The Atlanta Hawks began their Summer League slate in Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon, and it was a topsy-turvy battle against the Washington Wizards. Washington led early, with the Hawks making a surge to conclude the second quarter, but when the Wizards raced ahead in the third, they were able to cruise to a 90-74 victory that put Atlanta behind the 8-ball in the all important (or not at all important) standings.
In Summer League, the final score is of very little consequence, and on a player-by-player basis, there were some interesting developments. For the "regulars", Dennis Schröder and Mike Muscala had the most productive days. The statistical production wasn't there for Dennis, who shot just 2 for 13 from the floor for 8 points, but he was incredibly steady in running the offense, and his court awareness and tempo seemed much improved from what we saw last season. Muscala joined Schröder in some impressive distribution with a number of quality kick-out passes, and he finished the day with 11 points and 5 rebounds.
John Jenkins was less impressive than his "permanent" roster counterparts, as he was fairly underwhelming. The shooting guard looked to be overmatched defensively from the opening tip (not a surprise), and with his inability to get much going offensively (1 for 4, 2 points in 21 minutes), there wasn't anything terribly positive to report. Still, Jenkins is working his way back from a back injury, and that has be factored in at this point.
In the newcomers category, Adreian Payne drew a great deal of attention. The first-round pick got off an ugly start from the field (1 for 6 in the first half), and he looked to be pressing a bit in the early going. Still, his athleticism showed throughout (including a massive follow dunk in the third quarter) and he was able to finish with 12 points and 7 rebounds (to go along with 8 fouls).
Walter (Edy) Tavares did his part in defending the rim effectively for Atlanta, but there were issues (4 fouls in the first 5 minutes) with availability. Still, Tavares was impressive in his first action, even flashing a 15-foot turnaround jump shot that drew some raising of the eyebrows on media row. The other second round pick, Lamar Patterson, looked to be firmly comfortable at this level, displaying a smooth disposition with the ball, and he finished with 10 points, including a beautiful left-handed floater in the third quarter, and 3 steals.
All in all, it was a game marked by an incredible amount of foul calls (64 in total with 34 on the Hawks), and other than that, it was business as usual for Summer League. The Hawks will continue their Summer League journey as they take on the NBA's D-League Select team at 6:30 pm ET (3:30 pm PT) on Sunday. Stay tuned.