The Atlanta Hawks unveiled their full roster for the Vegas Summer League on Tuesday. We took a closer look at the team's back court options earlier and now we turn our attention to the front court which features three draft picks including 2014 first-round selection Adreian Payne.
Eric Dawson - Forward - 6-foot-9, 255 pounds - Midwestern State
Eric Dawson should be a familiar name for fans of the Atlanta Hawks. He went to summer league with the team last season, earned an invite to training camp and was the last player cut from the roster before the regular season opened. From there Dawson returned to the NBA D-League and the Austin Toros where he has spent parts of six seasons since leaving Midwestern State. Dawson averaged 13.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 22 games with the Toros before leaving for China.
He is by far the oldest player on Atlanta's summer league roster and is a veteran that has kicked around the Spurs organization for a number of years. He earned a call up to the Spurs in 2012 and appeared in four games where he averaged 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds. He appeared in three preseason games with Atlanta last season where he averaged three points and four rebounds in just over 11 minutes of action.
Edo Muric - Forward - 6-foot-8, 190 pounds - Krka Novo Mesto (Slovenia)
Edo Muric is a 6-6 small forward out of Slovenia who has spent the last four seasons Krka Novo Mesto. He averaged a team-best 13.4 points on 46 percent shooting in 21 Adriatic League games. He averaged 12.5 points in 11 games at the EuroChallenge. He is a member of the Slovenian National Team and took part in the 2011 European Championship. He's a product of Slovenia's national team efforts and came through the ranks playing for their U-16, U-18 and U-20 national teams.
Muric is described as a good shooter with a high basketball IQ. Like a lot of foreign prospects he is good at moving without the ball and is an above average passer. He's described as a good defender in Europe but will be interesting to see how that translates against NBA caliber competition.
Here are some highlights:
Mike Muscala - Forward/Center - 6-11, 238 pounds - Bucknell (Currently on Hawks roster)
Mike Muscala took an interesting path to the NBA after being drafted out of Bucknell in the second-round of the 2013 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. He began his professional career by going to Las Vegas with the Hawks for Summer League where he appeared in five games and averaged 5.8 points and 5.2 rebounds. Atlanta elected not to sign Muscala but maintained his rights and he headed for Spain to continue his development.
Muscala signed with Blusens Monbus Obradoiro of the Spanish ACB League where he played in 20 games and averaged a team-best 14.5 points and 7.8 rebounds. When Atlanta's front court was ravaged by injury late in the season they called on Muscala and negotiated a buyout with his Spanish club and brought him to the NBA. He appeared in 20 games for the Hawks and finished with averages of 3.8 points and 2.6 rebounds. He will be trying to show the Hawks' brass that he can be a contributing member of their frontcourt this season from the outset.
Adreian Payne - Forward/Center - 6-10, 245 pounds - Michigan State (First-Round Pick)
The Atlanta Hawks drafted Michigan State's Adreian Payne with the 15th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft. Payne is a multi-talented player whose game took a huge step forward as a senior with the Spartans. Payne averaged a career best 16.4 points during his senior season to go along with 7.3 rebounds. He shot 50 percent from the field overall and 42 percent from three-point range which helped drive up his draft stock.
Payne looks like a perfect fit for Hawks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer's system. Atlanta loves big men that can step out to the perimeter and stretch the floor. Its an added bonus that he is a good positional defender and could even see some time at the center position in some matchups.
D.J. Shelton - Center - 6-10, 250 pounds - Washington State
D.J. Shelton is another floor spacing big man prospect who went undrafted out of Washington State. Shelton didn't have nearly the success shooting the basketball as someone like Payne but possesses the physical tools to be a good shooter. He shot just 39 percent as a senior and made just 23 percent of 111 three-point attempts in 2014. He finished the season with averages of 10.1 points and 9.6 rebounds which was the second best mark in the Pac 12.
Walter "Edy" Tavares - Center - 7-3, 260 pounds - Gran Canaria (Second Round pick)
Walter Tavares is one of the most intriguing second-round picks of the 2014 NBA Draft. Atlanta grabbed him with the 43rd pick in the June Draft and many pundits thought that he could go much higher. Tavares' size alone at 7-3, 260 makes him a prospect. When you factor that he has only been playing basketball since 2009 then you see there is plenty of upside.
He's already one of the top rebounding and shot blocking big men in the Spanish ACB according to DraftExpress, and still has plenty of room for growth. He appeared in 35 games for Gran Carania this season including 17 starts. He finished with averages of 6.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He also showed a surprising good touch from the free throw line where he made 75 percent of his attempts. He finished with six points, 14 rebounds and three blocks in a head-to-head matchup with Mike Muscala early in the ACB season.
Tavares' status for summer league was uncertain following the draft but his inclusion on the roster means that the Hawks were able to gain the necessary clearance from FIBA. Its likely that he will need at least another season or two in Spain before he is a viable candidate to come to the NBA.
Here is a look at Tavares' scouting report from DraftExpress:
Travis Wear - Forward - 6-10, 230 pounds - UCLA
Travis Wear began his college career with North Carolina before transferring to UCLA after his freshman season. He's a former McDonald's All-American who went on to have a solid but not spectacular career with the Bruins. Wear appeared in 96 career games with the Bruins while averaging 9.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks.