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Hawks hosting pre-lockout mini-camp for draftees, free agents

Jun 28, 2011, 1:19 PM EDT

Keith Benson, Alexis Wangmene AP

Summer is usually the time teams get a long up close look at the guys they drafted and some free agents they may want to fill out the roster. There is Summer League and team workouts and some time to really evaluate guys.

Not this summer. This summer is all about the lockout.

So the Atlanta Hawks have decided to cram in a little mini-camp before they lock everyone out, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The Hawks are squeezing in a three-day minicamp for draft pick Keith Benson plus 17 free agents who weren’t under NBA contract at the end of last season. There’s a real sense of something at stake for the players, too, since the team has up to eight open roster spots next season.

“They are just showcasing their talents and trying to make a ball club,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said after the morning session on Monday. “I told them this is a great opportunity.”

Two of the guys PBT mentioned in our “six good players who went undrafted” story are there: Ohio State’s David Lightly and Pitt’s Brad Wanamaker.

Smart move by the Hawks. If the lockout drags on and training camps are reduced, a lot of these guys are not going to get the full chance to really show they belong that they would have otherwise.

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