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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…

The NBA Board of Governors has officially approves the sale of the Atlanta Hawks to the group led by Tony Ressler.

From the NBA’s press release:

“We are pleased that the NBA’s Board of Governors has approved the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks by principal owner Tony Ressler,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Tony and his diverse and experienced ownership group will bring tremendous energy and passion to the Hawks and the team and its fans will greatly benefit from their commitment to the Atlanta community.”

The sale was approved unanimously by the Board of Governors. The new ownership group includes former NBA star Grant Hill, Spanx founder Sara Blakely and her husband, Jesse Itzler. The Hawks will officially introduce the group — with Ressler and Hill representing — during a media session on Thursday at 11AM.

The Hawks revealed on Monday that Paul Millsap suffered a right shoulder sprain and contusion Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets. X-rays were negative, but an MRI showed the injury to doctors. Millsap will miss at least the next two games on Tuesday against Phoenix and Wednesday at Brooklyn and will be reevaluated during that time.

Atlanta team doctors don’t expect that the injury will linger into the playoffs, which is great news for a Hawks team that relies on Millsap’s scoring and rebounding. Mike Scott has just come back from a toe injury, so Coach Budenholzer will have to be careful to not play him too many minutes as he is getting back into game shape. This should mean more minutes for reserve big men Elton Brand and Mike Muscala until Millsap is fit to return.

This week in the southeast, Atlanta is resting, Washington’s coach is walking off, Miami has life, Charlotte is stinking, and the Magic are showing some promise.

Atlanta Hawks, 55-18, 1st in the East, 2-2 this week ATL

Atlanta’s week got off to a really bad start when they got smacked around by the San Antonio Spurs. It was the kind of game that’s starting to cause some concern among fans, and experts, about the Hawks post all-star break struggles. Is it just coasting or is there more to it? The following games didn’t say much as Atlanta beat both Florida teams before resting all their starters in a loss against Charlotte.

Washington Wizards, 41-33, 5th in the East, 1-4 this week WAS

The Wizards went out west this week and everything went to the pits for them. They went on a three game losing streak, pulled out a win against a Hornets team that can’t stay out of their way, and then immediately lost to the Houston Rockets. The “highlight” of their week is when Randy Wittman walked off the court before the game was over when his team was attempting to win the game on a halfcourt heave. Not a great look coach.
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The Atlanta Hawks notched their 15th consecutive victory on Friday night, knocking off the Oklahoma City Thunder by a score of 103-93. The 15 straight wins in the best stretch in franchise history.

“I’m happy for our guys to have success,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer, who will be the head coach of the Eastern Conference All Stars thanks to Atlanta’s record. “It’s a carry-over from the work on the court and work in the film room before practice and after practice. Our guys deserve to have an opportunity to do something. We just have to keep doing it.”

The Hawks started off extremely sloppy, allowing Oklahoma City to build a nine point lead early in the first half. “We’ve had a lot of good stars and tonight probably wasn’t one of them,” said Budenholzer. The Hawks kept turning the ball over, allowing the Thunder to get out and transition and get easy looks at the hoop. The Hawks also had some defensive breakdowns in the halfcourt that led to some open 3s for OKC.

After 12 turnovers in the first half, the Hawks started to clean it up in the second half with strong efforts from Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague. Millsap scored 17 points in the half and was the main player closing in the fourth quarter, while Teague led the Hawks through the third quarter with nine points in the period. Continue Reading…

Aron Baynes is the most underrated basketball player alive. ESPN.com just rated him 368th out of 500 players in #NBARank. Among the flotsam ranked ahead of him, just on that same page, were Jeff Withey, Meyers Leonard and Greg Stiemsma.

Last year there was another criminally-underrated player. He was rated 499th in #NBARank and started writing the number on his shoes as motivation. While he was languishing on the Golden State Warriors’ bench behind one of the deepest wing rotations in the league, I wrote on the AJC.com Hawks blog that the Hawks should pursue him. I was laughed at. Why should the Hawks go after a scrub who can’t get playing time, I was asked.

That player got traded to the Lakers and averaged 13.1 PPG on 45% shooting from the field and 37% shooting from 3-point range over the last 23 games of the season. That player, now an Atlanta Hawk, is Kent Bazemore. Continue Reading…

Spurs Interested in Ayon

Buddy Grizzard —  August 30, 2014 — 1 Comment

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting that the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs are interested in former Hawk Gustavo Ayon “as both a potential [Aron] Baynes replacement or a possible addition to the roster.”

Gigantes del Basket previously reported (hat tip @HoopsHype) that Ayon had declined multiple offers because of his preference to wait until after the FIBA World Cup, which is underway as of this morning, to make a decision. This would seem to be a smart move since NBA.com reports that a record 45 current NBA players will be competing in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. In addition, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann tweeted that there are 23 additional players with NBA experience that are not on current NBA rosters, as well as 17 NBA draftees that have yet to make an NBA roster.

Ayon is joined in the tournament by fellow unrestricted free agents Andray Blatche and Leandro Barbosa (reportedly committed to sign with the Warriors). Spurs restricted free agent Baynes has played well for Australia in the build up to the tournament and is another player worth keeping an eye on.

Every two years at the major international tournaments (the Olympics and FIBA World Cup, formerly the FIBA World Championship), international players that the American audience is unfamiliar with emerge as potential NBA talent. The record amount of talent in this competition presents a huge opportunity for unknown talent to emerge. Games will be broadcast and archived on Watch ESPN.

Sadly, my pick for the breakout star of this tournament, 6-5 Lithuanian point guard Mantas Kalnietis, suffered a separated collar bone and has been ruled out. Australia is my team to watch. The Boomers feature four current NBA players (Cameron Bairstow, Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum and Baynes). Only Spain and the United States have more current NBA players than Australia, which also features Joe Ingles, a 6-8 small forward with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Ingles played Summer League stints with Golden State in 2009 and 2010 and could emerge in this tournament as a future NBA prospect.

Sam Amick and David Aldridge have confirmed a report by RealGM’s Shams Charania that the Atlanta Hawks have inked former member of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls, Thabo Sefolosha. The contract is a reported $12 million over three years, or $4 million a season.

Sefolosha has been a key cog in Oklahoma City’s dominance for five straight seasons, starting in every game he’s played in since the 2009-10 season. His meal ticket? Defense. Sefolosha would regularly guard the Thunder’s best opposing player on a nightly basis, and did it well. Offensively, Sefolosha didn’t bring much to the table, but for a couple of seasons was knocking down the three-point shot at an over 40% rate.

So why did the Thunder bench this fitting role player during the 2014 Playoffs? His efficiency sunk, possibly because of the calf troubles that caused him to miss a chunk of games in the latter part of the year. Sefolosha was suddenly a liability on the offensive end, unable to make defenses pay for helping off him. Thabo is now 30 years old, so he won’t be developing any new skills on the offensive end that can offset his shaky jumper, and it won’t be long before his defense begins sliding.

However, for the interim, Sefolosha is a solid get for the Hawks. He’s still very much there defensively, and if the Hawks can get him to connect on an average rate from downtown in their system, he’ll be a big plus. As for where he fits in, I’d imagine he’ll be a reliever for DeMarre Carroll who had to chase around the league’s best for Atlanta all season long. The Hawks needed depth at the wing spot and now they have it.

It’s been a couple of days since free agency began, and the Hawks have signed their first new player. Welcome to Atlanta, Thabo.

With the 43rd overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks have picked Walter Tavares, one of the more intriguing second round prospects of this class.

The Cape Verde import stands at 7’3″ with an even greater wingspan, garnering lots of attention from alma mater of Mike Budenholzer and Danny Ferry, the San Antonio Spurs. Tavares is primarily a rebounder and shot-blocker right now, with everything else very much raw. The good news is he is open to play abroad to develop before coming to the NBA.

Although the Hawks are now stacked in the frontcourt, Tavares is a safe draft-and-stash pick whose rights can, in all likelihood, be dealt for another second round pick if need be.

You can read his full DraftExpress profile here.

The Hawks also traded a future second round pick for Lamar Patterson, the 48th overall pick that originally belonged to the Milwaukee Bucks. Patterson is a 22 year old shooting guard out of Pittsburgh who was named to the all-ACC second team. With Atlanta currently sporting Kyle Korver, Lou Williams and John Jenkins at the two, Patterson could be stashed overseas for the time being.

You can check out his DraftExpress profile here.

With the 2014 NBA Draft just a couple of days away, mock drafts have predicted the Hawks to go in several different directions with their 15th overall pick. Chad Ford‘s latest work has Atlanta selecting Shabazz Napier as a replacement for Jeff Teague, while Yahoo! Sports expects the Hawks to take Jusuf Nurkic so they can “move Al Horford to his more natural power forward position.” Though nothing can be said for certain as to who the Hawks will be drafting on Thursday night, there’s plenty to sort out as far as what they don’t need, what they might and what they do need.

Don’t Need:

  • A center to “move Al Horford to his more natural power forward position.” Why is this still being said? Al Horford was on his way to having the best season of his career at the five. The NBA is progressively getting smaller so Atlanta wants a 6’10” unproven three-point shooter at the four? What happens to Paul Millsap? Is any center available at this point going to even turn out to be anything more than a decent starter? This is silly.
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