Sharife Cooper flashes promising shooting in Hawks second Summer League game

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My takeaways from the first game rang true in the second. Rookies Jalen Johnson and Sharife Cooper looked like some of the best players on the court, and second-year shooting guard Skylar Mays was right there with them. Those have been the three guys on the Hawks worth watching early in Summer League as they attempt to earn the final spots on the roster.

Johnson was once again spectacular, recording his second double-double in as many games, and his athleticism was on full display.

Impressive Summer League performances don’t always lead to NBA success, but Johnson has just looked different than everyone else on the floor athletically. I don’t imagine it will take him long to carve out a role for himself with the Hawks.

Mays was also very productive, finishing with 16 points, three rebounds, three assists, and a couple of steals. He protected the ball the best out of the Hawks guards, showing how the slightest bit of NBA experience can be useful against these younger guys. However, the star of the show on Tuesday was Sharife Cooper.

Once again, Cooper turned the ball over too much (six times). That’s something he’ll have to clean up, but it’s also to be expected with rookies. More importantly, his elite playmaking was on display again in this one, and he flashed the ability to knock down shots from deep, which is a huge question mark for him as he transitions to the NBA. Cooper only made 22.8% of his three-pointers in his only season at Auburn, but he knocked down five of eight from deep on Tuesday, including this game-winner at the buzzer.

I don’t think the minutes will be there for Cooper on the Hawks this season with Trae Young, Lou Williams, and Delon Wright all rostered, but he could be Young’s backup point guard a year from now. He’s shifty, a strong finisher around the rim, and makes passes you can’t teach; however, his jump shot will determine how far he will go in the NBA. The Hawks got a steal in the second round if this is a sign of things to come.

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