The Atlanta Hawks started their first of five preseason games by sending their fans home happy and excited for the future with a 116-102 win over the New Orleans Pelicans in the McCamish Pavilion. DeAndre Bembry did what he needs to do to stay in Travis Schlenk’s good graces by leading the Hawks with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists. What’s even better, he was efficient with his scoring shooting 7-14 from the field and hitting 5-7 from the free throw line. Josh Collins had 18 points and Trae Young finished with 11 points and eight assists.
Here are three lessons that can be taken from last night’s victory…
Lesson number one...Trae Young has to find that jumper on a consistent basis.
Trae Young scored 11 points, but it was on 5-16 shooting. That’s less than 33 percent folks. That’s not going to cut it. Couple that with the fact that he missed ten of his first eleven shots is going to get this offense in trouble. When Young is not hitting shots, defenses are going to be able to take advantage here. Opponents are just going to pack the paint and go under screens and force Young to shoot the jumper. This will go on until he shows that his jumper is reliable. The Hawks scoring rate of 87.8 points per 100 possessions in the first half is close to Georgia Tech like instead of a NBA rate. Young did however, do a very good job not letting it affect his entire floor game by dishing out numerous assists in the first half. For the first preseason game, Young set the pace for the offense and provided energy that added momentum for the blowout in the third quarter.
Basically the Trae Young, you saw in the summer leagues is what you got in the first preseason game. Floor game solid, but an wildly inconsistent shot. He’ll get a pass for a while but the NBA is unforgiving, this will catch up with him.
Lesson number two...DeAndre Bembry wants a spot in the rotation!
Bembry gets the game ball hands down. I know John Collins brought the house down, but Bembry showed me something in the first preseason game. Bembry knocked down his first five shots without leaving the realm of the Hawks offense. The most important sight for Bembry is that he has the ability to create his own offense without affecting the efficiency of the offense.
As you can see in the first video, Bembry caught the ball on the wing and read that the defender was rushing out to defend. Realizing that he was out of control, Bembry attacked him with the dribble and crossed him over and he finished strong at the basket. He did not go to to the basket worrying about the shot-blocker (that being Anthony Davis), he kept his focus and finished the play. A lot of NBA players have handle to get to the basket, some cannot finish. That was nice to see.
Okay, let’s call the second video what it is… a fortunate shot. But you can see that Bembry again is being aggressive in looking for his offense and again, he is creating his own shot. Plus he is showing that he is strong enough to accept the contact and draw the foul and get the potential and one.
What you see here with Bembry in this highlight is his ability to move without the ball. Jeremy Lin was probing the defense with the dribble. Did Bembry stand around and watch? No. He cut from the left wing and went straight to the basket and accepted the pass from Lin for the easy lay-up. This is what Bembry is going to have to do to get time on the floor in Atlanta. Is he going to shoot like this most nights? No. But he can affect the offense with his cutting and ability to attack the basket.
Lesson number three...There will be highlights! Will State Farm Arena be the Highlight Factory?
We here at HawksHoop tried to find out if there was gum on John Collins’ shoe when he dunked on Julius Randle. We haven’t heard back as of this writing.
Collins is going to be a star in this league if he continues to work hard on his game and improves. He is playing right now with so much confidence. Collins dropped eight of the first 12 points in the first quarter to set the tone with energy and pace. 18 points in 20 minutes is quite impressive.
Three rebounds in 20 minutes is ridiculous. You know what they call a power forward that gets three rebounds?
A small forward.
With all that athleticism, John Collins can get that many rebounds lacing his shoes. Have to do better than that if you are John Collins.
Here’s the three lessons I learned...NOW learn from this!
Here’s to Thomas Robinson trying to making the squad. He has been a journeyman his entire career and I for one hope he can make the team. Robinson scored eight points and grabbed two rebounds. This dude played very hard and maybe he can stick on the roster. The former lottery pick out of Kansas has bounced around the NBA and maybe this is the situation he can use to further his career. I think Thomas Robinson can help this team. Hopefully Lloyd Pierce and Travis Schlenk agrees.
The Hawks go on the road to play the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday!