When De’Andre Hunter went off the court during the recent win by the Atlanta Hawks over the Washington Wizards, there was a chance that his knee could have been seriously damaged. He has missed a game this season due to knee soreness and that is something you cannot ignore.
Hunter is in his second season and has developed into one of the most exciting prospects in the league. His growth has been truly impressive to watch and if he continues to develop the way that he has, he is going to be the third cornerstone of the franchise.
However, if he has too many knee problems, Hunter’s ceiling is not going to be as high. I do not want to sound alarmist but a big part of Hunter’s game is his ability to move laterally on defense. Without this, he will be a smaller version of Blake Griffin this year, with some offense and almost zero defense which is due to the multiple surgeries he has had on his knees.
The Atlanta Hawks appear to be doing the right thing with De’Andre Hunter
As mentioned earlier, Hunter missed the game against the Detroit Pistons with knee soreness. Then, after just 12 minutes against the Wizards, he exited the game and the Hawks did not risk putting him back on the court.
The Hawks injury report specifically said right knee discomfort which shows that as soon as there was an issue the Hawks stopped him playing. Getting his knee right now will hopefully mean that he is going to be right for the playoffs.
Since the offseason, I have been high on the Hawks making playoffs and there is nothing that I have seen this season that makes me change my mind. They are above .500 with a 10-9 record even with the injuries they have had. The Hawks have a superstar point guard continuing to develop his game in Trae Young.
They also have one of the best pivots in the NBA today in Clint Capela, a power forward coming into his own in John Collins and an experienced bench. Without Hunter they will not make much noise in the playoffs and managing his knee now will hopefully keep him on the court for the rest of the season