Kevin Knox has already bought into his role with the Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks entered the game against the Miami Heat riding the back of a two-game winning streak. They were without Bogdan Bogdanovic again and lost Danilo Gallinari prior to the game with soreness in his Achilles. This had the potential to be a huge loss for the Hawks as Gallinari has been massive lately.

In previous games where the Hawks have been short-handed, we have normally seen Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot take the court with mixed success. He goes from looking comfortable with this team to looking out of place and costing the Hawks. He did not hit the court this game so it looks like we have seen the last of Luwawu-Cabarrot for the season, barring injuries and junk time.

Instead of Luwawu-Cabarrot, the Hawks brains trust went with Kevin Knox. The fourth-year pro played 15 minutes and it must be said that his box score does not make for impressive reading. He had three points on one of two shooting from deep and also collected a rebound. He had a turnover and two fouls as well.

The Atlanta Hawks need what Kevin Knox brings to the floor.

Knox spent most of the time he was on the court in the first three periods just spacing the floor. He went to the corner on the opposite side of the court to the ball handler. This forced his defender to stay at home on the new Hawk.

He would also cut from one corner to the other via the baseline, ensuring the defense was not able to settle in any way. The only times that this changed was when he would come to the ball to help out a trapped player or move to the 45-degree angle if another player came into the corner.

With the exception of one time when he came towards Trae Young when the point guard was expecting him to go into the corner, he was within the flow of the offense. He did get a little excited on the wing when he had the ball and turned it over because he went too fast, but again, as he gets more comfortable with the team, this should not happen.

Defensively Knox was also impressive, although it went largely unnoticed on the stats sheet. He rotated well, got to the right spots on the floor, and also challenged shots in a good effort. The play which should have been rewarded was when he was called for a foul on a Duncan Robinson drive.

The play was reviewed and it showed that Knox was hit in the face with Robinson’s arm. The call was overturned and instead of two free throws, Robinson was charged with the offensive foul. Knox still had the ability to block the shot, which would have meant that Robinson was shooting free throws if the play had not been reviewed. The coaching staff notice and rewards effort plays like this.

However, if you rewind the tape back a little, Knox had a huge offensive play. The Hawks’ offense was stuttering and Knox was isolated in the corner with the ball. He drained a huge 3-ball which gave the Hawks some momentum back.

Next. The hidden benefits of the Kevin Knox trade. dark

It is not the role of the bench to score at a high level as a rule. It is to give the starters a break and keep the momentum going. Knox’s couple of big plays at the start of the fourth were just that. He has accepted his role and as a result, the Atlanta Hawks should benefit for the rest of the season.