By Drew Packham, NBA.com
LAS VEGAS — Atlanta coach Larry Drew calls John Jenkins a “coach’s dream.”
Based on the rookie’s NBA debut Friday, it’s easy to see why.
Jenkins, the Hawks’ first-round pick (23rd overall), scored 19 points to help the Hawks to a 102-82 rout of the Wizards in the first game of Summer League action in Las Vegas.
“I felt really good,” Jenkins said. “I’ve been working my whole life for this, and to be out there felt really good. It was very exciting.”
Jenkins, who led the SEC in scoring two straight seasons at Vanderbilt before leaving after his junior season, was 4-for-7 from three-point land (7-for-13 overall), showing off a quick release that left Drew raving.
“When he comes off that screen, all he needs is a little room to get it off,” Drew said. “He can get it off with the best of them.”
The Hawks have seen a lot of movement in their backcourt this offseason, which could open up playing time for the 6-foot-4 shooter. They shipped Joe Johnson to Brooklyn and acquired point guard Devin Harris (from Utah for Marvin Williams) and free agent guard Lou Williams from the Sixers. How Jenkins fits in is yet to be seen, but Drew likes Jenkins’ chances of making the rotation.
“We’re still working free agency, but I know this guy really wants it and is going to work hard,” Drew said. “We’re excited about him, because I know he really wants it and will do what it takes.”
Jenkins was matched up with No. 3 pick Bradley Beal — who finished with 22 points in his debut — much of the game, and says he’s just focused on improving (especially on defense) with each game in Las Vegas.
“My offensive game speaks for itself,” Jenkins said. “I’m gonna get big minutes playing defense. There’s a lot of scorers in this league, so if I can do both, I’ll be in good shape.”