The Atlanta Hawks are going to potentially have De’Andre Hunter sit out some games in order to manage the wear and tear on his knee. This is a concern for a second-year player but not unexpected given the shortened preseason and the lack of time spent with the fitness staff.
Hunter has been impressive this season, scoring at all three levels, getting stronger, and taking the best defender every night. He has been a fixture in the starting lineup when available and deservedly so.
However, when a key starter is unavailable, the rest of the team needs to step up. The starting lineup needs to take some more of the load and also the bench all move up a spot. Let’s take a look at the five players who need to step up in the potential absence of Hunter.
Atlanta Hawks player stepping up No. 1) Solomon Hill
We start with Solomon Hill who is the most likely to replace Hunter in the starting lineup. The veteran started against the Detroit Pistons when Hunter sat and had six points, five rebounds, and three assists. He played 39 minutes and was 2-of-8 from the field, 2-of-7 from deep.
Going forward, this is a problem area for the Hawks. Hill is very one dimensional on offense, where he takes 3.5 of his 4.4 shot attempts from deep. One of the reasons the Hawks have been successful with Hunter on the court is his off-ball movement and his ability to score in so many different ways.
Hill needs to be more involved in the offense if the Hawks are going to keep winning. Defensively he is solid which will keep him in the starting lineup for a while but he has to stop the inexplicable turnovers that he commits. Otherwise, the Hawks will rush Cam Reddish back in the starting lineup.