The beauty of the NBA is there is no offseason. Rookies and NBA hopefuls are back on the court for Las Vegas Summer League, and while everything that happens in these games should be taken with a grain of salt, its the Hawks first opportunity to see what they have in two of their three rookies.
The De’Andre Hunter and Bruno Fernando deals are finally official, so they made their Summer League debuts on Sunday against the Timberwolves. Cam Reddish is not participating because of a lingering injury that existed while he was still at Duke.
De’Andre Hunter looks the part
As I said, nothing in Summer League should be taken too seriously. The Hawks were beaten down last night by the Timberwolves, scoring just 66 points in a 24-point loss. Hunter’s stat line left much to be desired, but I thought he looked the part of a #4 overall pick. We know about his defense, and he will be a terrific three-point shooter. But in his first game since winning the National Championship for Virginia, he showed off the ability to get to his spots – both in the post and in the mid-range. The shots weren’t falling, but he was able to create open looks for himself consistently.
Bruno Fernando’s defense
Fernando only scored five points and collected seven boards in just over 25 minutes. However, his rim protecting was superb, blocking four shots. On a team that was abysmal defensively last year, his presence in the paint alone will earn him playing time.
Omari Spellman is overweight
Spellman was terrible in the first game of Summer League. He was much better last night, but it’s difficult to look past how out of shape he is. Spellman is well over 300 pounds… AGAIN, after reportedly losing around 50 pounds last season. While I still believe in him as a potential piece, that is not going to happen if he cannot stay in shape.
Cam Reddish will play some point guard
This might be the most telling thing we find out from this year’s Summer League. On the broadcast last night, Lloyd Pierce said that the Hawks plan on using Cam Reddish at point guard sometimes this year. At 6’8″, with a wingspan of over seven feet, Reddish was as versatile as any wing in the draft. He’s a knockdown shooter that can handle the ball like a point and defend all five positions. We didn’t have the opportunity to see it a lot at Duke with Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett around, but this should be a whole different Cam Reddish in Atlanta.
Jaylen Adams is going to have to earn his spot
Jaylen Adams has a team option for the upcoming season. The Hawks can decline it and save close to $1.5 million against the cap. Atlanta doesn’t currently have a natural backup point guard, even though both Evan Turner and Cam Reddish can eat minutes at the position. Lloyd Pierce stated several times throughout last season that he was impressed with Adams development, but he wasn’t effective yesterday, shooting 3-12 from the field and was 0-6 from three. Adams needs to be better if he wants to be on the roster next season.