Hawks impress in first Summer League win

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 09 Big Ten Tournament Michigan v Rutgers

The Hawks defeated the Denver Nuggets last night with a final score of 98-93.

Tyrese Martin, after shooting one-of-eight from the field vs the Kings, led the way with 21 points on 8-of-12 from the field. This should come at no surprise, considering the former UConn Huskey averaged 18 points and almost 9 rebounds per game in his 23-game stint for the Skyhawks. His size and strength are often a serious advantage for him in both the G-League and Summer League.

Mouhamed Gueye was very impressive in 24 minutes of play. He knocked down two three-pointers before the 6-minute mark of the first quarter, but was relatively quiet afterward. He finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds on 3-of-5 from the field. According to Hawks writer Brad Rowland, head coach Anthony Lang encouraged Gueye to let it fly after the game one, and Gueye’s jump-shot continues to look very smooth. It is interesting to note that Gueye grabbed 2 offensive rebounds, now bringing his Summer League total to 6. He was a great offensive rebounder at Washington State (3.4 OREB per game, 111 total OREB), landing him in the top-20 in all of college basketball in both categories. This is often something that flies under the radar, but it can make a player exponentially more valuable.

Kobe Bufkin continued to play with great confidence. He finished with 17 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds on 6-19 from the field. Bufkin started out 0-of-3 from deep after going 0-of-8 vs the Kings. He then rattled off four makes and finished the game 4-of-10. He made similar mistakes to his 8-turnover Summer League debut, finishing with 4 turnovers last night. However, these mistakes are fixable and shouldn’t be overreacted to at this point in time. It is important to note that Bufkin’s confidence in his shot never wavered, even after logging what was 11-straight misses. It’s obvious the coaching staff and players are doing a good job instilling confidence in the young guys.

Bufkin’s first two games of Summer League are oddly comparable to Trae Young‘s first two games. While Trae sat at 9-of-36 overall and 2-of-16 from deep, Bufkin paints a slightly better picture at 10-of-33 overall and 4-of-18 from deep. I draw this comparison only to show that it takes some players time to adjust, not to tell you he’s the next Trae Young. However, I do expect Bufkin to improve his performance over the next few games.

Seth Lundy was impressive at times on both ends, knocking down three triples and matching that same total with three blocks. He seemed much more energized once he saw his first shot go through the net. He finished with 8 points and 3 rebounds on 3-of-7 from the field.

Brady Manek, former college teammate of Trae Young at Oklahoma, was impressive in a quieter game off the bench. He finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks on 4-of-7 shooting in just 18 minutes of play. Vit Krejci showed impressive flashes and had a good all-around game with 9 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds on 4-of-4 shooting. The offense seemed to flow better with Krejci on the court due to his play-creation and passing ability. He was tied with Kobe Bufkin for game-high assists (6). Jarkel Joiner improved upon his first game with 8 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Mfiondu Kabengele logged 2 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in 18 minutes of play.

Miles Norris made his Summer League debut, finishing with 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. He made quick work, scoring on his very first possession. He went 1-of-3 from deep, making him the 4th Forward/Center to hit a three for the Hawks this summer. This may further signify the Hawks’ early adoption of Snyder’s three-point strategy.

AJ Griffin finished just 2-of-8 from the field with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Fans definitely expected Griffin to come into these games with more aggression after an impressive rookie season. However, Griffin mostly chose not to force anything and let the game flow naturally. He is now 6-of-22 in the Summer League, but there is plenty of NBA regular season film to justify not over-analyzing these two games.

All-in-all, this game was a vast improvement from the previous. The Hawks are now 1-1 in Summer League play and will take on the Timberwolves Wednesday at 4:00 PM EST.

Photographer: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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