The Atlanta Hawks are bringing a pair of intriguing rookies in DeAndre Bembry and Taurean Prince to training camp next week. Both fit the mold as athletic wing players who project to be plus defenders with complimentary offensive games.
Bembry recently talked with Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy about his transition to the NBA and says his versatility on the defensive end of the floor as being one of his biggest strengths.
“I definitely feel like I can impact the game right away. I feel like it just depends on what the coaches need me to do in my rookie year. Whether it’s me needing to score or if it’s just needing me out there to guard the best player on the floor, I’m open to it. I’m a very versatile player; I can play with the ball in my hands and can play off the ball if that’s what Coach Bud wants. I can pretty much guard the one, two and three, so I can affect the game in many different areas. It just depends what the team needs me to do or what my coaches want me to do.”
Bembry showed that all-around ability during his stint with the Hawks at the Las Vegas Summer League. When you look at Atlanta’s roster, there are a number of veteran wing players that appear to be in front of Bembry and Prince. However, you need look no further than last year as an example when Lamar Patterson opened the season in the Hawks’ rotation that Mike Budenholzer is willing to put the player on the floor that earns the spot.
“Rather than just being a one-dimensional player, Coach can throw me out there to do multiple things. Rather than just being a defensive player or just being able to throw up shots, I can always find a way to make an impact since I play hard on both ends. The NBA is definitely moving toward more versatile players. These days, the four will bring the ball up the court sometimes, like Draymond Green does. Even the fives are trying to dribble more than they used to. Being versatile can definitely help a player get more minutes, and I feel like that will help me get out there more.”
While his play on the defensive end is probably the easiest path for Bembry to earn playing time, I was most impressed with the ability he showed at initiating the team’s offense in Vegas. He played some point guard this summer but has the ability to make plays for others from the wing which is an area this Hawks team has been missing for a while.
With 20 players in camp and 16 with contracts for next season, this training camp could be one of the most competitive we have seen for the Hawks in a long time. For guys like Bembry, it is an opportunity to show that the future is now.