DeAndre’ Bembry was lights-out in Summer League and many observers around the NBA took notice. The second-year wing was lauded for his versatility and potentially dynamic game and it certainly appears as if Bembry is ready to contribute on the bigger stage when the regular season opens in October.
To that end, the former St. Joseph’s star caught up with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype in an extensive interview and, in short, Bembry isn’t short on confidence to contribute in the immediate future. When prompted about Summer League and his strong showing, Bembry had this to say:
“I just tried to show my overall talent and the reasons why they drafted me. I’m a two-way player, I’ll always try to guard the best player on the other team and I’ll do my best score the ball, facilitate and run the team. I feel like I’m a great leader and I tried to show that. I wanted to be aggressive and win some games.”
“I just wanted to separate myself from the other Summer League players and show why I belong in a real NBA game. I feel like I did that by making the right plays, scoring the ball and doing exactly what we’ll need next year. We lost a lot of pieces, so we’ll definitely need some people to step up.”
Bembry’s defensive upside remains unclear, simply because there are justified concerns about his frame and overall level of strength. Still, he attributes considerable experience in brief stints last season with the confidence he feels to compete on a high level with the best of the best.
“When I did play heavy minutes this past year, I feel like I did pretty well and that definitely helped my confidence – knowing I could compete at a high level against these guys. I got to play against guys like LeBron James and James Harden, and I think I gained the trust and confidence of my teammates and coaches with some of those games where I did get to play more.”
The 23-year-old says frankly that his “goal next season is to play more minutes” and that should be easily attainable given the roster changes that the Hawks have made. However, Bembry won’t be without competition on the wing, with Taurean Prince and Kent Bazemore returning as incumbent starters and the addition of Marco Belinelli as a shooter on the wing.
Bembry’s upside is considerably higher for the future than that of Belinelli but, in the same breath, there are only so many minutes to go around. The youngster does have the ability to function as a secondary ball-handler in a way that no other wing on the roster (with the potential exception of Bazemore and rookie Tyler Dorsey) can duplicate and Bembry’s game is one that could pop in the right circumstances.
The big question, though, is his jump shot and, while Bembry has addressed that concern in the very recent past, he expanded on those thoughts in the HoopsHype interview.
“The biggest thing I wanted to work on this offseason was my jump shot, just being more consistent with it. I feel like I was a much better shooter growing up and I didn’t shoot as well as I wanted to in the minutes that I played this past year. I’m definitely working on that and getting a lot of repetition in. I took one week off after the season and I’ve been working out every day since then. I wanted to get right back in the gym and that’s what I’ve been doing here in Atlanta all summer.”
Bembry’s jumper has the ability to make or break him as a prospect and, at least in the way this reads, it believes as if he knows it. Until the results arrive in a positive way, the uncertainty will persist but Bembry certainly isn’t short on confidence and that will help him in a big way when Mike Budenholzer calls on the rising sophomore to appear in big spots during the 2017-2018 NBA season.