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: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Improvement for Atlanta Hawks draft pick No. 2: Sharife Cooper could use his first gear more often

Cooper, like Johnson, has done nothing but impress since Summer League play began. Following his 21-point outing in Game 3, he takes over as the Hawks leading scorer. The best part about watching Cooper has been his ability to systematically answer the questions about how his game and frame would translate to the NBA.

When he’s not setting Johnson up for the slam, Cooper has been finding his way into traffic and finishing at the rim quite effectively.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the former Auburn Tiger coming out of college was about his ability to hold up at just 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds. Ignore the fact that Trae Young is of a similar build.

There is a possibility Young’s old critics moved on to Cooper with how similar their games are. The biggest difference is Cooper’s first scoring instinct is to drive whereas Young’s is more inclined to pull up. Perhaps Young can teach his new understudy his floater.

More importantly, he can teach him about altering his pace to maximize his athleticism.

Cooper sometimes moves too fast and it has led to a lot of turnovers. He has 17 in three games. Not all of them are on him. But enough of them were that McMillan made note that he was granting his rookie point guard two turnovers.

The rookie had five.

Three came in the third quarter. He made up for it somewhat with six assists in the frame and 10 fourth-quarter points. Cooper was also responsible for stopping several scoring droughts for the Hawks.

But he too had just two points in an overtime frame that saw the Hawks attempt just five shots.