The Atlanta Hawks have a full training camp roster, and their regular season roster appears set as well. The big question facing the Hawks' brass seems to be who will win the 15th and final spot on the Hawks opening day roster?
Atlanta had a pretty eventful offseason, as they lost two starters and acquired a perennial All-Star in Dwight Howard. The Hawks also added veteran Kris Humphries and three rookies.
Atlanta will open training camp on Monday with 16 players holding fully guaranteed contracts or with a substantial portion of their pacts guaranteed according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The last roster spot is expected to come down to either Mike Muscala or Walter "Edy" Taveres.
Muscala likely has the edge due to his versatility and his experience. The 25-year-old appeared in a career-high 60 games last year, where he averaged 3.3 points and 2.0 caroms in 9.4 minutes a game. Muscala shot 50.0 percent from the field, as he made 76-of-his-152 shots, and 30.9 percent (12-of-39) from beyond three-point arc.
Muscala was extremely effective around the rim in 2015-16, converting 66.7 (45-of-67) percent of those attempts. The 6-foot-11 forward-center also is very good in pick-pop situations from mid-range. In addition, he provides decent rim-protection as he has ability to block a few shots, though he does need to improve his work on the glass.
Muscala is in his last year of his deal after having his $1.015 million team option -- $507,848 of that money being guaranteed -- picked up earlier this summer. The 2013 second round draft pick has played in 120 games over his three-year NBA career, producing 3.9 points and 2.4 boards while shooting 50.5 percent from the field.
Tavares, a second round draft pick of the Hawks in 2014, made his NBA debut last season. The 24-year-old appeared in 11 games for Atlanta while shuffling between the Hawks and the D-League. He averaged 2.3 points and 1.9 rebounds over 6.6 minutes of action while in Atlanta.Tavares is a monstrous seven-foot-three, 265-pound center who is a tremendous shot-blocker that is coming off a solid summer league campaign, In six Las Vegas Summer League contests, Tavares totaled one double-double and had three double-digit scoring efforts. He finished the nearly two-week long event, averaging 9.0 points along with 7.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks.
"He definitely has come a long way in just one year," Hawks' assistant coach Taylor Jenkins told the Atlanta Journal Constitution about Tavares' development over the summer.
"Getting our hands on him at the beginning of last year and working on his body and getting him up to speed on what the NBA game is all about. I think his running habits have gotten a lot better, his activity on defense for a guy his size and what he is able to do in pick-and-roll, move his feet better, using his hands, changing shots at the rim. There is obviously stuff that he can clean up, but definitely encouraged."Taveres' biggest weaknesses are poor hands, not being able shoot free throws, and possessing no shooting range. He is slated to make $1 million this upcoming season.
The 14 players that are expected to be locks to make the team include: Howard, Paul Millsap, Kent Bazemore, Tiago Splitter, Kyle Korver, Humphries, Thabo Sefolosha, Mike Scott, Dennis Schroder, Malcolm Delany, Taureen Prince, Tim Hardaway Jr., and DeAndre Bembry,
Matt Costello, Ryan Kelly, Richard Solomon and Will Bynum round out the Hawks' training camp roster, and all have non-guaranteed contracts. Costello is the only one of the four with a partial guarantee worth $50,000 per Basketball Insiders.
Of the four players with mainly non-guaranteed deals, Bynum has the most experience. Still, he will have a hard time making the team as Schroder, Delany, and Jack are ahead of him on the depth chart at point guard. The 32-year-old, eight-year NBA vet spent the last season in China.
Kelly has spent the the previous three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 25-year-old averaged 4.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 36 games a season ago. Costello and Solomon are candidates to be assigned to the D-League as an Hawks' affiliate player.
In other news, Splitter is expected to be ready to go full board when training camp opens while Jack will reportedly need some more time to recover. Splitter was plagued by injury in his first season with the Hawks after being acquired from the Spurs. The center's season was eventually cut short in February after just 36 appearances. In the meantime, Jack played in 32 games for the Brooklyn Nets before tearing his ACL in his right knee.
Millsap also will miss some time during training camp according to the team's website.[Primary Image by David Zalubowski/ AP Photo]