The 2019 NBA Summer League will take place from July 5th through the 15th, featuring all 30 teams, as well as the Croatian and Chinese national teams. The Atlanta Hawks have released their schedule for four preliminary games, which will start on the 6th.
- Milwaukee vs. Atlanta, July 6th, 5 PM E.T.
- Atlanta vs. Minnesota, July 7th, 5:30 PM E.T.
- Indiana vs. Atlanta, July 9th, 5:30 PM E.T.
- Washington vs. Atlanta, July 11th, 6:30 PM E.T.
After four preliminary games, the Hawks will either play in an eight-team playoff tournament or a single consolation game, depending on their seeding. Atlanta should have De’Andre Hunter, the #4 pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, but his arrival will be delayed. The Pelicans and Lakers won’t complete the Anthony Davis trade — which includes Hunter’s draft rights — until July 6th.
In addition to Hunter, the Hawks are expected to roster Omari Spellman, Jaylen Adams and Bruno Fernando, among others. Cam Reddish, the #10 pick, will not play as he recovers from a core muscle surgery.
While the Hawks won’t face any top-5 picks in the preliminary stage, there are still intriguing matchups on the docket. If Minnesota and Phoenix complete their proposed trade when the moratorium ends on July 6th, there’s a chance Jarrett Culver suits up on the 7th. That could mean a battle of top-6 picks in Hunter and Culver.
Indiana will present a challenge for Fernando. The Pacers drafted Goga Bitadze, one of the most polished and accomplished youngsters in Europe. He brings experience, physicality and skill to the table — something Fernando’s hulking 6-foot-10 frame will have to deal with.
Against Washington, the Hawks will face Rui Hachimura, the reigning #9 overall pick. Even though I consider that a significant reach — Hachimura was 27th on my personal board — he brings an intriguing skill set to the table, as well as NBA physical tools. He’s a home-run swing for a Washington team in desperate need of a reboot.
Hunter, barring an extended absence beyond the 6th, will be tasked with guarding Hachimura, Culver and other top-tier forwards. The abundance of draft-day trades will skew the timing of some prospects’ debuts this summer, but nonetheless, expect Atlanta to partake in several intriguing games.
What to watch for…
The absence of Reddish is a slight disappointment, largely due to his lack of production in college. He struggled to find a consistent role at Duke and was often operating in the shadows of Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett.
Reddish shot below 40% on 2-point field goals at Duke and didn’t have many opportunities to act as a facilitator. Seeing him in a different light against high-level competition could have given us a clearer sense of where he stands heading into his rookie season.
The Hawks will, however, get to experiment with different frontcourt configurations. Fernando and Spellman can both spend time at center, depending on the matchup. Fernando is a more traditional force in the post, while Spellman as the mobility, 3-point shooting and explosiveness to operate in small-ball rotations.
Hunter can fit into both configurations, whether he’s playing up a position at small forward or running at power forward. Virginia is a slow, methodical offensive team, so it will be important to analyze his fit in the Hawks’ more up-tempo system.
Atlanta has also added Matt Mooney, a 24-year-old guard who played four collegiate seasons in a six-year span. He ended his amateur career at Texas Tech, where he played an integral role in the Red Raiders’ NCAA Tournament run.
The Hawks will also unveil Charlie Brown, the recent two-way contract recipient who established himself as a highly productive wing at St. Joseph’s. He shot 37% from deep over the course of two seasons.
Expect the roster to fill out in the coming days as Atlanta prepares for Vegas. The team will hold practices in Vegas before the games begin, allowing new teammates to familiarize themselves with one another. As the Hawks’ rebuild continues to progress, Summer League will offer a first glimpse of the team’s newest talent — as well as potential growth for those on the team last season.