The Atlanta Hawks match-up with back-to-back champs Miami Heat in a fierce battle for control of the Southeastern Division as bloody rivals… Okay, so maybe it’s just a summer league exhibition game. But it’s still a chance to gain a glimpse into the future of the Hawks as they showcase their five draft picks in the Danny Ferry era.
The Hawks will be led by second-year players John Jenkins and Mike Scott, along with rookies Dennis Schröder, Lucas Nogueira and Mike Muscala.
Jenkins, the sole first-rounder of last year’s draft, led the Hawks with 24 points in a 90-83 loss to the Clippers Friday. He shot 11-of-23 from the field, and six rebounds while dishing three assists. He also led the team in +/- with a +5.
Both of this year’s first-round draft picks, Lucas Nogueira (No. 16 overall) and Dennis Schröder (No. 17 overall) had plenty of burn.
Despite just being cleared for Summer League play hours before game time on Sunday, Nogueira, the 7-foot Brazilian center, was ready to ball. He showed off his long reach and ability to finish alley-oops, but still remains raw as advertised. His experience in Las Vegas will be important to his eventually thrive in the NBA.
Schröder, the 6’1” point guard from Germany, had a team-high seven assists, but almost fouled out and struggled putting the ball in the basket.
Look for both international guys to have better performances today against Miami.
The Heat are headlined by big man Jarvis Varnado and D-League standout DJ Kennedy. There are also a couple familiar names on Miami’s summer rosters including Damion James (a 2010 Hawks draft pick and member of last year Hawks pre-season team), and Travis Leslie (local product from the University of Georgia).
Frankly speaking, it’s highly unlikely any of those guys will stick or have an impact for the Heat long-term.
For the Hawks, it’s a chance for guys like 6’11” big man Mike Muscala to show he has the ability to make Atlanta’s regular-season roster.
The game tips off tonight at 10:00 p.m. (ET) and can be seen on NBA TV.