Lucas Nogueira, he of the impressively fluffy hair, will not look for a barbershop in Atlanta. No need.
“My hair is my marketing,” the Hawks’ first-round draft pick said.
Nogueria provided one of the lighter moments of the NBA draft on Thursday night when he attempted to don a baseball-style cap after his selection. It didn’t fit then. It didn’t fit Saturday when he attempted to place another such hat — this one emblazoned with the name “Atlanta Hawks” — following the introductory news conference for the team’s three picks.
Nogueria was joined by fellow first-rounder Dennis Schroeder and second-rounder Mike Muscala.
The Hawks turned to the international market for their two first-round picks. Nogueira, from Brazil who plays professionally in Spain, and Schroeder, from Germany, have watched the NBA from afar. Each noted that the European game is a slower, more deliberate version of basketball. The fact that the NBA game is played at a higher pace suits each just fine, they said.
“I think the difference between Europe and the USA, in the USA the game is very (fast-paced) and physical,” said Nogueria, a center. “They have a lot of technical (game) in the NBA, but in Europe it’s more technical, more slow. I’m thinking my game is more easy to play in the NBA because (of the pace) and the offensive transition.”
“I think the European game is to play set plays, and in the NBA you play fast breaks and everybody is athletic,” said Schroeder, a point guard. “I think that is the biggest adjustment for me. And everybody is strong (in the NBA).”
General manager Danny Ferry again preached patience and player development with the latest additions to the roster. Muscala will play with the Hawks in the Las Vegas Summer League, which begins next month. There are issues with FIBA, the international basketball governing body, to work out before a determination is made on Nogueria and Schroeder.
Ferry credited the scouting department for finding each player. The 20-year-old Nogueria never worked out for the Hawks. The 19-year-old Schroeder, who the team saw at the Hoops Summit in Portland in April, did an interview via Skype. Muscala, 22, worked out twice for the Hawks, one of 15 teams he visited during the predraft process.
“I think we are looking for good players, no matter where they are from,” coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Ferry called the coaching at the international level “great.” He said the strength of this draft was at center and point guard, and it just so happened that the two international prospects, rated highly on the team’s draft board, were available.
Nogueria said he would compare his game with that of Marcus Camby and Joakim Noah with their aggression and energy on defense and their ability to protect the rim and play at a fast pace.
Muscala also needs to develop. Muscala said he knew the Hawks were interested in him as their scouts, including Ferry, were at several Bucknell games last season.
“From very early in the year Mike was a guy our (scouts) felt strongly could be an NBA player,” Ferry said. “He really tries to play the right way. He plays with pace. He passes the ball well. A really good teammate. A lot of the intangible things that we want to have in our program, along with a lot of the tangibles, being able to knock down a shot and go get a rebound.
“If he can continue to develop and grow, he could be someone you are watching in a Hawks uniform for a while.”
All three draftees are scheduled to remain in Atlanta and work out before the summer league. Nogueira and Muscala arrived in Atlanta on Friday following the draft. Schroeder arrived from Germany a few hours before Saturday’s news conference.
“We picked, now we have to develop and work with them to do it,” Ferry said of the draftees.
Ferry, Budenholzer and other members of the Hawks’ front office will turn their attention to free agency, which starts Monday. There remains an NBA roster to fill.
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