Atlanta Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu is looking to get back early

Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The was so much to unpack from yesterday’s press conference given by Atlanta Hawks president Travis Schlenk. There was news of players who are recovering from injury. De’Andre Hunter is not going to be able to participate in all the activities associated with the training camp.

The Hawks are also going to take it easy with Clint Capela, Kevin Huerter, and Bogdan Bogdanovic as they recover from their offseason procedures. The Hawks are also waiting on Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot who is yet to leave France due to visa issues.

However, it was not all doom and gloom for the Hawks. Schlenk announced that last season’s rookie, Onyeka Okongwu who was going to miss the first three months of the season was looking to come back earlier on. He is eying a mid-December return which is two weeks to a month earlier than the medical staff anticipates.

The Atlanta Hawks would benefit from Onyeka Okongwu returning sooner

The Hawks made a number of moves this offseason to make sure they had the bench depth to cover the loss of Okongwu. They signed Gorgui Dieng in a move that will have potential playoff implications. They have also signed Jahlil Okafor to a training camp deal which may convert to a full deal.

The thing is that neither of these players have the upside that Okongwu has. Head Coach Nate McMillan has been developing Okongwu since the day that he took over and this really showed at the end of the season, especially in the Eastern Conference Finals when he shut down Giannis Antetokounmpo on a number of key plays.

Next. The Hawks must get out to a faster starts. dark

If the Hawks can get Okongwu back even two weeks earlier, he will help their defense. He will also develop a level of chemistry with the newer players and have an earlier look at the brand of basketball which has evolved throughout the season.