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Atlanta Hawks roundtable: What are your expectations for Omari Spellman and Kevin Huerter?

Happy Monday.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks-Press Conference Dale Zanine-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 six takes a glance at Kevin Huerter and Omari Spellman and what reasonable expectations might be for the rookies in year one.

  • Brad Rowland - This is a tough one. Huerter should be a higher priority for Atlanta but, given the volume of wing options currently available and his delayed start due to injury, it remains unclear how much opportunity the rookie will have in October. He absolutely should be a higher priority than the group including Tyler Dorsey, DeAndre’ Bembry, Daniel Hamilton and others but Lloyd Pierce’s treatment of rookies is something we don’t know a lot about just yet. Eventually, we’ll see Huerter showcase his shooting and underrated play-making ability but there will also be growing pains, particularly on defense. As for Spellman, it isn’t a secret that I really didn’t like that draft pick and my expectations are lower than most as a result. There is talent there but, in the same breath, there are three players (Dedmon, Collins, Len) definitely ahead of him in the pecking order for frontcourt minutes and rumblings that the Hawks could play (a lot) more small ball lineups. Let’s just say it wouldn’t be stunning if Spellman spent some time in Erie, if only to get him on the floor with regularity.
  • Glen Willis - Expectations for this season should not be very high for Huerter given he will play the entire season at age 20. Anything he can flash in terms of offensive versatility would be encouraging. But he is going to need to get much stronger physically to project to being a good enough defensive prospect to consider him to be on track to developing into a player good enough to be worthy of a legitimate rotation spot on the next Hawks playoff team. I expect Spellman to spend a decent amount of time in Erie as he needs reps but is not yet good enough to play in an NBA environment and get the results that will build his confidence. He possesses a nice set of ball skills for the position he plays but needs to transform his body as to be able to be anything other than a complete disaster defensively. He should have an opportunity to earn some garbage minutes in the last month of the season or so after the conclusion of the season for the Hawks have been well determined.
  • Graham Chapple - I’m not going to pretend I know a ton about Omari Spellman and Kevin Huerter. Huerter did not feature at Summer League and Spellman was...not great at Summer League, at least in my eyes. With Huerter only just being cleared to return, he’s a bit behind Spellman in terms of preparation, and this could be reflective in the early rotation minutes. Huerter should feature more and more as the season goes on but G League stints for both, I’m sure, will take place. I’m not especially excited about either right now and I think their playing time will be low at season’s dawn but should improve as the season goes on. After that it all depends on adaptation… So, in short, I’m really not sure...
  • Greg Willis - Spellman will make some jump shots, rebound and block shots -- three valuable skills. But I also expect him to struggle mightily to match up defensively. NBA bigs will be a handful for him and when he has to guard on the perimeter, it will be a real challenge. As for Huerter, it is difficult to know what to expect. But, I anticipate that he will be a very streaky offensive player. He’ll display really solid, efficient shooting at times and will go through stretches when he can’t find the bottom of the net. I expect Coach Pierce to be selective with his playing time, especially in terms of whom he is out there defending. As the season rolls along, it will be important for Huerter to prove he can handle defensive assignments against NBA rotational wings without being overmatched.
  • Jeff Siegel - For Huerter, my baseline expectations are that he can knock down shots. If he can’t do that, then he won’t see the floor very much, but if he can, then we’ll see what else he can bring to the table. He’s likely to be a negative on the defensive end, but could work his way to being close to average due to his sheer size and length. How much offensive value he brings will come down to his shooting, but by the end of the year, I’d love to see some flashes of secondary play-making as well. For Spellman, my expectations couldn’t be any lower. He’ll see some time as the fourth big man, but my baseline expectation is that, as a rookie, he’ll be the worst player on the team this year and may spend more time in the G League than the NBA.
  • Josh Lane - I mentioned Huerter earlier, so to keep it simple I hope to see effort on defense and I expect to see him make his jumpers. If he shows nothing on offense then I expect to see a good amount of time in the G-League for him. For Spellman, I have no expectations and wonder if he will crack 50 minutes for the season.
  • Rashad Milligan - I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from Huerter on tape so far. He has sneaky athleticism and put the ball on the floor in addition to being a deadly shooter. If Kent Bazemore actually ends up getting traded before the start of the season, I see Huerter averaging near double digits and he’ll end up averaging more points if Bembry goes down again. Spellman impressed me in the Summer League because he’s another guy who will do anything the team asks of him. I want Spellman to continue to bring the aggressiveness that the Hawks have lacked since the days of Dahntay Jones, Deshawn Stevenson and Ivan Johnson. He should be able to get some minutes in a front court with Collins, Dewayne Dedmon, Len and Miles Plumlee.
  • Sam Meredith - This is tough to answer mostly because as rookies you can never expect too much. For Huerter, I think the expectations are to stay healthy, take good shots and develop that frame into something a little stronger in the weight room. For Spellman, I think the goals are similar, but instead of beefing up, Spellman needs to tone up and slim down slightly. Both guys main focus should be on learning their roles for the team moving forward and focusing on becoming solid defensive players since that is your ticket to sticking around in the NBA long-term.
  • Xavier Cooper - To me, I just don’t see Kevin Huerter or Omari Spellman having enough in their bag to be a big help to the Hawks in their rookie year. There are too many other players on the roster that aren’t rookies, but are still young and intriguing. I can see Huerter possibly getting minutes do to lack of any true small forwards outside of Taurean Prince. But I think Kent Bazemore, Tyler Dorsey and Prince getting a bulk of the minutes at the wing spots. Spellman just has too many big men that are more experienced and better than him at the moment. I don’t expect Spellman to get many minutes at all in his first year. He could still get some burn in the G League and gain experience that way.
  • Zach Hood - I don’t expect a ton from either, to be honest. Huerter has a bevy of wings to compete with for minutes, and Spellman currently projects (at best) as the fourth big on the roster (Collins, Dedmon, Len) in my opinion. I see each getting significant time in the G League, especially in the first half of season. Huerter is only 20 years old so I think patience is a must there. Spellman needs some time to get into good NBA shape, and also needs to think faster on the court. He seemed to telegraph a lot of his movements in Summer league, so I think he will need a lot of time to develop before he’s really ready to contribute in Atlanta. I really don’t expect to see much of them in the calendar year 2018. If the Hawks trade off veterans such as Lin, Dedmon, Bazemore, etc., then things obviously change. But until then, I see the brass focusing on their development more so than forcing them into situations they aren’t ready for at this juncture.