The Atlanta Hawks kick off their 2023 Las Vegas Summer League campaign last tonight against the Sacramento Kings. This will be the first chance for Atlanta to show off a number of new and returning players in an NBA-like environment.
Sacramento already participated in the California Classic earlier this month, and so there may be different measures of rest and load management for the more veteran players. For example, news has already dropped that the 2022 fourth overall pick and reigning Summer League MVP, Keegan Murray, doesn’t appear set to defend his title after a successful California Classic stint.
Three Players to Watch — Atlanta
AJ Griffin: Griffin may not be long for the Summer League as a semi-regular player last year during the regular season. But after missing the entirety of play last summer with injury, the second-year wing can benefit from a more regular schedule in the ramp up to the 2023-24 season.
Kobe Bufkin: The Hawks’ first round draft pick looks set to run the offense for the Hawks. Point guard play was a major struggle a year ago in Las Vegas, and so this will be a perfect opportunity to give him to freedom to probe and facilitate as a lead guard.
Mouhamed Gueye: Fresh off a contract signing with the Hawks as a second-round pick, Gueye is looking to show off the offensive versatility to put him on Atlanta’s radar. Still just a few years removed from his start in organized basketball, this is a good chance to get the young player valuable reps in an NBA scheme on both ends of the court.
Three Players to Watch — Sacramento
Kessler Edwards: Edwards was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets at last season’s trade deadline, and even appeared in a majority of games for the Kings down the stretch of the year. Edwards has some promise as a wing defender, and — with improvement as a handler and shooter — he could be really valuable for a Sacramento team light on defense and athleticism.
Colby Jones: The first ever recipient of a Second Round Pick Exception contract — the same mechanism used to sign Mouhamed Gueye — Jones brings high basketball IQ guard play in a wing’s frame to the table. After three years in college, his experience (and a head start in Summer League play) should allow him to hit the ground running in this game against the Hawks.
Neemias Queta: Queta is already a solid rim protector who spent last season on a two-way contract, and he could emerge as a legitimate backup big man with the departure of Richaun Holmes. Atlanta will have to contend with his size and physicality down low in this game.
When and Where
Location: Cox Pavilion, Las Vegas, NV
Start Time: Approx. 10:30 PM ET / 7:30 PM PT
TV: NBA TV
Streaming: WatchESPN / ESPN app