The following paragraph is word-for-word from David Vertsberger’s first Summer League post.
The NBA’s Summer League isn’t the best place to make concrete judgments about players, but it can still be an effective platform in finding new quirks in returning athletes’ games, or specific skills of newcomers that can help in the long run.
I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Overreacting is prohibited. Let us continue.
The Hawks took on the D-League Select Team on Sunday as they attempted to secure their first victory of the summer. After their rough outing in Saturday’s game against the Washington Wizards, it was nice to see some team improvements. Here are some general notes about the game:
- SUDDEN DEATH. WE HAD SUDDEN DEATH BASKETBALL. It was a crazy scramble to get just one shot to win. We got robbed when a goaltending call wasn’t made on a Schröder layup attempt. But, alas, it’s just Summer League…
- Coach Bud must LOVE the ball movement he’s seeing from his young players. The #HamMovement is remarkable. Players are swinging and kicking, kicking and swinging, making the extra pass; this is actually my favorite part to watch in all of the Summer League. While sometimes they make errant passes, it’s expected out of these young players. Very enjoyable basketball being played by the Hawks.
- It was a game of two different Dennis Schröders. He started out maneuvering through screens and looking to make a perfect pass. In the second half, Dennis the Menace was really looking to penetrate the defense with a scoring attitude. He began by repeatedly making tough layups look easy, but then, once the defender’s began going under screens, he began launching it from deep, making three of four long-range attempts. Superb game from my favorite German.
- The combination of Adreian Payne and Mike Muscala is the definition of hustle. I love their energy and activity on the boards. 22 total rebounds from the frontcourt tandem is excellent in Summer League play. Payne had one superb spike of a block in the 4th that was sure to make professional volleyball players shiver.
- More on Payne: I wasn’t a fan of his work in the post. It wasn’t that he seemed lost, but that he wasn’t confident in his ability. He, along with Muscala, was very effective in the pick-and-roll game with Schröder. I’m looking for him to shoot a little better than 4-12 in their next game.
- John Jenkins rested the second game of a back-to-back due to post-back surgery precautions. Boo, I say. Boo. I want to see JJ really attack in his next showing. The first game was extremely disappointing to me and I hope he makes a direct effort to, for lack of a better phrase, get buckets. (Only 2 points in the opener)
- The NBA TV telecast was saying that Dennis Schröder is literally sleeping in the Hawks’ facilities. SLEEPING IN THE GYM! Your jumpshot thanks you, Dennis. I love this guy.
- Mike Muscala has missed six threes in two Summer League games. After showing off his smooth stroke last year in Vegas, and overseas as well, he seems to be in a rough patch shooting the basketball. I may be crazy, but his shot seems flatter than it was last year – a gorgeous moon-shot that looked great in the air. Maybe some wide-open looks from outside (not just from behind the arc) will help him get back into form. A big plus from Mike was his ability to drive from the high post (something that Verts touched on after the first game) One thing that was neat to see from Jawz was a full-speed putback SLAM in the fourth quarter that got the gym excited. A few minutes later, he caught a dump-off pass from Schröder on a pick-and-roll and looked to end the world with a HUGE slam. Unfortuately, he got rejected like the New Coke formula. You’ll get ‘em next time Mike!
- Let me preface this by saying I really like Lamar Patterson. He is a really solid player and seeing him miss a potential game-winner in OT was tough to watch. Rough shooting day for the former Pitt Panther, but he looked sharp in most aspects of his game. He may not be great at any one skill. He may not be the steal of the draft. However, this guy knows how to play the game of basketball and I believe he will be of great use to the Hawks in the future. I can’t wait to see him improve.
- The big’n Walter Tavares is absolutely positively HUGE. I can’t get over his wingspan. We know that he’s a project so his lack of fundamental ability is of little surprise to the Hawks. Several times he got the ball down near the basket and struggled to keep the ball up above his shoulders. He got swatted once in a situation where a simple pump-fake would’ve sent the rushing defender flying. Instead he brought the pass down, took it back up and got met by the defender before he could stretch out his arms to the basket. Also, his footwork left a lot to be desired. But, again, he’s played basketball for five years. He’ll improve on these things (at least we hope he will). No rush, Wally.
- I was extremely impressed with the team’s free throw shooting. Two players that stood out were Muscala going 7-for-7 and Schröder missing just one out of ten free-throw attempts. Overall the team shot 86.2% from the charity stripe.
- Dennis had one drive to the basket that ended with a Rondo-like fake layup and spin to find an open man behind the three-point line. You should’ve heard Mateen Cleaves screaming on NBA TV. (On second thought, if you want to break your ear drums, just listen to a Ron Artest rap album) Simply an astounding move from the ever-so-confident Dennis Schröder.