NASHVILLE TN - FEBRUARY 12: John Jenkins #23 of the Vanderbilt Commodores reacts after making a three-point basket against the Kentucky Wildcats at Memorial Gym on February 12 2011 in Nashville Tennessee. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
The Atlanta Hawks begin play in the 2012 Vegas Summer League on Friday with a roster full of players that are hoping to latch on to an NBA team next season.
Atlanta will open play in the 2012 Vegas Summer League on Friday at 4 p.m. ET against the Washington Wizards. A few weeks ago their appeared to be ample opportunity for players with the Hawks before the trade of Joe Johnson helped fill out the roster. That no doubt weighed in the decisions of several prospects to go with other teams but the Hawks still have a nice collection of talent that should be interesting to watch in Vegas.
First-round pick John Jenkins and Jordan Williams are both under contract for the upcoming season but will be seeing their first action in a Hawks uniform. Second round pick Mike Scott will also be given ample opportunity to shine.
Former second round picks Pape Sy and Keith Benson have the advantage of having been through training camp with the club and have a familiarity with the coaching staff but you can't exactly sleep on players like Jeremy Hazell and other experienced players like Derrick Caracter and Elijah Milsap.
The next step for many of these players is to try and get noticed while in Vegas and hopefully grab an invite to training came either with the Hawks or some other club for next season.
Here is a complete look at the Hawks current summer league roster:
Keith Benson - F/C - 6-foot-11, 230
Selected in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks before being cut in training camp. Benson eventually found his way to the D-League where he played 20 games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce where he averaged 15.2 points and 7.8 rebounds. He earned a 10-day contract with the Golden State Warriors with whom he appeared in three games.
Last season's lockout robbed Benson of the opportunity to play in summer league and probably hurt his chances of sticking with the team. Reports from last year's training camp indicate that he needs to improve on his aggressiveness if he hopes to stick on an NBA roster anytime soon.
Derrick Caracter - F - 6-foot-9, 275
Drafted in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Caracter was waived by the Lakers in February of 2012 after appearing in 41 games during the 2011 season. He averaged 11.5 points and 6.4 rebounds in 16 career games at the D-League level.
Caracter has always been a talented guy but struggled with some conditioning issues that have held him back. He reportedly has gotten serious since being cut from the Lakers and is now intent on working his way back to the NBA.
Paul Carter - F - 6-foot-8, 200
Carter played 34 games with the Idaho Stampede in 2012 and averaged 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He began his college career with Minnesota and finished with Illinois (Chicago) after transferring due to his sister's illness. He averaged 14.7 points and eight rebounds a game during his final season at UIC and was named to the Horizon League's All-Newcomer Team.
Frank Hassell - F - 6-foot-9, 261
Hassell was a four year player at Old Dominion where he averaged 15.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game as a senior. He helped lead ODU to two straight CAA titles and two trips to the NCAA Tournament. He was in training camp with the Spurs after the lockout and later played 39 games with the Canton Charge of the D-League where he averaged 10.6 points and 6.9 rebounds.
Jeremy Hazell - G - 6-foot-5, 185
Hazell was an elite scorer in college at Seton Hall where he topped 20 points per game both as a sophomore and a junior. He had his senior season cut short after being shot in a robbery attempt and played in just 18 games during the 2010-11 season while averaging 19.8 points per game.
Hazell went to training camp with the Phoenix Suns and also participated in the Hawks rookie camp before the lockout. From there he went to Spain where he played just six games and also appeared in the D-League for nine games with Bakersfield.
Delroy James - F - 6-foot-7, 227
Four-year player from the University of Rhode Island where he averaged 17.5 points and 7.9 rebounds as a senior. After a decent showing at the Portsmouth Invitational he headed to Italy for 10 games before returning to play in the D-League with Tulsa. While in Tulsa James appeared in 26 games and finished with averages of 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds.
John Jenkins - G - 6-foot-4, 212
Atlanta's first-round selection in the 2012 NBA Draft and a former three-year star at Vanderbilt. Jenkins averaged 19.9 points as a junior and helped lead the Commodores to an upset win over eventual national champ Kentucky in the 2012 SEC Tournament. Jenkins possesses elite range on his jump shot but must answer questions about his athleticism and specifically whether he can defend at the NBA level.
Elijah Milsap - F - 6-foot-6, 210
Milsap is the brother of Utah forward Paul Milsap and began his college career at Louisiana Lafayette. He finished up at UAB in 2010 where he averaged 16.1 points and 9.5 rebounds for the Blazers. He has had two stints in the D-League playing in 54 games for Tulsa during the 2011 season and finishing with averages of 15.6 points and 5.4 rebounds. In 2012 he played 48 games for the L.A. Defenders scoring 20 points per game to go along with 6.4 rebounds.
Mike Scott - F - 6-foot-9, 241
Atlanta's second round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft who completed a solid career at Virginia by averaging 18 points and 8.3 rebounds per game as a senior. Scott has a solid game facing the basket and uses his strength well to get into position while in the post or battling on the boards. He has a good chance to stick with the Hawks but also needs a solid showing in Vegas to build momentum going to training camp. He needs only to look at Pape Sy and Keith Benson for motivation as to what can happen with second round picks by the Hawks.
John Shurna - F - 6-10, 212
Four-year player at Northwestern where he averaged 20 points and 5.4 rebounds as a senior. Flirted with the NBA draft in 2011 but opted to return for his senior season. Possesses a nice shot which the Hawks always seem to be looking for but does he have the strength to mix it up in the pros?
Jerry Smith - G - 6-foot-2, 190
Former four-year player at Louisville who spent the last two seasons in the D-League playing for the Springfield Armor. Smith played 45 games over the last two seasons with the armor and has career averages in the D-League of 15.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Smith earned a call up to the New Jersey Nets in 2012 and played in five games.
Pape Sy - G/F - 6-foot-6, 205
Second-round pick of the Hawks in 2010 who impressed the club after paying his way to workouts with the team. Went to summer league with the club in 2010 and was assigned to the Utah Flash for 23 games that season. Sy appeared in three games for the Hawks in 2011 but was cut at the end of training camp in 2012. From there he returned to France where he played for Gravelines and averaged 8.8 points in 25 games. Reports indicate that he has added weight and strength and is probably heavier now than his listed weight of 205. After previously looking at him as a point guard the Hawks now view him as a wing player that could split time between the shooting guard and small forward positions.
Jordan Taylor - G - 6-foot-2, 193
Four-year player out of Wisconsin who averaged 14. 8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists as a senior. Taylor saw his averages drop across the board from his junior season where he averaged 18.1 points and 4.7 assists.
Brad Wanamaker - G - 6-foot-4, 208
Went to training camp with the Hawks following the lockout but was cut at the end of camp. Also played in the Italian league and in the D-League for Austin during the 2012 season. Danny Ferry is likely familiar with him from his time with the Toros. He was a four year player out of Pittsburgh who averaged 11.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists as a senior in 2011.
Jordan Williams - F/C - 6-foot-9, 247
Acquired from the Brooklyn Nets as part of the Joe Johnson trade and is expected to be added to the summer league roster at some point. Was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Nets after a two-year stay at Maryland. Williams averaged 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds in his final year with the Terps. The Nets assigned him for a six-game stint in the D-League at Springfield where he averaged 10.8 points and 7.8 boards in 2012. He also appeared in 43 games for the Nets averaging 14.8 minutes a night. Will be one of the most experienced players on the Hawks roster.