Walter Tavares: Hawks Rookie Headed to D-League


Atlanta Hawks rookie center Walter Tavares is heading to the D-League after receiving limited minutes throughout the first two weeks of the regular season.

The 2014 second round pick of the Hawks from the Cape Verde islands, Walter Tavares signed a multi-year deal with the team this offseason. At 7’3”, Tavares’s height is a future asset for the team that needs more development, but without any playing time coming about with the Atlanta Hawks thus far in the nascent season, it benefits Tavares and the Hawks by getting the young center much-needed playing time in the D-League.

-= Related: Atlanta Hawks: Why the Club Needs Their Own D-League Franchise =-

The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Chris Vivlamore broke the story, but the Hawks have yet to confirm the report:

The Hawks and Walter Tavares do not know the team he will suit up for in the D-League, but they will utilize the NBA’s Flexible Assignment Rule. Last season, former Hawks’ John Jenkins and Adreian Payne both spent significant time in the D-League; and the Atlanta Hawks took advantage of this rule extensively, getting Payne assigned to the Austin Spurs and Jenkins to the Idaho Stampede. Because the Austin Spurs run a similar system to the Atlanta Hawks, they present the best fit for a team, should Walter Tavares receive his assignment there. 

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Though the D-League is far from a true minor league system, there are many stories of players who have leveraged their success in the D-League into NBA contracts. Hassan Whiteside, Kent Bazemore and Seth Curry are all players who played well at the minor league level, and now find themselves important members of NBA squads.

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how more and more NBA franchises are purchasing their own D-League squads in order to implement their system and to continue player development. I discussed the importance of this, and how the Atlanta Hawks would significantly benefit from owning their own D-League franchise.

Instead of having players not dress for games and sit at the end of the bench, instead they receive important playing time that aids in their development. If an injury arises, the organization has the ability to recall a player to fill-in. Also, with a system such as the Hawks’ run, a D-League franchise that utilizes the same schemes help players more effectively adapt.

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Walter Tavares has only played in two games this season, totaling 2 minutes of court time. Hopefully his time in the D-League helps him to continue to adapt to the NBA, and provides him with valuable experience. Go Hawks!