Atlanta Hawks two-way player Sharife Cooper is developing as promised

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks appeared to do it again. They were able to select the all-around talent of Jalen Johnson later in the first round. They then selected one of the hardest working young players in the class in Sharife Cooper who has the work ethic to be anything in this league, he just needs the opportunity.

Unfortunately for the Hawks’ youngsters the franchise would need a complete rethink on how they play their rookies for Johnson and Cooper to break through into regular rotation minutes. This means that both of these players are looking to develop their game in the G League.

Unfortunately for Cooper this created quite a problem earlier in the season where he did not fit with either team. However, there have been a few performances of late which have had interested observers sitting up and taking note. One of these was a huge triple-double which helped the short-handed College Park Skyhawks put up a decent fight in that game.

Atlanta Hawks guard Sharife Cooper is developing as promised.

When you do something for your whole life, it can be difficult to change. Cooper has always been the point guard on his teams and knows how to make a difference with the ball in his hands. He is a willing passer, creating shots for himself and others. While his 3-point shot was inconsistent prior to the 2021 NBA draft, he has worked hard on that aspect of his game.

Where the problem is for Cooper is that Cat Barber has been a tremendous point guard for the Skyhawks and the two-way player has struggled to fit alongside him. That changed last game when the Skyhawks pulled out a victory on the strength of their backcourt and the center, Justin Tillman.

Well, against the Raptors 905 the Skyhawks were without Tillman and so the backcourt of Barber and Cooper filled up the box score, coming very close to taking the win against the higher placed Canadian franchise. Barber had 23 points, six assists, four rebounds, and two steals.

However, the real star of the show was Cooper who played 45 minutes, collecting 31 points, 13 assists, eight rebounds, and a block. The two guards played together like veterans and if not for the lack of a quality center, the Skyhawks could have won the game.

While this game may pass unnoticed for many, it was the first time this season that the Skyhawks back court functioned in back-to-back games with Cooper in it. This is a development in consistency and understanding how to and who to play on or off the ball. It is time for Cooper, the Atlanta Hawks and the College Park Skyhawks.

Next. Clint Capela is playing his role to perfection for the Hawks. dark

Now all that Cooper has to do is keep pulling out performances like these more often than not.