Michael Cunningham talks about the chatter around the summer league camp in his latest blog entry. When I saw the roster of the Hawks summer league team, I immediately felt that this was going to be the Jeff Teague show. Michael confirms in this entry that Larry Drew and Lester Conner are going to turn Jeff Teague loose and let him do what he does on the court. Jeff is a tremendous penetrator who can get into the lane on anyone. Larry has a very high opinion of this kid, and the chances are very strong that Jeff will be the Hawks starting point guard this year.
It isn’t surprising to me that the Hawks are going to leave Pape Sy and Sergiy Gladyr overseas again this year, but unlike some other international prospects from the past (David Anderson, Alain Digbeau), I think the Hawks will actually bring these guys over when their contracts run out. They will be cheap alternatives to have at the end of the bench and also have the upside to contribute as reserves at some point. Sy is getting lauded as a hard nosed defender in summer camp. It is being reported that he is a legit 6’7″ with long arms and is doing a good job with playing defense. Gladyr is a tremendous perimeter shooter and should find a role on the team in the future as a spot up jump shooter coming off the bench that helps spread the court and open up cutting lanes for the likes of Jeff Teague, Josh Smith, and Jordan Crawford.
Speaking of Jordan Crawford, I am a little surprised that they are going to reign him in right now. It goes along with what they want to do with letting this be Jeff Teague’s show, but I thought they would allow Jordan to be himself. There were questions on Jordan coming out of Xavier about whether he could handle the role of being a spot up shooter or an alternate scoring threat. It will be intesting to see his progress this summer as a role player. I do think it is becoming obvious that unless Jamal Crawford gets moved, Jordan’s playing time this year will be limited.
Last but not least, I’m not surprised the Hawks are looking at one of the big men in camp as a possibly body to bring to training camp. I have speculated at other places that Larry Drew has seen something he likes in Randolph Morris, who only played 124 minutes total last year but averaged 18.0 P/36 and 11.0 R/36 while posting a 14.6 PER in that limited amount of time. It is a very small sample size though, so it is difficult to determine whether Randolph would be able to keep up that type of scoring pace if he played a more regular role on the team.
James Augustine has some experience in the NBA, though his minutes played are actually fewer than Randolph Morris’s in his career. The Hawks are going to give him a shot to prove he can make their roster, and I think he could be someone they invite to training camp. He isn’t as productive on a per minute basis as Randolph Morris has been during his career as an offensive player, but he’s a big body that has the potential to be a banger off the bench. Alade Aminu, the older brother of Clippers first round pick Al-Farouq Aminu, is another 6’10” athlete that was a strong rebounder in college and has some developmental league experience. He averaged 17.8 P/36 and 9.2 R/36 last year in the NBADL and posted a 19.7 PER. He’s a local guy, but he’s a long shot to be brought to training camp.