The Hawks completed two summer events, competing in the Utah Jazz and Las Vegas Summer League, with a roster comprised of first-year and rookie players. After losing all three games in Utah, the Hawks went 3-3 in Nevada before their run ended on Friday.
Here are five things we learned from the team’s trip to Las Vegas.
1. Young’s OK: It’s summer league. The competition is certainly below NBA caliber. However, as the event progressed, Trae Young at least eased immediate concerns that arose in Salt Lake City.
In three games in Salt Lake City, Young averaged 12.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 29 minutes. However, he shot .231 (12 of 52) from the field and .125 (3 of 24) from 3-point range.
In four games in Las Vegas, Young averaged 17.0 points, 6.8 assists and 1.0 rebounds in 25.8 minutes. He shot .383 (18 of 47) from the field and .387 (12 of 31) from 3-point range. Young, the No. 5 overall pick, sat out the final two games in Las Vegas.
General manager Travis Schlenk said there was no concern about Young’s start.
“There was no concern level when he got off to a bad start,” Schlenk said. “I said the other day, he missed his first shot and everyone said ‘Oh, he’s a bust.’ We are not going to know who Trae Young is in the NBA for another two or three years. All these guys, it’s all about the work they put in from now until two or three years down the road.”
2. A need to play small ball: As Young struggled, he was pressed by bigger, stronger more experienced guards. The Knicks’ Frank Ntilikina and the Trail Blazers’ Wade Baldwin IV were notable in slowing Young. While Young did at times get separation to shoot, it was hard to come by.
Hawks assistant Chris Jent, who coached the team in Las Vegas, said style of play will help Young, especially small ball.
“We have to do a better job of setting screens for him and getting him open,” Jent said. “Getting him some space so he’s got some vision.”
3. Enough for Collins: Four games was enough to know John Collins is just fine. Last year’s first-round pick had a strong rookie season. There is no reason to believe he won’t pick up where he left off.
In two games in Salt Lake City, Collins averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds, while shooting 52 percent, in 22.5 minutes. In two games in Las Vegas, the power forward averaged 24 points and 8.5 rebounds, while shooting 48 percent, in 28.5 minutes. He had a 30-point game before he found a spot as a spectator the rest of the trip. He leads Las Vegas in scoring average before Sunday’s tournament-round games.
Coaches wanted a chance for Collins to put into action what he has been working on during the offseason. Collins wanted a chance to build chemistry with Young. Mission accomplished.
4. Dorsey made strides: Tyler Dorsey had an up-and-down season as a rookie last year after being a second-round draft pick. The shooting guard needs to show continued improvement if he is to earn a spot in the Hawks’ young core. He’s off to a good start.
In three games in Salt Lake City, Dorsey averaged 16.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 27 minutes. The scoring average as fifth in the event. In two games in Las Vegas, slowed by a hip injury, Dorsey averaged 19.5 points and 11.0 rebounds in 33 minutes.
5. Roster changes: The Hawks made their one significant move of the offseason following the draft with the trade for Jeremy Lin from the Nets. Despite what the move likely means for incumbent starting point guard Dennis Schroder, the Hawks could continue to change the roster. They have 14 players, a number Schlenk wants to keep. Antonius Cleveland and Jaylen Morris have non-guaranteed contracts. They could very well be released to open roster spots, for another trade or flexibility, after neither played stellar in summer league.