Coach Mike Budenholzer runs one of the most complex systems in the NBA. Though he has only been head coach for a handful of years, a noticeable trend has been that most players play better in year two for Coach Bud. Recent examples are Dennis Schroder, who played sparingly as a rookie, and Tim Hardaway Jr. who struggled to even log minutes in his first year in Atlanta.
Taurean Prince surprised many with his play as a rookie this year. This, along with being the higher pick, has led to DeAndre Bembry being an afterthought to many. However, this kid was still the 21st pick in the draft last year, just two spots behind where the Hawks will be choosing their lone rounder this year, barring a trade. It is essential to keep Bembry in mind for the future of the Hawks.
Bembry was a great player and leader at St. Joes. He won the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year award as a freshman, was all-conference first team as a sophomore and was player of the year as a Junior before entering the draft. He made huge strides throughout his college career, which is very encouraging for his future development when you consider how much the Hawks have extracted talent on the wing with what they have been given.
What makes Bembry enticing for the Hawks going forward is his versatility, offensively and defensively. The Hawks are going to be tight on cap space, and with Thabo Sefolosha hitting free agency and no clear option at backup point guard, Bembry may have a shot at an increased role in year two with the Hawks.He plays like a Hawk. He is unselfish, tries to take the easy shot at the hoop, and plays great defense.
Bembry is a really smart basketball player, but his lack of an outside shot is a serious reason for concern going forward. In today’s NBA it is essential for players to have a nice stroke, even for big men. Bembry regressed as an outside shooter every year in college. He only made one three pointer on eighteen tries in his rookie year. While he will likely fit in the system well after suffering from a learning curve his rookie year, it will be hard to stay in the rotation shooting at a clip like that. If the Hawks see Bembry as a big part of their future, consistent playing time will be key in year two. As of now, the sample size is simply too small to jump to any conclusions, so Bembry’s development will be a waiting game for Hawks fans.