Hawks view Antonius Cleveland as long-term prospect


Hawks rookie guard Antonius Cleveland is scheduled to be cleared for on-court activities early next week. The Hawks plan to sign him to a second 10-day contract when his current one expires and, if all goes well, eventually offer him a contract for next season. 

Following that plan the Hawks at minimum would get to work with Cleveland through the end of this season, at Summer League and at 2018-19 training camp. The Hawks signed Cleveland on Thursday.

“We view him as a long-term play,” Hawks general manager Travis Schnlenk said. “He’s got some upside. He’s got some work to do this summer.” 

Cleveland, 24, wasn’t selected in the NBA draft out of Southeast Missouri State. Cleveland played 13 games for the Mavericks this season on a “two-way” contract before suffering an ankle injury in December that required surgery. 

As a collegiate senior Cleveland played 1,086 minutes and scored 20.2 points per 40 minutes. His 58.0 effective field-goal percentage ranked 127th among eligible Division I players, according to Kenpom.com. and included 38.4 percent shooting (28-for-73) on 3-pointers. Cleveland  used 525 offensive possessions with 25.9 percent as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, according to Synergy Sports, so he’ll have to adjust to playing off the ball in the NBA. 

After going to 2017 Summer League with the Trail Blazers, Cleveland was cut by the Warriors following training camp and played just 81 minutes over 13 games for the Mavericks. In seven total games (185 minutes) in the G-League, Cleveland has an eFG% of 58.5, including 6 of 12 on 3-pointers. 

“I’ve got to get back to defending the way I know I’m capable of and also getting back to the things I did in college: knocking down shots and being a threat on the offensive end,” Cleveland said. 

Cleveland went to high school at Faith Baptist Christian Academy in Ludowici, near Savannah. He said he has family in metro Atlanta.


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