The 2014 Las Vegas NBA Summer League has not gone well for the Atlanta Hawks, and that is putting it nicely.
Although it is just a series of exhibitions for young NBA players and fringe roster guys, it would benice to see some semblance of success.
Coming into Tuesday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Hawks were 0-2 in Summer League action, but had competed well in their last game against the D-League Select Team on Monday.
However, they certainly didn’t build off of the positives from last game as they got crushed by Portland 91-76.
Defensively, Atlanta was a mess. They let C.J. McCollum, Will Barton, and Thomas Robinson run wild on the day. McCollum finished with 28 points, and was able to capitalize on a number of wide open three-point attempts. Those guys are actual NBA rotation players, so it was no surprise, but it would have been nice to see a better effort on that end of the court.
The Hawks were never really in this one, as Portland was on fire from the opening tip.
Mike Muscala continued his strong Summer League play, finishing with 13 points and 7 rebounds, and was trying the hardest on the defensive side of the ball. He also kept up his good ball movement, which shows that passing is one of the key components to the Hawks’ game plan.
Dennis Schröder wasn’t quite as on fire as he was in Sunday’s loss, but he did have a solid game. The second-year point guard finished with 16 points and four assists, but still had a hard time taking care of the ball with six turnovers.
First-round draft pick Adreian Payne seemed to have slowed his pace down a bit and scored 13 points to go along with seven rebounds. He has yet to have an efficient shooting outing yet, as he shot just 3-of-10 from the field.
John Jenkins only played in the first half, and did not return due to back issues. The team has not released any info on his status, but he may be out for the remainder of the games in Las Vegas if it is even remotely serious.
The Hawks will now begin tournament play, where they hope to finally get in the win column. They will face the Golden State Warriors on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (EST) on NBA TV.
The Warriors, who won the inaugural NBA Summer League Championship in 2013, are seeded 11th and will face the 22nd-seeded Hawks in the first step in defending their title.
Each team in the tournament will compete in at least two more contests in Las Vegas. It will be a minimum of one game in the single elimination tournament and then either compete in a consolation game or in the next round in the championship bracket.
Hopefully the Hawks can earn their first win by knocking off the defending champs!