Hawks send Patterson, Tavares to Austin for chance to play

Credit: Streeter Lecka

Credit: Streeter Lecka

With a fully healthy roster leaving little playing time for those at its end, the Atlanta Hawks are returning center Walter “Edy” Tavares and guard/forward Lamar Patterson to the D-League so they can get some playing time.

While the Hawks play Wednesday night in Charlotte and Friday night in Milwaukee, Tavares and Patterson will be with the D-League’s Austin Toros for games Thursday in Bakersfield, Calif., and perhaps Saturday night in Los Angeles.

Atlanta has a home game Saturday night against the Nets, and injuries to other players on the rest of the roster Wednesday or Friday might trigger a quicker return to the Hawks for Tavares or Patterson.

Both players were selected by the Hawks in the second round in 2014, and spent their first professional seasons playing in Europe before making Atlanta’s roster last fall.

Tavares has played in seven games for the Hawks, averaging 2.7 points, 2.1 rebounds with six blocked shots. In seven games with Austin and Canton of the D-League, the 7-foot-3 native of Cape Verde has averaged 9.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocked shots. He registered two double-doubles.

With the return to action this week of center/forward Tiago Splitter, who was nursing a strained calf, the Hawks are well stocked with post players in Al Horford, Paul Millsap, Splitter, Mike Scott and Mike Muscala.

Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer recently said, “Edy’s gotten to play some minutes. He’s done well. We’re excited about him, but at the end of the day you probably can’t play five bigs so there would be somebody who probably won’t get to play as much and Tiago would get some of those minutes.”

Patterson has played in 29 games for Atlanta, averaging 2.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists in his first pro season since playing collegiately at Pittsburgh.

He’s flashed from time to time, most notably when he scored 10 points, made three 3-pointers, and grabbed six rebounds in the Hawks’ 121-97 win over Boston on Nov. 24.

His opportunities for playing time have waned, however, with Tim Hardaway Jr.’s recent emergence.

In three games with the Toros, Patterson’s averaged 15.3 points, 7.3 assists, 7.0 rebounds and a steal.

The Hawks drafted him 48th overall in 2014. Tavares was drafted 43rd overall.