With Dennis Schröder now starting, one would think the Hawks bench would be weaker, but that is not the case. Tim Hardaway is improving, Thabo Sefalosha and Mike Scott will continue to give good minutes, Kris Humphries re-signed, and Jarrett Jack is a new addition from free agency. The Hawks also drafted Taurean Prince and Deandre Bembry, key pieces in the team’s future and the bench this year.
This week: Jarrett Jack, Thabo Sefalosha, Mike Scott, Taurean Prince, Deandre Bembry.
Jarrett Jack, PG:
Jarrett Jack has been a consistent point guard in the NBA for many seasons. His biggest claims to fame in Atlanta are his final four run with Georgia Tech, and when he lit the Hawks up in the first round of the 2014/15 playoffs. Nonetheless, Jack is back in Atlanta after a quick 11-year vacation. With a young point guard like Schröder starting it is an invaluable luxury to have a steady, consistent veteran to back him up, give him mentorship and playing more minutes when he’s struggling. Jack is not the type of player to put up big numbers but he’s always shot a high percentage and can come in the game and settle down the team.
Thabo Sefolosha, SF:
Another veteran coming off the bench, Thabo Sefolosha has become a big part of this Hawks system. Thabo has seen his numbers decline since joining the Hawks, but last year he posted the best field goal % of his career and his highest PPG since 2013. Sefalosha has always been known for his defense and he was a major contributor to Atlanta’s #1 defense in the 2015/16 seasons. Now that he’s 32 and the Hawks have added forwards Deandre Bembry and Taurean Prince, expect Sefolosha’s productivity to be lower.
Mike Scott, PF:
Mike Scott has been with the Hawks for three years now and was a key contributor to the incredible 2014-2015 60-win season. In fact, for the first few weeks of the season he was unbelievable, leading the league in field goal percentage. But even though he cooled off he still had a great season. Last year his scoring declined, but his three-point percentage went up, a great sign for one of the Hawks streakiest players. If he can hit the three on a more consistent basis, he will see more minutes off the bench.
Taurean Prince, SF:
Lets get this out of the way first; trading Jeff Teague was a good thing for the team and for Teague. Schröder has far more upside and, at only 23, may already be better than Teague. The trade resulted in us acquiring the Jazz’s 1st round pick, which turned into Taurean Prince. Plenty of fans were mad about this pick, but there is simply no good reason to be. Prince is a very well rounded player who can shoot, dunk, and really knows how to rebound (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atr60tR7Emo ). Demarre Carroll was a big contributor to the Hawks 60 win season and everyone was sad to see him go, but now we have a new player who reminds many of Carroll. His all-around ability and hustle on both ends of the court will be a great contribution off the bench. And don’t forget, Prince is still only a rookie and far ahead of where Carroll was at this point in his career. The future looks bright for Taurean Prince!
Deandre Bembry, SF:
There’s a good chance Bembry was the steal of the draft. As the 21st overall pick just a few months ago, he was a great selection. He lead his St. Joseph’s team past Cincy in the first round of March Madness then came dangerously close to upsetting #1 seeded Oregon. Bembry is possibly an even better all-around player than Prince, averaging higher in just about every category. He is a “true swiss army knife” of a player: very athletic, strong, can finish through contact and is a more than adequate shooter. There has not been much hype around Bembry because he’s not too flashy and was often overlooked in college; in other words, the perfect Hawks player. It will be really fun for Hawks fans to see these two young players develop into true NBA talents.
With solid new additions and good familiar faces the bench should improve its scoring for the third straight year. If the rookies perform well, this could be one of the best benches in the NBA. They both showed great potential in the summer league. Jarrett Jack will also be a key piece on the bench to back up a sometimes-inconsistent Dennis Schröder.
Featured Image: ESPN