Denver, CO, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard John Jenkins (12) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 104-88. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
On the grand scale of activity for the Atlanta Hawks in the past few weeks, the release of the summer league roster is admittedly less than grandiose. However, the trip to Las Vegas that begins on Friday (and lasts through July 22nd) will feature some potentially key players for the upcoming 2013-2014 regular season, and as such, there is good reason to focus on the proceedings.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, the biggest storyline around the unveiling of the roster was the notable absence of 1st-round pick Lucas Nogueira. I wouldn’t panic regarding his omission, as there are rumors persisting of some hang-ups with FIBA regarding his availability, but it would have been quite interesting to see him on the court for the first time.
The other 1st-round selection, Dennis Schröder, will be making his Hawks debut, and the focus is even brighter on him in the wake of Jeff Teague’s offer sheet with Milwaukee. The young German point guard will be joined by sure-fire members (because they have guaranteed contracts) of the Hawks regular season roster including John Jenkins and Jared Cunningham.
Personally, I believe that the most intriguing members of the roster in the coming week-plus are Schröder, Cunningham, and Mike Muscala. Cunningham was notably acquired on draft night, but he was a wash-out in Dallas after being a 1st-round pick of the Mavericks. However, he has some significant athletic gifts, and given the Hawks lack of a prototypical shooting guard on the roster (Lou Williams and John Jenkins are each undersized and defensively limited), Cunningham has a legitimate shot at gaining playing time if he performs well. Muscala is a guy that I have been in love with since before the draft, and this is our first chance to see him against NBA quality athletes in more than a scrimmage.
The full roster can be found on Hawks.com by clicking here, and we are in for an entertaining 10-day stretch. Atlanta takes on the LA Clippers squad in their first game on Friday, July 12th at 3:00 pm, and NBA TV will be carrying the games throughout league play.
Before rolling your eyes and saying “that’s just summer league”, I would encourage you to remember that there is real talent on the floor. There are at least six members of the Hawks’ roster (Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack in addition to those previously mentioned) that could make the regular season unit, and that doesn’t even account for high-flying rookie Adonis Thomas or 2009 Hawks’ draft pick Sergiy Gladyr. In short, summer league is awesome, and it is a great opportunity to see a bit into the future. Tune in!