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…
    Missed Goaltend
  • 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.
  • Continue Reading…

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. Hawkshoop will be bringing you these observations throughout Atlanta’s journey through the Vegas Summer League, starting with their opener against the Washington Wizards.

  • Mike Muscala really surprised today with a dribble-drive game that we didn’t see nearly this often last year. Moose was attacking on nearly every touch, using the pump fake to his advantage and creating A LOT of open looks. He rarely, if ever, went up for a shot on these takes, but was connecting perfectly on his kick outs to open shooters. Doubt this can translate well, but it was very fun to see. On the defensive end, Muscala continued to put his I.Q. on display, rotating when needed and abusing the verticality rule. However, the opposition still had no trouble actually scoring on him. If this is an issue in Vegas, it’ll still be one in the NBA unfortunately. Unsure whether the problem is lack of intimidation or mass, but it needs to be remedied if Muscala wants to be an effective defender at the next level.
  • Adreian Payne came out firing, putting up any shot that looked appealing to him. No problem with this, since a player’s first Summer League game can come with jitters and shooting your way into a rhythm can help. His shots weren’t falling, but plenty were good looks off pick-and-pops that he will get at the next level. He also showed off his athleticism with a nasty put-back slam, and was able to make good things happen out of the post. Only the first game of Summer League, but Hawks fans have to like what they have in Payne if his shot can fall at an efficient rate.

Continue Reading…

The Atlanta Hawks have signed free agent shooting guard Kent Bazemore for two years 4 million according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.

After getting almost no playing time with the Warriors, Bazemore finally broke out last year when being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. On a bad team with nothing to play for other than pride, Bazemore made the most of his situation. He shot 37% from three, scored 13 points a game, and did it all very efficiently with an effective field Goal percentage of 51%.

What Bazemore brings to the Hawks is a guy that can come off the bench and shoot threes. Considering how many the Hawks shot last year, Bazemore should fit right in. There’s concern about his inability to find playing time in Golden State, but a lot of that had to do with playing on a loaded roster of guards. There’s also concerns that Bazemore’s numbers were inflated. He played on a bad team that played no defense. His coach, Mike Dantoni, is known for making guards play better than they actually are, mainly because the Dantoni system is very favorable towards high offensive gunning, causing an inflation in numbers.

All of those concerns noted, this is a no risk signing. He’s on a low money deal for only two years. If it turns out that his numbers with the Lakers were inflated, then the Hawks just leave him on the bench and wait out his contract. He could turn out to be a great three point shooter that thrives in Mike Budenholzer’s system, becoming another weapon in an already dangerous offense.

The Las Vegas version of the NBA’s Summer League will start tomorrow. For the second consecutive year, there is a lot to watch for with the young Atlanta Hawks roster.

While rookies Dennis Schröder and Lucas Nogueira stole the show last season, one of the biggest developments was Mike Scott’s expanded shooting.

Scott shot 46% over five games, displaying a refined shooting touch from mid-range, as well as an extension of his game to the 3-point line. Scott only shot 2-for-8 from 3 while in Vegas, but it was more about seeing where Scott wanted to go with improving his game. The improvement translated to the regular season, where Scott attempted 200 3-pointers during the season. Scott only shot 31% on those shots, but the expansion in his game added greater space on offense for himself and the entire team.

Will we see that kind of improvement from a player on this year’s Summer League roster?

Of the players in Vegas for the Hawks, three of them — Mike Muscala, John Jenkins, and Schröder — saw time during the regular season with the team. 2014 draft picks Adreian Payne, Edy Taveres, and Lamar Patterson will also see their first NBA related playing time. Eric Dawson, who played for last year’s Summer League team and was a training camp invite, is on the roster as well. Continue Reading…

After Atlanta Journal-Constitution Hawks beat writer Chris Vivlamore posted his story announcing the signing of guard Thabo Sefolosha, formerly with Oklahoma City, to a 3-year, 12 million contract, he was so surprised by the number of negative comments that he posted this in the comments section:

Wow, have to admit I’m a little shocked by the reaction to the signing. I like it, for what it is. A player to come off bench, step in if Korver or Carroll go down, who can move the ball, shoot the occasional 3 (I like his stroke) and play defense. Plus, comes from winning organization. That will help. Not the over-the-top piece everybody is looking for but a start.

The AJC.com Hawks blog community, which I’ve been part of since around 2005, is known for its negative comments. For C-Viv to express shock at the reaction to Sefolosha’s signing indicates that this went beyond normal forum trolling. Why so much negativity directed toward a free agent signing that addresses the obvious need for improved wing defense?

To answer that, I need to first give an overview of the Hawks’ cap situation. Below are the 13 players the Hawks have under contract and their respective salaries. Also included is $1 million that must be paid to John Salmons, assuming the Hawks cut him by the negotiated deadline of July 10th. If cut by the Hawks, the $1 million will be deducted from the team’s cap space for this season. Continue Reading…

NOTE: The following piece was written prior to the announcement of the Hawks’ signing of Thabo Sefolosha for three years and $12 million, reducing the Atlanta’s available cap space to around $13 million. I will have a piece up later today on why I feel the Sefolosha signing fails to move the needle. 

With two of the big-name free agents, Marcin Gortat and Kyle Lowry, opting to remain with their current teams, options are drying up. This is even the case for the Miami Heat, which obtained flexibility after the Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh opted out of their contracts. The Heat, like all other NBA teams with available cap space, are watching the free agent options dwindle rapidly.

Last summer I wrote about 10 free agents I considered realistic options for the Hawks. Of those players, seven signed multi-year contracts with other teams, one is a league pariah whom I still like (Ivan Johnson) and two played on 1-year deals and are free agents again (Anthony Tolliver and Al-Farouq Aminu). The latter two are mentioned as possible veteran-minimum signees for the Heat in an analysis by Tom Haberstroh for ESPN Insider.

Anthony Tolliver

After shooting 34% from 3-point range in his single season with the Hawks, Tolliver went into video game mode in the playoffs, shooting 64%. Haberstroh notes that Tolliver shot 41.3% from 3-point range for the Bobcats this season and feels he would be perfect for Eric Spoelstra’s system. Tolliver played only 21 minutes in the playoffs against the Heat and made one of two attempts, so there was no opportunity for another post-season breakout. Continue Reading…

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.

I’m still in a daze. What just happened?

*shakes out cob-webs*

Ah, I can see clearly now!

This is one of those trades that we can’t really grade until each moving piece evolves over time. This is a trade could impact the Hawks in a few different ways.

Scenario #1:

Hawks dive into free agency head-first ready to make a huge splash. However, they come out of it looking like the Boys Chess Team captain asking out the Homecoming Queen. (Heck, even if you’re on the girls chess team you probably say no, am I right?)

Hawks watch as Lucas Nogueira turns Toronto into his playground, sending back opposing shots as if he were Rob Ford. With Bebe, considering how high his ceiling is as an imposing defensive specialist, this part of Scenario #1 is quite possible if his knees stay functioning. Continue Reading…

Danny Ferry takes no breaks (likely)
Danny Ferry never sleeps (rumored)
Danny Ferry LOVES cap space (100% true)

Danny Ferry was hard at work this afternoon as he dealt away Lou Williams and super-afro’d-prospect Lucas Nogueira to the Toronto Raptors. The Hawks receive John Salmons and his friendly contract (team-option; likely to be waived).

ESPN’s Marc Stein provides some clarity in this here little “tweet” thing.

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.