Atlanta Hawks Miss Kevin Huerter Terribly in Preseason

Kevin Huerter #3 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin Huerter #3 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

A quick look at just how impactful Kevin Huerter was to the Atlanta Hawks last season and explaining why the team has suffered without him in the preseason.

Kevin Huerter was perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the Atlanta Hawks season in 2018-19 after being drafted at #19 overall in the 2018 NBA draft.

Huerter quickly rose to cult status among Hawks fans, and the team desperately needed a player that could provide that archetypal three-and-D, glue guy role that so many teams rely on. The Hawks are no different, and Huerter became one of the team’s go-to players down the end of the season as injuries piled up and young players were given ample playing time.

While it took a while for Huerter to truly get comfortable in the NBA (much like his teammate Trae Young), once he did, he was one of the most reliable and important members of the Atlanta Hawks squad.

A quick glance at his advanced metrics provide an accurate representation of his importance to the team. Per BBall Index, Huerter’s Offensive On/Off Rating per 100 possesions of +5.3 was higher than a boatload of All-Stars and superstars. For example, Huerter’s +5.3 O-On/Off was higher than that of Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Paul Millsap, Blake Griffin, Draymond Green, Lou Williams and even the MVP – Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Beyond that, Huerter’s overall NET rating per BBall Index was Top-50 in the NBA and ahead of All-Stars such as Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton as well as soon-to-be All-Stars such as Devin Booker, De’Aaron Fox and Donovan Mitchell.

Though Huerter only barely squeaked into the All-Rookie Second Team, it is clear that his impact is far greater than what simple counting stats can convey.

In that vein, Huerter has missed all of the Hawks’ preseason games so far due to right knee pain, and the team is being extremely careful about Red Velvet’s health. As you can see, he is one of the most important players on the team, so that’s the right move.

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The Atlanta Hawks have one more preseason game before the regular season, and if they get blown out again, remember that 1) these games don’t matter and 2) they are without their swiss-army-knife sophomore: Kevin Huerter.