Atlanta Hawks Likely Turning to Large Rotation Again in 19-20

Head Coach Lloyd Pierce of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Head Coach Lloyd Pierce of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As the 2019 Atlanta Hawks roster takes to fill up and take shape, it’s become apparent that the 12-man rotation isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce used large rotations frequently last year, running 10+ guys nearly every game last year. Like it or not, you can understand why he did so, easing in the young faces with just enough minutes to shine while avoiding over-working them

This year won’t change that, but for a different reason: the roster is chock-full of playable NBA players.

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After the re-signing of Vince Carter the Atlanta Hawks employ 14 players likely to be vying for minutes.

They range from veteran off season acquisitions (Chandler Parsons, Allen Crabbe, Jabari Parker, Damian Jones, Evan Turner) to the trio of rookies (De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Bruno Fernando) to the returning faces in Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter, Carter, Alex Len and DeAndre’ Bembry.

They also have Charlie Brown Jr and Brandon Goodwin on two-way deals. This list doesn’t include the Exhibit 10 deals the Atlanta Hawks have signed with players such as Armoni Brooks, Tahjere McCall and Ray Spalding.

This is quite the  jam of NBA-ready players, and if I had to guess who won’t be on the opening day 13, it would be 2nd rounder Bruno Fernando, who will likely start the season in College Park for the G-League.

So more out of necessity rather than choice, it’s very likely the 12/13-man rotation will be back.

There will be some flux to the veterans, likely getting a few DNPs every so often. Former Warrior Damian Jones would likely be the one on the end of the bench if he wasn’t one of two ‘true’ centers on the squad (assuming Fernando is in the G-League). He could be out of the rotation fairly quick though depending on how many minutes Jabari Parker and John Collins log at the 5.

Vince Carter will likely further transition into his role as essentially a player-coach, presumably getting less than the 17.5 minutes per game he got last year as a 42-year-old.

For the non-vets, it’ll be interesting to see how pro-ready Hunter and Reddish are as they ease into play early on this year.

All this is not to say a big rotation is a negative.

The Atlanta Hawks in all likelihood won’t be among the most talented teams in the NBA this year, but they have a chance to be among the deepest. Constantly rotating in fresh legs has a chance to not only keep opponents on their heels, but once again make the Atlanta Hawks the NBA’s fastest-paced team.

If a player is having a bad game, Pierce won’t have to keep him out there, hoping they’ll turn it around, he can turn to his counterpart on the bench to help.

Injuries – and, heaven forbid, suspensions – should be covered fairly easily, and the overall less minutes going around could help prevent injuries in the first place.

Whether or not this is a long-running coaching ploy of Lloyd Pierce is yet to be seen, but he has once again been given a full roster, and should be taking advantage of it in’19-’20.

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At any rate, the substitution table should be busy this year in State Farm Arena, and that might just be a good thing.