Atlanta Hawks 2014 NBA Summer League MVP: Dennis Schroder

By Bradley Sturgeon
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

What can Mike Budenholzer take away from the Atlanta Hawks‘ surprising performance in the 2014 NBA Summer League in Vegas? Dennis Schroder.

It is no secret that coach Budenholzer loves the three-ball, but in order for the three-bombers on the squad, such as Kyle Korver, to be more of an impact, they need to receive the ball more efficiently from the point. Jeff Teague was phenomenal this past season in driving through the lanes and up to the basket, but his assist numbers need to be higher considering he garnished less than an average of seven assists per game. The other glaring issue is the lack of production from the bench players throughout the 2013-14 season.

Any team is only as strong as its weakest link. Take a look at the San Antonio Spurs‘ — the 2014 NBA champions —  depth and consistency from the bench; guys like Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili jumping into the game and lighting up the arena with a plethora of threes. Atlanta has seen flickers of that type of potency from a few of its players in the 2014 Summer League. Schroder averaged over 15 points per game, and Adrian Payne was consistently picking up rebounds. If the Hawks are to be among the top five teams in the Eastern Conference, then these utility players need to provide a much greater spark off the bench. With Schroder developing  into a substantial factor behind Teague, the Hawks are looking to greatly improve upon lackluster stats from the past season. The return of a healthy Al Horford should take a little pressure off these guys as well.

Overall, it was a very successful Summer League for the Hawks in which they were able to upset the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, and take down the high-rising Portland Trail Blazers. The excitement is continually building around Atlanta for the potential in these young players, and for the direction of coach Budenholzer and staff.

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