Atlanta Hawks: 1 improvement for each draft pick after Game 3

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

Improvement for Atlanta Hawks draft pick No. 1: Jalen Johnson will have to shake off the NBA’s irritants

It really has been an eye-opening Summer League for Johnson. He’s been all over the floor, running to the rim, hitting timely shots, and displaying a passing ability that was undersold in the predraft process. He truly stuffs the stat sheet but not with empty numbers.

Watching the game you notice the plays he makes because they often shift the momentum.

He and Cooper have made it a routine to connect on lobs reminiscent of their dazzling teammates, Trae Young and John Collins. They even began Game 3 with one.

But the night could have been way better after he started with seven points and six boards in the first quarter. Second-year man Paul Reed of the 76ers got under Johnson’s skin in the second half.

Despite Johnson scoring six of his 13 points in the second half, just two of his points came in the fourth quarter and overtime.

A pair of personal fouls in the third quarter — at least one of which could be considered questionable — saw him ride the bench from just under three minutes in the third until there were just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

It’s possible this was just part of the plan for a player who, again, had done a little bit of everything.

But it sure seemed like a little bit of a cool-down for Johnson who was clearly getting a little frustrated. He’ll have to learn to shake that off because, as far as trash talkers go, Reed doesn’t even register on the list of names that come to mind in the NBA.