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NBA Summer League 2017: The first look at 2017 Atlanta Hawks draft picks

It’s just one game but there were some takeaways for the new crop of rookies.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks lost their first game in 2017 Las Vegas Summer League play to the Brooklyn Nets 75-72. A lot of the focus from the game was on Taurean Prince and DeAndre’ Bembry who handled a significant amount of the responsibility to create on offense. However, the Hawks do have three pure rookies on the roster and let’s take a look at how the new draftees performed.

John Collins

Collins dominated the boards with 11 rebounds in just 24 minutes of play. He was consistently beating players to the rebound on both ends of the court securing the ball well above the rim.

The No. 19 overall pick was efficient on offense scoring 8 points on 6 shooting possessions which was boosted by going 4 of 5 from the free throw line. The bigger takeaway was that the Nets could not handle him at the rim without fouling him. His aggressiveness attacking the rim really stood out. Also he had just 1 turnover which was encouraging; he had no assists but he passed the ball cleanly in many different offensive actions with more than acceptable ball security.

What jumped out in watching him play was that he was easily the best athlete on the court any time he was in the game. His speed moving up and down the court was impressive and in rebound situations he would often be the second or third closest player to the rim when the shot was taken and would beat everyone to the ball. He is incredibly bouncy and has great instincts tracking the ball.

Tyler Dorsey

Dorsey did not make an impact on this game as the stat sheet would suggest, but he looked like he knew what to do on offense as soon as he received the ball. He did miss all 3 of his free throw attempts but 2 of those attempts took place just one minute into his entry in the game. He looked like a player that will need to adjust to coming off of the bench in terms of getting into an offensive rhythm.

The No. 41 overall selection was solid individually on defense but some of the Nets most productive offensive stretches were when he and Isaia Cordinier were defending on the wings. Their combined lack of size was problematic. In terms of potentially integrating him into the rotation at any point during the 2017-2018 season, Dorsey will likely need to play along side a bigger wing such as Prince or Bembry as to account for dealing with the opponents point of attack.

Dorsey’s most impressive area of play was in transition defense. His speed and basketball IQ really showed up in that area of play. Overall, he looked confident in all of his actions but will need to adjust to the reduced offensive spacing in an NBA setting.

Alpha Kaba

It was painfully apparent that Kaba needed consistent instruction as to get him to the right spot to begin every offensive possession. Once he knew where to be, the No. 60 overall pick handled himself pretty well. He was a very willing screener in the offensive flow but will need to adjust to how screens are officiated in the NBA environment. His one trip to the free throw line was successful as he made both attempts. More importantly the shot looked very good from a form standpoint.

On the defensive end of the court, Kaba seemingly needed zero instruction as to know where he should be and what he should do. His communication was excellent and his mobility and decisiveness really stood out. From having watched the game up close and in person, he stood out as the best defensive anchor on the floor during his on-court stretches.


The adjustments between this game and the second game for the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday will be interesting to track for all of these players. And, hopefully, we will also see some action from newly acquired center Diamond Stone and will include him in updated analysis of the new Hawks youngsters as summer league continues.