Hawks rookie guard Tyrese Martin ready to get after it in Summer League debut

The Hawks will open Summer League play Saturday evening, two days after the tournament began. But the Hawks used that additional time to get their legs under them.

On Friday afternoon, the Hawks and Clippers scrimmaged against each other, and it gave rookie guard Tyrese Martin a sense of where he is in his development.

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The Hawks drafted Martin at No. 51 in last month’s NBA draft after trading their original pick at No. 44 to the Warriors for $2 million and the 51st pick. The Hawks had a group of players who they liked and were expected to go in that range. On draft day they received offers from teams who were willing to trade their pick, as well as cash.

So, they opted to moved back and draft a player who they still liked and get another asset in the process.

The Hawks have not announced what their plans are for Martin next season, and they already have their maximum two players on two-way contracts in Sharife Cooper and Chaundee Brown. They still have at least two roster spots available as they plan to sign veteran center Frank Kaminsky to a veteran minimum deal next week.

So, this is Martin’s opportunity to make a convincing argument that he should be on the main roster.

“I think we’re gonna be in a good spot,” Martin said. “I mean, we got to be able to get our legs under us today with the scrimmage. So I’m just going out there Saturday. I mean, it was good to get this through, but going out there Saturday full-go ready to play against the Jazz looking for the win.”

Martin, 23, already possesses many of the skills that the Hawks are looking for on their roster. He showed the hard-hat mentality that the Hawks are looking to lean into on both ends of the floor. Martin competed hard on offense and defense in his years with the Connecticut Huskies and had a breakout season in his final season.

A 6-foot-6, 215-pound guard, Martin averaged 13.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 29 games last season. He’s an athletic guard who can break up plays and convert them into scoring possessions for his team.

He can move well off the ball and shows the determination to break through screens to get open before putting the ball on the floor and creating his own opportunity. He made 44.9% of his shots from the floor.

On top of that, can be a threat from outside. He sank 43% of his 3.4 attempts per game on 3-point shots during his senior season with the Huskies and will look to find his rhythm as a professional.

Now, Martin will have to find away to put that all together at the NBA level, and Summer League will be his first chance to do so.

“Definitely just got to pick up things quicker,” Martin said. “There’s something with the terminology of NBA within the last couple of days. So just putting in place first time to each other. I definitely got to get that down, pat. But besides that, I felt like I did a pretty good job after.”

Martin has been taking advantage of the knowledge that the Hawks’ coaching staff, including Summer League coach Nick Van Exel, possesses. He said that they’ve made sure to talk to him during timeouts, as well as reminded him to lean on his older teammates.

“Oh, yeah, we’re just coming out here to win,” Martin said. “I mean, keep it short, simple. (Van Exel’s a) very straightforward guy. So, we know we go over to him for help or anything, but you just want to come out here and win and put us in the best position to win.”

To do that, he said he’s willing to do whatever it takes.

“You know, just being a dog (and) getting after on offensive glass, getting extra possessions, you know, diving on the floor for loose balls, getting under guys (and) just doing all this stuff that, you know, the All-Stars and things won’t be doing,” he said. “So, they need complimentary players to do things like that, and I’m going to be one of them.”