Atlanta Hawks: Don’t Expect Much From Tavares Early On


Despite not coming away from the 2015 NBA Draft with a first round pick in tow, the Atlanta Hawks still have a shiny new toy at their disposal this season. That would be Edy Tavares, the 23-year-old Cape Verde native that Atlanta selected in second round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

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Over a year after drafting him they will finally get to take off the wrapping paper as Tavares has elected to join Atlanta this season after spending the last few seasons playing for Gran Canaria. This weekend Tavares joined the other NBA rookies for a few photoshoots.

Here he is showing off those beautiful new uniforms.

Here is another shot of Edy with his arms stretched wide, holding a basketball as if it’s a nerf ball.

The image of him swatting shots into the third row had to be swirling around in the mind of Hawks fans when they saw that picture. Physically he is as imposing as they come.

Tavares spent the last two seasons with Gran Canaria in Spain. In the 2014-2015 season Tavares appeared in 60 games where he averaged 8.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game in only 22.1 minutes per game. He also shot an impressive 62.6 percent from the floor and compiled a player efficiency rating (PER) of 21.63.

He also looked decent during his two summer league stints with the Hawks. In the summer of 2014 Tavares played in six games, averaging 6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game on 68.2 percent shooting. During the most recent summer league season he scored 7.2 points, grabbed 6.7 rebounds, and blocked 2.8 shots per game while shooting 56.2 percent. It provided a brief glimpse into the rim protecting big man he may one day develop into. In the middle of the summer league season, Hawks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about some of the struggles Tavares was facing adjusting to the NBA’s style of play.

"“This is just the feedback I’m getting from him, I think the pace of the game is so different than Europe and he is just adjusting to the pace, number one, and then adjusting to what we are doing,’ Atkinson said. “He forgot a lot of what we are doing last year. His team in Europe was playing a totally different pick-and-roll coverage. But we are on him. We are watching film with him. I think it’s pace and figuring out what we are doing. I was excited. He made a few plays at the end of the game. He’s got to be smarter about not fouling when the other team is in the bonus. It’s a great learning opportunity for him. What is better than this for him?”"

It’s not all bad, though, Atkinson also seemed encouraged by what Tavares could turn into.

"“We are discovering the player he is,” Atkinson said. “We know what we want him to be – a great rim protector, a rebounder. We are discovering the player too but it’s exciting because obviously he’s hungry to be a good player.”"

Despite his intriguing skillset, don’t expect to see him on the court much this season.

Al Horford obviously has the starting center position locked down. He is the heart and soul of the Hawks organization and unless he suffers an injury he is staying put. Then there is the new back-up. Atlanta’s big acquisition this offseason was a trade for Tiago Splitter. Splitter will back-up Horford, bringing championship experience and rim protection off the bench. That doesn’t leave much room for Tavares. This season will be all about learning and developing, as it should be. This 2014 scouting report from gives a snippet of his strengths and weaknesses.

"Tavares’ biggest appeal as a NBA prospect lies in his ability to protect the paint. He blocks shots at a very nice rate, ranking #1 overall in the ACB on a per-game basis and third-best per-minute.Tavares is also an excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor, which is unique considering the work he does as a weak-side shot-blocker.Offensively is where Tavares’ lack of experience and polish shows the most at the moment. He’s not much of a scorer at all, averaging just 11.5 points per-40 minutes, as he doesn’t have much of a post game (just 17 attempts all season), and doesn’t show much range outside of five feet, attempting only six jumpers all season. 77% of Tavares’ offense this season came off cuts, pick and roll finishes, and offensive rebound put-back attempts."

That is not to say that Tavares is not an exciting prospect. One day he could very well develop into an important part of the Hawks organization. At 7-foot-3 with a 7-foot-9 wingspan he has the potential to become a rim protecting beast and a pick and roll machine. He just needs some seasoning, and that is what he will get this season learning behind Splitter and Horford.

Given the recent injury history of Splitter, Tavares could even find himself in a back-up role quicker than anticipated. If that happens earlier than the Hawks would like hopefully he will have what it takes to fill in where needed.

No matter what, it is clear that if he can put it all together he has a bright future in the NBA.

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