With the 2014 Las Vegas Summer League just a few days away, there has been a great deal of anticipation in this space. The Atlanta Hawks (finally) unveiled their complete roster on Tuesday afternoon, and now, we can begin to break down what we can expect from each and every member of the team that will be traveling to Nevada.
In part one, we've elected to break down the perimeter options, and they are as follows:
Michael Bramos - Guard/Forward - 6-foot-6, 225 pounds - Miami, Ohio (Panathinaikos)
Bramos is certainly not your "typical" Summer League invite, as he has been playing professionally in Greece over the past two seasons after emerging as the MAC Player of the Year as a senior at Miami (Ohio). His shooting statistics have been solid in fairly limited playing time overseas, putting up nearly 37% from the 3-point line, but the knock on him as he emerged from college was in his ability to break down opponents off the dribble.
It is highly unlikely that a player like Bramos would make the "permanent" roster for the Hawks, but as a seasoned, professional option, he certainly won't be out of place in this setting.
Stephen Holt - Guard - 6-foot-4, 195 pounds - Saint Mary's
Dating back to his time as a four-year contributor at Saint Mary's, Holt is a personal favorite of mine. As a senior, he was asked to play point guard after the graduation of current NBA guard Matthew Dellavedova, but he is certainly much more suited to playing the off-guard spot at a higher level.
Holt's greatest attribute is his jump shot, and his proficiency in that area allowed him to shoot more than 44% from 3-point distance in his final college season. That is impressive for anyone, but to accomplish it as the focal point of the offense stands out, and while there are concerns about his athleticism and ability to defend in the league, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him shine a bit if given the opportunity in a wide-open setting.
John Jenkins - Guard - 6-foot-4, 215 pounds - Vanderbilt (Currently on Hawks permanent roster)
Jenkins is the first "familiar" name on this list, and he is due to make more than $1.3 million as a member of the Hawks bench for the upcoming season. The now 23-year-old guard was limited to just 13 games of action during the 2013-2014 as a result of back surgery, and he never looked to be comfortable physically when on the floor.
As a rookie, Jenkins did manage to shoot better than 38% from 3-point distance, and that is definitely his calling card at the NBA level. The jury is firmly out as to whether Jenkins can defend and create enough off the dribble to be a legitimate rotation player on a playoff-bound team, but in the summer, he will likely be one of the go-to options on this roster.
Abraham Millsap - Guard - 6-foot-4, 190 pounds - Tennessee State
As you may have guessed by the last name, Abraham Millsap is the younger brother of All-Star power forward Paul Millsap. That is where the similarities cease on the court, though, as the younger Millsap does not quite resemble an NBA player from his pedigree. The 6-foot-4 guard was last seen playing 5 games with Tennessee State during the 2012-2013 campaign, and previous to that, he was a member of the basketball team at Paine College in Augusta.
Last season, Elijah Millsap (Abraham's older brother) was a member of Atlanta's roster for Las Vegas, and it appears that this invite won't have a great deal of lasting consequence.
Lamar Patterson - Guard/Forward - 6-foot-5, 225 pounds - Pittsburgh (Second Round Pick)
Another familiar name! Pittsburgh swingman Lamar Patterson was acquired via a draft-day trade with the Milwaukee Bucks after he was selected with the 48th overall pick. While he wasn't a lofty draft prospect in most circles, the versatile Patterson was extremely effective during his time at Pittsburgh, and his varied offensive game would appear to be a nice fit in Atlanta.
Patterson is a tremendous shooter, as evidenced by his career 37% mark from beyond the arc in college, and that is likely what drew the Hawks to his profile originally. However, he is a solid rebounder for his size (4.9 per game as a senior) who plays the game efficiently and unselfishly, and frankly, it wouldn't be a shock to see him excel here. Is he a favorite to make the final roster? Maybe not, but Lamar Patterson will likely be in the mix.
Casey Prather - Guard/Forward - 6-foot-6, 212 pounds - Florida
Prather is personal favorite of our own Jason Walker, and he also happened to lead an excellent Florida team in scoring and rebounding during his final season in Gainesville. On the positive side, he is a big-time athlete who can excel on the defensive end, but there is a reason that he went undrafted.
Despite his solid numbers in college, it is uncertain as to how Prather will operate offensively at the next level. As a 6-foot-6 swingman, he attempted only 32 three-pointers in his entire career at Florida (!) and that is a rare breed in today's NBA. It will be intriguing to see how he is deployed by Darvin Ham and company in Las Vegas, and if he can improve his range, there could be a professional future for him.
Trevor Releford - Guard - 6-foot, 190 pounds - Alabama
To me, Trevor Releford is one of the most interesting players on this roster. The point guard did not excel during his early time at Alabama, but in the final two years, he came on in a significant way, and Releford posted some tremendous stats as a senior. Releford averaged more than 18 points per game in his final season, and in the last two years combined, he shot 40% from beyond the arc.
More impressively, he was named to the All-Defensive team during his time in Tuscaloosa, and if he can pester opposing guards using a 6-foot-6 wingspan, it isn't difficult to foresee success. Releford was not considered to be a big-time prospect, but he will certainly see time behind Dennis Schröder at the point.
Dennis Schröder - Guard - 6-foot-1, 168 pounds - Germany (Currently on Hawks permanent roster)
Like John Jenkins before him, Schröder is guaranteed almost $1.7 million for the upcoming season, and his participation in Las Vegas should be evaluated on a grander scale. Dennis struggled at times during his rookie campaign, but if not for the unlikely emergence of Shelvin Mack (who some thought would be cut prior to the season), he undoubtedly would have received additional playing time.
It will be interesting to watch Schröder operate in a system that he should be comfortable with at this point, and in addition to that, his shooting stroke should be monitored throughout the week-plus in Las Vegas. There are still high expectations for the 2013 first-round pick, and if Mack is exiled in free agency, we are likely looking at the primary back-up to Jeff Teague.
Be sure to check out our continuing coverage of Summer League throughout the process, and stay tuned for part two when we break down the big men.