Atlanta Hawks: Skylar Mays’ improvement shouldn’t go unnoticed

Atlanta Hawks Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks are halfway through their current Summer League slate. They are supposed to get a fifth game added at some point. In the two games they’ve played up to this point, we’ve gone over draft picks Jalen Johnson and Sharife Cooper. Both have acquitted themselves rather nicely to their new surroundings.

They aren’t the only young players that Hawks fans had it in their heads to keep an eye on in Las Vegas.

Skylar Mays, now in his second year out of LSU was one to watch after he saw action in 33 games last season. So far, though, the results have been mixed at best. While it is just Summer League, the flashes have been there, just not the consistency.

Atlanta Hawks guard Skylar Mays has gotten lost in the shadows of his rookie teammates

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The 6-foot-4 guard already beat some level of odds by being tendered a qualifying offer following the conclusion of the Hawks season.

He averaged 3.8 points, 1.1 rebounds, and just under an assist in just over eight minutes per game during the regular season. Mays then saw mop-up duty in the postseason to the tune of 2.4 minutes per game.

That the Hawks tendered him a qualifying offer over the likes of big man Nathan Knight — who has shown well in Summer League with the Timberwolves — or even Brandon Goodwin shows Atlanta felt there was more to his game.

Of course, being a draft pick doesn’t hurt, even if it’s a second-rounder.

Mays had 13 points in the Summer League opener and played well despite not being very efficient. He went just 4-for-11 (36%) from the floor and hit just one of his six three-point attempts.

His second game saw him take a major leap in this regard. He had 16 points on 54.5 percent shooting and was 4-of-7 from downtown. Mays also tallied three rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

It was easily his best Summer League game, though he’s played in only two since there was no Summer League last season thanks to COVID.

Mays faces tough sledding to make the active roster. The addition of Delon Wright and the return of Lou Williams will certainly soak up whatever backup point guard minutes there are. Both players figure to factor into the shooting guard rotation as well behind starter Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter.

2021 second-round pick Sharife Cooper has also made quite the impression early on.

Next. Atlanta Hawks: 3 takeaways from the second summer league action. dark

Perhaps Mays’ experience will give him the edge to start the year with the Hawks and not in College Park. Either way, his progress during Summer League shouldn’t go unnoticed.