The Hawks selected Griffin with the 16th overall pick. Atlanta had several players on its draft board who were expected to go somewhere late in the second round. So getting some kind of asset from a team looking to trade up became appealing. They traded the 44th overall pick to the Warriors for $2 million and selected Martin at No. 51.
When Griffin and Martin touched down in Atlanta, they felt the love from Hawks fans who were waiting by the gate. The two rookies will represent the Hawks at next month’s Summer League in Las Vegas, and they’re eager to show why they were chosen.
“For me, I’ll just go out there and play the game the right way,” Martin said. “I feel like I don’t go out there and try to hunt offense or things like that. I’ll go out there and just bring a level of toughness to the game where I rebound on both sides of the backboard.
“I’ll go out there and try to guard the best player and shut them down and do all the little things – that little intangible that affects winning in an impactful way. So that’s just what I like to bring to the game. And I think everything else will just fall where it’s supposed to.”
Griffin echoed his draft-night statements of getting to work. He’s hungry for the competition that Summer League may bring.
“Just to be able to go out there and just give your effort, really, and just be competitive, you know, just to compete,” Griffin said. “I think it’d be great just to go against, you know, everyone else in Summer League.”
That need to compete will come in handy not only next month but also in training camp and the upcoming season.
Hawks coach Nate McMillan said the two will have plenty of competition as they battle players including Kevin Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanovic for playing time.
McMillan said their experiences at Duke and Connecticut have primed them to make the jump.
“Both of those coaches, (Dan Hurley) and Coach (Mike) K(rzyzewski), those guys challenged their players. They compete,” McMillan said. “I know Duke’s schedule; they play an intense schedule. So, competing is something that they already know. And that’s something that we’re going to expect them to bring here.”
The Hawks have not officially announced their Summer League roster, but they are set to open the tournament July 9 against the Jazz.