The Atlanta Hawks put together their best performance of the week in Las Vegas, outlasting the Miami Heat by a final score of 75-64 to move to the winner's bracket and a chance at Summer League "glory". While the usual suspects (headlined by Mike Muscala's 15 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists) were present and effective, the Hawks visibly shortened the rotation on Wednesday evening, and the choices were revealing.
In the interest of full disclosure, no player outside of Muscala and Edy Tavares can be counted on for impact beyond this week. Glenn Robinson III (who finished with 11 points and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes on Wednesday) holds the inside track toward a training camp invite based on his pedigree and positional fit, but aside from that, nothing is guaranteed. Still, Hawks coach Kenny Atkinson effectively moved to a 8-man (9-man when including Trey McKinney-Jones) rotation for the fourth game, and players like Brandon Ashley and Terran Petteway came into focus.
Both Ashley and Petteway come with the notoriety associated with major college basketball, as they attended (and starred for) Arizona and Nebraska, respectively. Still, each player brings something interesting to the table, and both were on display on Wednesday. Ashley's athleticism and length were on display on the way to an 8-point, 8-rebound performance against the Heat, and while Petteway's stat line was less impressive on this particular night (3-9 FG, 8 points, 4 rebounds), he has been a shot-maker for the Hawks throughout the week.
Ashley, unfortunately, does not have the best fit for the Hawks roster based on position. He is a natural power forward by any distinction, and with a logjam at the position (including Muscala and Mike Scott, for instance), he is fighting an uphill battle. Petteway's case is slightly more interesting, as the Hawks value shooting and he can provide that while playing a position of relative need on the wing.
Players like Stephen Holt and DeAndre Kane have also been prominently featured this week for Atlanta, and they were clearly cemented as parts of the "playoff" rotation on Wednesday. Still, neither is a natural point guard, and especially in the case of Holt, the returns in Las Vegas have been underwhelming.
Again, Brandon Ashley and Terran Petteway aren't anything approaching locks to land with the Atlanta Hawks, even with training camp invites. However, Atkinson was vocal in noting them as players they are closely monitoring earlier in the week, and each player flashed portions of what they can bring to the table on Wednesday evening against Miami.