July 5, 2016
By Matt Winkeljohn | The Good Word
– Marcus Georges-Hunt found time for rest and relaxation on July 4, but just a little because while it was a holiday for many, it was moving day for Georgia Tech’s former swingman – again.
He traveled on Monday to Las Vegas to play in one of the NBA’s three summer leagues as a member of the Brooklyn Nets from July 8-18. Much of the Vegas tournament, which guarantees all 24 teams at least three games, will be televised on ESPN’s platforms and on NBA TV.
Shortly after Georges-Hunt went unselected in the two-round NBA draft on June 23, he signed a free agent deal with the Nets. Following several days training in Brooklyn with other rookies and young players, “learning terminology, plays and things like that,” he returned to Atlanta June 30 for a few days.
Then, he hit the road once more in search of a full-time job as a professional basketball player. By going unchosen after working out last month for several NBA teams, the 6-foot-5 wing player found himself with a choice.
“It wasn’t a big deal [going undrafted]. They called immediately afterward,” Georges-Hunt said of the Nets. “There were a couple other teams, too, but I felt like this was the best decision for me. I’m good with it. I was at Taco Mac in Midtown during the draft, having dinner with family, friends … just eating.”
The Nets struggled last season, and with former Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson now a first-time head coach, they’re looking to rebuild.
Versatility is more valued than ever in the NBA, and Georges-Hunt brings plenty. He spent most of his time as a Yellow Jacket playing small forward and shooting guard, yet his tour as Tech’s point guard over the second half of his final ACC season showcased additional ball-handling skills and defensive flexibility.
“They said [I will play] both [shooting guard and small forward. They like] the way I compete, my strength, defense and aggressiveness … for the most part, the way I attack,” he said.
“Being at point showed a lot of teams that I can handle the ball, can play multiple positions … even [power forward] if a[n opponent] goes small. With the Hawks and Spurs’ style of play, they’re going to be about getting stops and sharing the ball.”
There is more room on the Nets’ roster than normal as Brooklyn parted ways with two former Yellow Jackets. Forward Thaddeus Young was traded late last month to the Pacers, and the Nets released guard Jarrett Jack.
Jack’s departure might benefit Georges-Hunt’s chances. Truth be told, the Las Vegas summer league in UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center and the Cox Pavilion is mostly about seasoning draft choices and providing undrafted players opportunities to earn return trips to their teams’ training camp next fall.
Some players will participate with modest NBA experience already under their belts, and in addition to rookies there will be players who have played professionally overseas and in the NBA’s Developmental League.
The Nets will play round-robin games against the Cavs (July 9), Hawks (July 11) and Wizards (July 12) before playoff action, and he’s familiar with former Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell, another undrafted rookie, and first-year veteran forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Georges-Hunt has had a pep talk of sorts from his former Tech coach Brian Gregory, and he’ll know a few teammates. He’s already learned some NBA ways as well.
“It’s a lot more spacing for sure. The terminology is different,” he said. “The plays are somewhat similar to college. You really have to have a good change of pace. You have to be able to change your direction.
“BG was very positive. He just said to go in there and compete, give it all you’ve got. That’s my plan.”