5:45 to play. Continue Reading…

Mike Muscala led the Hawks with 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds as Atlanta beat the Miami Heat 75-64 to win the opening game of the tournament portion of Las Vegas Summer League. The Hawks (2-2) will face seventh pick Emmanuel Mudiay and the 3-0 Denver Nuggets at 8:30 PM EDT tonight as the single-elimination tournament continues.

The Hawks led 42-40 at halftime despite 13 turnovers to just seven for the Heat. Muscala had nine points and five rebounds in the half while Glenn Robinson III had nine points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal but committed three turnovers. He was 3-for-4 from the field and hit his only three pointer. Robinson III finished with 11 points and four rebounds and was a game-best plus-20.

Lamar Patterson added 12 points, five rebounds, five assists and a steal with only two turnovers on an efficient 4-for-9 from the field. It was his third double-digit scoring game out of four games with the Hawks at Summer League. Tavares completed the double-digit scorers with 10 points, seven rebounds and another five blocks.  Continue Reading…

In a score that flattered Atlanta, the Hawks lost 84-74 to the NBA Development League Select team in Game 3 of Las Vegas Summer League. Atlanta’s coaching staff evidently decided to take the idea of position-less basketball to a new level by starting a back court of Glenn Robinson III at shooting guard and guard/forward Lamar Patterson at point guard. When Patterson set up Edy Tavares for an alley-oop dunk in the fourth quarter, it was the first assist of Summer League for a Hawks’ starting point guard after Stephen Holt (who did not play in Game 3) failed to record an assist in the first two games.

Patterson led the Hawks with 15 points after failing to hit a shot from the field or free throw line in Game 2. He was also the Hawks’ leading scorer in Game 1, and added five rebounds, two assists and three steals in this game. Patterson scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter as Atlanta closed the gap after trailing in the quarter by as much as 24.

Tavares had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, but has totaled 17 fouls in three Summer League games. Robinson was the only other scorer in double digits for Atlanta with 10 points and four rebounds. He had a pair of highlight dunks including a break-away 360 in the second half when D-League Select were already firmly in control. Only a 25-17 fourth quarter for the Hawks prevented this game from finishing as the blowout it was for most of regulation. Continue Reading…

Glenn Robinson III hit one of two free throws with 25 seconds remaining to give the Atlanta Hawks a 71-70 win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Lamar Patterson stole an Aaron Craft pass intended for James Michael McAdoo and found Robinson in transition, where he drew the foul that provided the winning free throw. LaDontae Henton’s potential game-winning three rimmed out at the buzzer.

With 1:14 to play, Craft hit one of two free throws to tie the score at 68-68. Dominique Sutton then stole Patterson’s pass to Muscala at the top of the circle, but couldn’t make the ensuing layup. Patterson collected the defensive rebound but was called for an offensive foul for swinging his elbows, although replays showed there was no contact with McAdoo. The referees reviewed the play to determine if there was a flagrant foul, but could not overturn the initial foul call.

On the subsequent play, Ognjen Kuzmić was fouled in the high post by Edy Tavares and hit both free throws to put Golden State in front 70-68 with 52 seconds remaining. Hawks point guard Stephen Holt then beat Craft off the dribble and made a left-handed runner in the lane to tie it at 70-70 with 42 seconds to play. At the other end, McAdoo got deep post position on Mike Muscala, who played straight up defense as McAdoo missed from close range. Patterson got the defensive rebound and was fouled, but missed both free throws at the other end, setting up Henton’s final miss. Continue Reading…

The Hawks got off to an inauspicious start at the 2015 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, falling to the Nuggets 86-71. Denver was led by Gary Harris, the 19th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, who scored 15 points and added four rebounds and three assists. The Nuggets also got 11 points, five rebounds and four assists from 2015 seventh pick Emmanuel Mudiay, who shot just 5-for-15 from the floor and missed all four 3-point attempts.

The Hawks were led by 2014 second round pick Lamar Patterson, a 6-5 guard/forward who scored a game-high 16 points with four rebounds and three assists. Patterson played last season for Tofas Bursa of the Turkish Basketball League and joins the Hawks for Summer League again, doubtless hoping to secure a camp invite. The other double-digit scorers for the Hawks were Brandon Ashley (15 points, five rebounds) and and Terran Petteway (11 points, two rebounds and two assists).

Ashley went undrafted after a junior season at Arizona during which he was named Most Outstanding Player of the Pac-12 Tournament. He bears some comparison to Austin Daye as a player with great length and a smooth shooting stroke who doesn’t make much of an impact on the defensive end. At 6-8 in shoes, Ashley is undersized for a stretch power forward until you consider his 7-3 wingspan. Continue Reading…