Atlanta Hawks rookie Jalen Johnson needs to improve his efficiency

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks have been going through an injury crisis very similar to last season. This one has become a little worse in the short term thanks to the hamstring tear suffered by last season’s insurance policy, Solomon Hill.

This has led to the question of whether the Hawks should use Jalen Johnson. Firstly during the homestand after their losing streak, and then after the Hill injury, the question was raised again. Should the Hawks use Johnson with all their wings out, well before they expected to need him.

Nate McMillan has resisted fan pressure to bring Johnson up to the varsity squad. He has shortened his rotation, preferring to go with veteran Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot in the starting lineup who was starting to look comfortable in his new role with the Hawks.

The Atlanta Hawks need a more efficient Jalen Johnson

Johnson has been putting up solid numbers during his first nine games in the G League. He has averaged 18.6 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.1 blocks in 33.4 minutes per game. On the surface, this seems to be a solid start to his career.

Looking a little deeper though, Johnson has been extremely inefficient on offense, shooting the ball at 63-of-148 on the season which is only good for 42.5 percent. This includes the second game against the Long Island Nets where he went 9-of-24 from the field.

He has not even been able to make it up at the free-throw line. Johnson has only made 16-of-29 from the charity stripe. This is only good for 55 percent which is simply not good enough, especially under the G League rules where you shoot one free throw which can equal two or three points, depending on the location of the foul

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If Johnson is going to break into the rotation of the varsity squad, he needs to start to perform more efficiently at the G League level. Until he is able to do that, it is unlikely that McMillan will use Johnson with any regularity.