Two of the nation’s most productive college players are off to solid Summer League starts.
Jock Landale and Jaylen Adams didn’t hear their names called on draft night, but were both picked up as undrafted free agents by the Atlanta Hawks — a team that had already made plenty of noise that evening. With Trae Young headlining the roster, the Saint Mary’s center and St. Bonaventure guard have quietly made an impression.
For one, Landale is getting play time. While it was a given that the AP All-American would wind up on a Summer League roster, it wasn’t a certainty a team would spend its limited minutes finding out what it had in a player whose game is currently out of style. Yet Landale has averaged 19.5 minutes over the first two games, essentially acting as the third big man behind John Collins (an established, high-upside player) and Omari Spellman (a first round pick).
He hasn’t disappointed on the glass, with the third-best rebounding average (8.5 RPG) across both the Utah and Sacramento sites. Excitement around that should probably be tempered since Grayson Allen and De’Aaron are hovering around the top of leaderboard as well. That said, Landale’s offensive and defensive rebounding metrics were among the best in the country the past two years, so a skill is a skill.
Landale’s efficient offense hasn’t translated to this point (5.5 PPG, 39.3 FG%), but he is apparently trying his best to fit into the modern NBA. After attempting just 29 career three’s in college — and just 10 total in 2017-18 — he’s let it fly three times over the first two games (sinking one of those).
The smart money is still on Landale becoming an uber-productive European player that pops onto national radar every few years as part of a good Australian national team. Yet maybe there is a G-League spot yet for Landale, especially if a team sees potential in that three-point form.
Adams, for his part, has validated the Hawks’ faith in him in glimpses. The former Bonnies’ star was signed to a two-way contract, and Ridiculous Upside highlighted his credentials in calling him one of the most entertaining two-ways prospects in 2018-19.
From the moment that you look at Adams’ college production, it quickly becomes clear why the Hawks decided to give him that two-way contract. As a member of St. Bonaventure, Adams excelled as one of the mid-major’s best offensive forces as put up 19.1 points, 5.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals on 44% from the field and 44% from beyond the arc on 6.1 perimeter attempts per game. By putting up those great numbers while maintaining a 61% True Shooting Percentage, the Atlantic 10 had no choice but to name Adams as their Player of the Year for the 2017-18 season.
His well-rounded offensive game as showed up thus far. In limited action — due to the bulk of minutes and ball-handling opportunities going to Young and Tyler Dorsey — Adams has scored 17 points, gone four-for-nine from three and posted a five-to-one assist/turnover ratio.
And as he did so often at St. Bonaventure, Adams has simply had a knack for making plays.
It could be that the reigning A-10 Player of the Year finds himself with regular season minutes at some point with the Hawks in a full-blown rebuild. He certainly has looked the part thus far.