Atlanta Hawks rookie Sharife Cooper continued a strong run in the Las Vegas Summer League on Thursday and earned some high praise from a current NBA player in the process.
Cooper produced a team-high 21 points and 12 assists in 33 minutes during a 96-88 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in overtime. He shot 9-of-18 from the field and has now led the Hawks in scoring in two of their three games from Las Vegas.
After hitting the game-winning shot on Tuesday, Cooper converted a clutch layup attempt with just 7.9 seconds left to tie the game and force overtime. He scored 10 points alone in the final period to lead the Hawks down the stretch.
The play of Cooper in summer league has earned quite a bit of attention.
Cooper is averaging 17.7 points, nine assists and 1.3 rebounds through the Hawks’ first three games, ranking sixth in scoring among all first-year players.
He even earned a shoutout from Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.
Of course, falling to the Hawks at No. 48 was among the biggest surprises of the draft. He was most commonly projected to be a first-round pick, and some even had him going to the Hawks at No. 20.
Cooper, who was signed to a two-way contract, has certainly outplayed his draft position early in summer league. If he can continue that production into the season, he could be a prime candidate to earn a standard contract.
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