Exploring why Gorgui Dieng is not getting minutes for the Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Atlanta Hawks having yet another injury crisis, it would be fairly safe to say that they need all hands on deck. However, in the recent win over the Indiana Pacers, Gorgui Dieng did not take the court, coach’s decision. He also did not take the court against the New York Knicks either. In fact, he has three DNP CD’s and has had less than eight minutes in 10 of his 19 games.

Part of this is due to the way the offense is currently running. The Hawks have got two big guys who are spacing the floor in John Collins and Danilo Gallinari. Both of these players have been with the Hawks for longer than Dieng, with Collins being the longest-tenured player at the franchise.

Despite Gallinari being in a slump to start the season, he has snapped out of it and has put in some really solid performances off the bench. While he only had nine points against the Pacers, he went 3-of-6 from behind the long line, good for 50 percent on the night.

The Atlanta Hawks are using John Collins primarily with the second unit.

With Gallinari being the power forward of the second unit, the Hawks coaching staff have preferred to use Clint Capela and Collins with the second unit. While this depends on the game situation, Collins is starting to be used more in this role.

Gallinari is quite capable of guarding the opposition big man on the perimeter which leaves Collins free to roam near the rim. His weakside rim protection is one of the greatest assets that he possesses thanks to his nuclear athleticism.

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Collins has had three or more blocks in four out of his last six games including five against the OKC Thunder and four against the Pacers. This is enough to change the way that teams attack the defense which is an advantage for the Hawks and is a big part of the reason the second unit is working so well together.