The Atlanta Hawks may not know exactly what to expect this season with all of the cosmetic changes in the Eastern Conference and NBA in general, but one thing they are just about sure of is the status of their two rookies Mike Scott and John Jenkins.
Neither player is making an early case for Rookie of the Year through preseason action, but both have impressed Hawks' head coach Larry Drew. They're expected to be contributors off the Atlanta bench this season, something no two Hawks rookies have been able to say dating back to 2007, when Al Horford and Acie Law made the team.
There were no Atlanta picks in 2008, and since then either just one or neither draftee has made the team.
So this is almost like new ground for the Hawks. Jenkins is a sharp shooter who led the SEC in scoring the past two seasons. While he's struggled to adjust to the NBA game so far, he admitted it's a good kind of adjustment to have to make.
Known as a prolific scorer in college, Jenkins had to become used to working around being double-teamed. Players are too good for that in the NBA, so he's had to adjust to being wide open on certain plays he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"I'm not used to having open shots. I had an open shot every time I touched the ball against the Spurs (his exhibition debut). That's way different for me. Adjusting to that has been a good adjustment rather than a bad one. In college, I was getting double-teamed so much. When I came out here, everybody is so good that you can't do that. There is a lot more space."
Drew thinks Jenkins might be thinking a little too much on the court, to where his reactive skills are suffering.
As for Scott, he was put in a situation to hit a clutch shot against the Spurs in his Oct. 10 debut. He sank a 3-pointer to tie the game with four seconds to go before the Spurs spoiled it with a buzzer-beater. The play Scott scored on was drawn similar to one from his college days.
But if one thing is for sure, this isn't college anymore, as Scott also explained to the AJC:
"It was probably one of the biggest shots I've ever taken, even though it was a preseason game. For him to call that play for me shows he has a lot of confidence in me at that time. If I make it, I make it as long as I don't shy away from it."