Summer League isn’t always indicative of things to come but, in general, the young core of the Atlanta Hawks performed well during the 2017 edition in Las Vegas. One member of that group is soon-to-be second-year player DeAndre’ Bembry and he was recently profiled as a member of an interesting group
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer wrote about his “Draymond Green All-Stars” from Summer League, highlighting players with versatile and interesting skill sets. The No. 21 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft made the cut.
The summer league all-versatile team needs a big playmaker. At 6-foot-6, look no further than Hawks second-year wing Bembry, who has shown the ability to take advantage of mismatches on offense and play versatile defense — like he’s a poor man’s Andre Iguodala, or potentially a rich man’s Evan Turner. After logging only 371 minutes in 38 games as a rookie with the Hawks, Bembry found himself in the “too good for summer league club” posting 17.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 26 minutes per game. The no. 21 pick in last year’s draft scored from all levels of the floor, defended guards like Quinn Cook and wings like Caris LeVert, and made plays off the bounce.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Iguodala comparison, though a “rich man’s Evan Turner” might even be more apt. It would be a reach to think that Bembry could ever approximate Iguodala’s defensive impact but, on the offensive side of the ball, his profile includes the ability to create for himself and others and his shooting is beginning to show signs of life.
From there, O’Connor went on to assure everyone that his turnover issues in Las Vegas weren’t of great consequence.
Bembry had 13 assists to 16 turnovers. Ignore the numbers. They lie. Bembry frequently passed open teammates or made nifty cross-court passes that simply resulted in a missed shot, which is the fault of no one. While Bembry does need to tighten his dribble and cut down on flashy plays, his creativity is the gift that makes him who he is. Over the course of a full season with the tanking Hawks, the kiddos will get plenty of developmental minutes this season. Bembry will be able to pass. Bembry will be able to defend. Bembry will be able to make the right play. The question, like it is for so many players, is whether he will be able to shoot. Only time will tell, but at least the minutes will be there for us to find out while enjoying the rest of his game.
In summation, Bembry’s package is wholly appealing for those who really appreciate basketball IQ, passing and a willingness to make others better on the floor. There are still real questions about Bembry’s shooting and general frame from a strength standpoint and, frankly, they shouldn’t be ignored. Still, there is a lot to like about Bembry and his versatility is near the top of the list.