With an 89-79 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies last night, the Atlanta Hawks wrapped their Summer League adventure. Taurean Prince, DeAndre’ Bembry, and Isaia Cordinier were all rested but the Hawks still managed to get the job done, and wrapped up their Las Vegas trip with a 4-2 record.
This seems like a good opportunity to go over how well Atlanta’s draft selections got on in their first taste of NBA basketball. Well, NBA-ish basketball, there’s an awful lot of guys who (sadly) won’t be on rosters, but anyways… Oh, we’ll also talk about Edy too.
Before we get cracking, I’d be remiss to mention Lamar Patterson at this point, who I thought played very well in the three games he played before he was waived. He has been claimed off of the waiver wire by the Sacramento Kings, so that’s good news for LP. Ha-ha, well, good that a team claimed him, maybe not good that it’s Sacramento. Anyways, all the best, Lamar.
If you’re interested in how players like Brandon Ashley, Kevin Pangos etc. got on for the Hawks during Summer League, you can check out the team’s stats here. Also, I know Lamar Patterson got cut during Summer League, but there’s no need to not type his name out. He exists, you know. Ah, forget it…
(Just one more piece of housekeeping, just a heads up there’s a lot of footage to be shown today. Not so much analysing/breaking down footage, but more so just showing it, but just a heads up)
Las Vegas averages: 13.7 PPG, 6 RPG, 3 SPG, 1.7 APG, 0.7 BPG, 38% FG, 25% 3P in three games
Prince missed the first two games of Summer League due to the Jeff Teague trade needing to be finalized by the League, but he certainly made up for lost time once he was able to enter the fray.
He showed his ability to play on both ends of the floor, but it’ll be all about Prince’s ability to defend when it comes to earning minutes as a rookie in the NBA. Any offense he can provide will be a bonus in his rookie season, but he’ll mostly be on the floor for his defense, at least right now.
Rookies don’t normally help playoff teams in their first season, but there’s certainly a case to be made that Prince could make an impact on the defensive end in his rookie season. He showcased what kind of a versatile defender he could be in the pros.
He showed off his defensive instincts:
Defensive awareness (cutting off the lane in this example):
Defensive aggression/pressure to create turnovers:
He showed flashes of his ability to block shots both in transition:
And near the rim:
And, finally, he showcased his potential one-on-one defense against (about to be) sophomore Kelly Oubre:
Prince has all the necessary tools needed to succeed as an NBA defender and it’s possible he could provide a defensive spark in his rookie season. Again, if his offense isn’t up to snuff, it doesn’t really matter, his calling card is defense and that’s what’s going to earn him minutes. Anything else he can provide will be a bonus.
If there’s anything that Prince needs to work on, it would be turnovers. He averaged 3.3 turnovers per contest, but had back-to-back games where he committed five turnovers. This won’t be a huge issue in October since he won’t have the ball in his hands nearly as much as he did in Las Vegas, but it’s still something he could improve upon.
All in all, a very good start for Taurean Prince as an Atlanta Hawk.
Las Vegas averages: 10.4 PPG, 5 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.6 SPG, 43% FG, 28% 3P in five games
Bembry had a better beginning than end to his Summer League but was still effective and impressive nevertheless. What stood out the most about him was his ability to handle the ball and make plays, but that’s of no surprise to anyone who watched footage of him in college.
Bembry acquitted himself well at Summer League, displaying his ability to make plays:
The ability to dribble through traffic with both hands and create a play:
His ability and comfort to go to his left hand to make a play for himself:
His off-ball movement:
And providing the occasional highlight play:
Eat that, Willie Cauley-Stein.
Bembry was also able to knock down the occasional three-point shot, and his defensive potential which — although not quite on the level of Prince’s — is there. He had some good moments on the defensive end against Sam Dekker when the Hawks faced the Rockets.
Again, if you watched Bembry at college or studied film of him before the draft, you probably concluded that his style of play his very Hawks-y and it didn’t take long for that notion to be confirmed in Summer League. He’s going to fit in Atlanta, but the amount of potential minutes he may see in his rookie season may not be very plentiful, given that he’s still got work to do on both ends of the floor, whereas Prince’s defense alone may net him minutes.
Plus, the Hawks already have a ton of wings that’ll be ahead of Bembry in the rotation such as Kyle Korver, Kent Bazemore, Thabo Sefolosha, (possibly) Tim Hardaway Jr., and you’d imagine Prince will be ahead of Bembry in the rotation too.
We’ll see, but a very solid beginning for Bembry, who he did a great job of remaining focused in the midst of adversity as he grieves for the loss of his brother, who passed away shortly before Draft Day. DeAndre’ will wear the number 95 (the year his younger brother was born in) to honor his brother.
Las Vegas averages: 9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 0.7 SPG, 63% FG in six games
Tavares isn’t a rookie or a 2016 draft pick, but he’s a notable Hawk (since he’s under contract) that was with the team for Summer League this year.
He didn’t start Summer League particularly great, but definitely became more of a factor as Summer League progressed and finished with three strong performances.
There were some games where Edy wouldn’t be a shot blocking menace but he’d impact the game in other ways, and then there were the games where he was just a shot blocking menace.
In the first tournament game against Sacramento, Edy showed how effective he can be around the rim (on the offensive end) with a number of strong plays. Pay attention to his footwork and his hands.
From watching these clips, you can see that both Edy’s hands and footwork are much improved. That last clip (clip 4) where Edy gathered the ball near his own feet and then dunked it… The dude is 7″3 and was able to get down very low down, gather the ball, and then go back up with it without a hitch… That’s a fantastic play.
Then he showed his ability to put those hands, and his length, to good use on the defensive end stripping the 13th overall selection in the draft, Georgios Papagiannis, of the ball twice.
Then, against the Wizards in the tournament phase, Edy put on a show with 5 blocks
And just to cap all of this off, how about this lovely pass from Edy to Bembry:
I was initially worried about Edy, because he didn’t have the greatest start to Summer League. If he struggled against this type of opposition then he would probably never crack an NBA rotation, but he ended his Summer League with three very good performances. The dream lives on.
Las Vegas averages: 3.2 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 0.4 APG, 1 SPG, 25% FG, 25% 3P in five games
We all know that Cordinier is going to be more of a project, and we know that he is heading back to France where he’ll have the opportunity to play some consistent minutes next season. But what the stats don’t tell you is how hard he played in Las Vegas. He really impressed NBA TV analyst, and former Hawk, Steve Smith with his work ethic, and it does stand out.
Cordinier played hard, but he’s clearly a few years away from being able to contribute consistently. But with how hard he plays I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. Just let time run its course with him and he’ll be back.
Where he’s at right now can probably be summed up in this one sequence against the Brooklyn Nets. After Prince forces a turnover, Bembry passes the ball to the streaking Cordinier, who dunks it with two hands. An impressive dunk, displaying his athleticism. Then the Nets decide to inbound the ball quickly and catch the Hawks on the back foot. Cordinier, who just scored at the rim, races back to try and prevent the breakaway dunk but is unable to do so and fouls on the made dunk.
He plays and tries hard, but sometimes his inexperience shows. Not the wisest play here to try and block that shot, but you can’t doubt his determination and heart to get back. He’s only 19, he’ll learn.
He’ll probably be back for Summer League next year, so it’ll be interesting to see how he gets on in France and what another year of experience will do for him.
All in all, this Summer League was a little more important for the Hawks considering that they have two first round picks/young players on this Summer League roster who are likely to feature for the team in the years to come, like Taurean Prince and DeAndre’ Bembry. And they played well, which is certainly an encouraging sign to take away from Las Vegas.
Now the waiting game until October begins…