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Atlanta Hawks roundtable: Who among the off-the-radar young players are you most excited about?

Continuing our series.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

In the dog days of August, fresh NBA content can be sparse but Peachtree Hoops cuts through the silence for an off-season roundtable series centering on the Atlanta Hawks. Part two discusses the under-the-radar young players (i.e. not Trae Young, John Collins or Taurean Prince) brings the most excitement.

  • Brad Rowland - Kevin Huerter. This is the easy answer and I’m tempted to say Justin Anderson, if only because I remain a big-time fan of his work. Still, Huerter is the only choice for me, simply because I believe he is the only remaining young player with a clear path to becoming a full-blown NBA starter. I’m not a big believer in Tyler Dorsey or Omari Spellman, DeAndre’ Bembry has some work to do and Daniel Hamilton is intriguing but not overly exciting to me. With Huerter, the offensive upside is clear and, beyond that, there is a bit of a shadow over him after he missed Summer League. It’s time to see what he can do.
  • Glen Willis - DeAndre’ Bembry. I don’t move on from players I believe in easily. He flashed some nice defensive potential in his limited minutes during his rookie season. His shot looked much improved during Summer League of 2017 and I think he is underrated as an athlete. I’m hoping Bembry has a healthy camp and start to the season so he can at least have an opportunity to demonstrate whether or not he is in the process of rounding out his game.
  • Graham Chapple - ...Does Justin Anderson count? He’s 24 years old and is a really interesting talent netted in the Dennis Schroder trade. He brings a toughness and defensive upside, and I think he could play a larger role than people may anticipate. Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce hasn’t been given a ton of defensive personnel to work with but Justin Anderson -- who Pierce has worked with already in Philadelphia -- is one of them, and I’m excited to see him in action.
  • Greg Willis - Kevin Huerter. The narrative around his rookie season should be very intriguing. He has a dynamic offensive skill set, but we’ve had no opportunity to see how his game will translate to the NBA level. Even his pre-season performances should be must watch basketball. I think many players on this roster will outplay him this season, but I’m excited to see what he can do this season.
  • Jeff Siegel - As a holder of multiple pieces of real estate on Alex Poythress Island, I’m very excited to see what he can bring to the table for the Hawks. His combination of size and athleticism is something the Hawks are missing and his basketball IQ has improved dramatically over the last two years. While he’s only on a Two-Way contract at the moment, he’s a strong candidate to earn the full-time call-up when his 45 days expire.
  • Josh Lane - Kevin Huerter is the answer, especially since we were not able to see him in the summer league. I am eager to see his offensive skill set and I am eager to see if he takes strides to improve on defense.
  • Rashad Milligan - DeAndre’ Bembry. This is literally it for him. He’s shown that he can play in the few occasions we’ve seen him on the floor but how will he react when his livelihood in the NBA is against the wall? Bembry plays with a motor that changes the entire dynamic of the game for Atlanta and he, along with Kevin Huerter, are the X-factors in how many games the Hawks win in this rebuilding season.
  • Sam Meredith - This is a clear cut, easy choice for me. Kevin Huerter is probably the only guy outside of John Collins, Taurean Prince and Trae Young who is young with a real chance to be a long-term NBA starter. Huerter isn’t talked about a ton, but this guy can straight up shoot the basketball and his defense is better than you’d expect. His length and athletic ability make him a strong contender to be on court with Trae Young as a help defender and his lateral quickness is some of the best I saw in college last season. Bembry, Dorsey, Hamilton, and Spellman are all decent project players, but Kevin Huerter has the next level stud potential that none of those guys boast right now.
  • Xavier Cooper - I really liked what I saw from Tyler Dorsey in the Summer League. The fact that he showed he improved from the previous season makes me believe he’s been in the gym working on some things and I’m a huge fan of a gym rat. I watch him do workouts and drills on his Instagram stories and he seems motivated to prove he’s a starter in this league. I like seeing development. I’m curious to see what he adds to his game and if all of his Instagram videos were just an attempt to look busy or were they a true preview of what’s to come. He has the recipe to make for an exciting player to watch. But I guess we’ll just have to see what does what.
  • Zach Hood - Kevin Huerter. The film I’ve seen shows he’s much more than a shooter. While it may take a few weeks or months for him to break the rotation in wing-heavy Atlanta, I’m really excited to see how much of his off the dribble stuff translates to the NBA right away. I’m also interested to see how far Omari Spellman can come on the defense end in year one. If he can improve on that end at similar rate to what Collins did as a rookie, he might end up being a solid piece.