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Badger Bits: Taylor chooses Atlanta, not Milwaukee, for Summer League

Former Wisconsin point guard Jordan Taylor hopes to impress NBA executives early on during the Atlanta Hawks' Summer League.
Former Wisconsin point guard Jordan Taylor hopes to impress NBA executives early on during the Atlanta Hawks' Summer League.

Former Wisconsin point guard Jordan Taylor went undrafted in Thursday night's NBA Draft, but on Monday Taylor accepted an invitation to participate in the Atlanta Hawks' Summer League. Taylor seriously considered a similar offer from the Milwaukee Bucks but ultimately turned it down when Atlanta approached him because the Hawks' camp begins three days earlier, and Taylor hopes to make good impressions as soon as possible.

"It didn't really make a huge deal where you go play Summer League," Taylor said. "You're a free agent and if a team is going to like you, then they can still pick you up. I guess it doesn't matter a ton."

It's smart for Taylor to keep an open mind, to be willing to play for anyone, but you have to believe he chose the Atlanta Hawks for more than just the July 13 early summer league debut. How much will starting three days in advance actually help? I have to believe NBA executives will evaluate the entirety of each player's performance and could care less when they begin participating in the Summer League.

Taylor will need to play exceptional to make any NBA squad, but it'd seem logical to assume his best opportunity would be in Atlanta. This is not only because he's playing with Atlanta's summer league team, but the Hawks are currently depleted at the guard position.

Atlanta already lost point guards Kirk Hinrich and Jannero Pargo as unrestricted free agents before trading away star shooting guard Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. At the time Taylor accepted the Hawks' offer — before the Johnson trade — the Hawks only guard under contract was starting point guard Jeff Teague. Obviously Taylor would have known the Hawks would continue to pursue moves to bolster their backcourt, but he probably recognized the lack of depth would allow him a better opportunity at a roster spot than in Milwaukee, where experienced point guards Brandon Jennings and Beno Udrih play.

The Johnson trade quickly changed the guard position for Atlanta, as they added point guard Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson. That leaves the Hawks solidified at the point with Teague and Farmar, who's been a rotational player throughout his career and brings an expiring contract. Even with two point guards on the roster, Taylor could make the team as a third point guard used on rare occasions and in case of injury with a strong Summer League showing . It's hard to say exactly why Taylor chose Atlanta over Milwaukee — I'm not buying it's just because of when the games begin — but I think the Hawks' current guard situation gave him the most hope for an NBA future.

Update: How quickly things change in the world of sports. Since I wrote about the Hawks' current guard situation, they have reportedly acquired point guard Devin Harris from Utah in exchange for Marvin Williams. If this trade and the one sending Joe Johnson to Brooklyn both stand, Atlanta would have three point guards on its roster. Rumors also exist that Atlanta will buyout Jordan Farmar's contract after the trade, which would yet again leave the Hawks with two point guards. It will be interesting to see if these trades go through because they will certainly affect Jordan Taylor's chances of making the team.

Tuesday's Links:

The Wisconsin athletic department is making an effort to increase the Badgers' non-conference strength of schedule. Barry Alvarez already targeted Notre Dame and now defending national champion, Alabama, unfortunately declined head coach Bret Bielema's offer for a home-and-home series. Adam Rittenberg is glad to see Alvarez's newly aggressive approach to non-conference scheduling.

They may not have played together Wisconsin, but Jordan Taylor and Brian Butch will be teammates during the Atlanta Hawks' Summer League, according to Patrick Herb.

Former Badger Ryan Suter is the top NHL free agent blueliner, but still hasn't decided where he'll cash in on a huge contract.

And what inspired the new look for Northwestern's new football uniforms?