Even if the team fell short of claiming the ultimate glory of a 2016 Las Vegas Summer League title, the Atlanta Hawks enjoyed a successful run in the desert. At the center of it all, the Hawks were able to put a team on the floor for six semi-competitive games in July and with a number of intriguing prospects for the future on the roster, the festivities were certainly worth evaluating.
Today, we will a glance at the winners and losers from the eight-day run in Las Vegas. It’s a simple concept, but an effective one nonetheless.
Now, let’s get it going with the losers.
- Matt Costello - While he lands on this unfortunate list, Costello’s performance in Las Vegas wasn’t inherently surprising. The former Michigan State big man reportedly has a training camp invite already in hand from the Hawks, and he will function just fine in that role as an extra body to bring size and energy to camp in the fall. Still, Costello doesn’t strike me as an NBA player, as a high-end motor can only take you so far with a limited skill set and athletic profile.
- Darington Hobson - The 28-year-old wing was one of the more intriguing names on the Summer League roster in my opinion, but the Hawks didn’t quite see it that way. Hobson appeared in only 53 minutes of game action over the six games (even with a starting spot in the sixth and final contest), and as a result, he didn’t have a lot of time to impress any scouts in attendance. Hobson has enjoyed success at lower levels, but given his age, a lengthy NBA career could be tough to project at this point.
- Isaia Cordinier - Cordinier is 19 years old... and he plays like it. The bouncy French swingman struggled from an efficiency standpoint this week, making just 25% of his shot attempts both from the field and from beyond the three-point arc. That limits Cordinier’s ability to find the “winners” category, but he did flash the athleticism and profile that made him attractive to the Hawks. In terms of raw performance, Cordinier wasn’t great, but I can see it.
- Brandon Ashley - I’m a fan of Brandon Ashley, to the point where I was, once again, excited to see him included on Atlanta’s summer roster. He was one of the more productive players for the Hawks during the week, averaging 11.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, but Ashley is basically auditioning for other NBA and European teams at this point. There just isn’t a spot for him in Atlanta right now, even if Taylor Jenkins spoke highly enough of Ashley to opine for a potential training camp invite.
- Lamar Patterson - This is going to be an odd inclusion, simply because Patterson was waived during the week. Still, the second-year guard landed in a productive place with the Sacramento Kings, and he has a better chance of making the 15-man roster in Sacramento than he did in Atlanta. Beyond that, Patterson was a steadying force in Las Vegas, flashing the high-end basketball IQ and passing ability that make him a viable NBA guard for the future.
- DeAndre Bembry - I loved DeAndre Bembry before the week started, and that love has only grown. The rookie swingman does have a weakness in his long-distance shooting (29% this week from three), but Bembry is willing to shoot with confidence and it is tough to pick him apart otherwise. The former St. Joseph’s star displayed the high-end passing ability we all wanted to see, adequately initiated the offense, competed defensively and even savagely dunked on a real NBA rim protector. Bembry probably won’t be a superstar, but he certainly looks like a real NBA rotation player in the future. That will work just fine from the No. 21 overall pick.
- Bryce Cotton/Kevin Pangos - For a brief moment this week, it looked as if there might be a point guard spot available for one of these guards. Then, the Jarrett Jack signing happened. With that said, Cotton and Pangos were both quite good, and Pangos reportedly netted himself a European contract as a result. Cotton has something of an NBA pedigree, and he flashed the shooting ability and playmaking that would make him attractive as a third point guard option available right now. I like both players a great deal, if not for the Hawks at this time.
- Taurean Prince - Prince got a late start to the week after the NBA’s trade approval process delayed his arrival, but he made the most of it. Prince averaged 13.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game in three contests, and after some timidity in his first outing, the forward was very confident in himself the rest of the week. It will be interesting to see how Prince transitions defensively from the crazy zone scheme at Baylor into the man-to-man principles of the NBA, but he has the athleticism and length to be a formidable player on that end and the coaching staff raved about his prospects defensively. Prince may not be a traditional “lottery pick” in the sense that his upside isn’t incredibly high, but he wouldn’t be out of place on an NBA court right now and that is a testament to his play.
- Edy Tavares - Tavares was nearly a “status quo” player from this week, but he did enough to jump a category, if only by the skin of his teeth. The 7-foot-3 center was one of the better rim protectors in Las Vegas, averaging 2.7 blocks per game, but I came away more impressed with his willingness and ability to rim run offensively than anything else. We know that Tavares can hold his own as an NBA rim protector, but he looked to be in better shape and the big man was aggressive in using his sizable frame to his advantage. It remains to be seen if he’s ready to contribute as a rotation player in the league, but he looked like the part in Las Vegas to the degree that he possibly could have.