The Hawks’ Summer League roster got a boost before the game started with the announcement of Lucas Nogueira being cleared my FIBA.
They carried that momentum for the first quarter, starting off with the Mike Scott-John Jenkins two-man game that the two second year players have worked on relentlessly. The crowd was then treated to a passing display between ATL’s new rookies in Dennis Schröder and Nogueira, who showed a soft touch on the dimes out of the high-post. A combination of mostly Lucas dunks and Jenkins jumpers gave the Hawks a 24-22 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
That progress was soon halted, however. The Clipper started a fury in the transition game, led by Samardo Samuels and DaJuan Summers. It wasn’t quite lob city, but LA used a series of turnovers to run and get easy dunks. A 28-4 run gave the Clippers a 55-37 halftime advantage. The Hawks couldn’t quite recover from this singular run, and eventually dropped the game, 90-83.
The second half gave us some of the most positive highlights from the Hawks in the form of the Schröder-Nogueira pick-and-roll. Lucas showed his best offensive skill in cutting to the basket, and even threw down a thunderous alley-oop on Samuels.
But for all the promise Nogueira showed, he still had his faults. While he was great at getting to the ball on the offensive glass, it appeared that he lack awareness on the defensive end. He was often caught out of place or easily pushed around, allowing the Clippers to get easy offensive rebounds. He also gave off a tendency to chase players past him to go or the block instead of letting the proper defensive rotations work.
“We’re looking for them to start learning the system,” coach Mike Budenholzer explained after the game, “particularly defensively, to start to pick up the defensive concepts and terminology.”
We all love highlight blocks, but Nogueira needs to take a page out of the Hibbert book and learn to just get the hands up.
Schröder had his own problems, most of which stemming from his sheer lack of size. His passing abilities (seven assists) and ability to get to the basket were there, but he had trouble finishing through contact. (1-for-8 from the field) At 6’1″ and 165 pounds, he’s not going to be able to take a lot of the smaller hits that most players can absorb. Still, he’s a very verbal player that knows how to run an offense, which is something can’t really be picked up in the weight room; give Dennis some time and he will grow.
Interesting not on Muscala is that he may also be sent to Europe for a year of work. He’s a skilled offensive player that has range, which he displayed today, but he still could use a lot of work on the defensive side of the ball. I did opine about Nogueira chasing after guys, but it really didn’t help that Muscala wasn’t there on the rotations. Defensive schemes aren’t an easy game, and with the Hawks in no rush, there’s no reason to try to push these guys too early.
From the old guard, John Jenkins didn’t mind being the number one option on offense; he took 23 shots in just under 30 minutes, making 11 of them for 24 points. Mike Scott only got 12 minutes of playing time, but he made all four of his shot attempts. Shelvin Mack had success running the point and playing off the ball, racking up 11 points and six assists during his time on the floor.
Of the free agents, Boban Marjoaovic was definitely the most intriguing. He’s a monster 7’3″ Serb, whose height was simply mesmerizing to the Vegas crowd. He didn’t show a lot of offensive touch, but he did throw one down where I’m questioning if he really had to jump to get to the rim. He may not be the best player, but he’s easily one of the most entertaining.
The Hawks play next on Sunday at 10PM EDT against Miami.