The Atlanta Hawks experimented with their reserves against the Pels

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Larry Robinson-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Larry Robinson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks showed who is going to be in the rotation from the first game of the season when they took on the New Orleans Pelicans in the final preseason matchup. John Collins, Dejounte Murray, Onyeka Okongwu, De’Andre Hunter, Justin Holiday, and Trae Young all played under 20 minutes. They know their roles and Nate McMillan did not want to risk them getting injured in the preseason.

The last two players who are guaranteed time on the floor are Clint Capela and Bogdan Bogdanovic, both of whom sat out the game with their injuries. So, this was the last opportunity to give the bench players court time to see what they could bring.

AJ Griffin stayed in his role as a floor spacer but the shots were not dropping tonight. That is ok, these games happen to all players, insert John Starks against the Houston Rockets quotes and anecdotes here. Still, Griffin will feel better when he sees the ball go through the net when the regular season opens next Wednesday.

The Atlanta Hawks coaching staff were able to assess their bench unit.

It will be interesting to see what the coaching staff makes of Vit Krejci‘s game and whether they see him as a potential rotation piece. Tyrese Martin was given a similar amount of playing time to fellow rookie Griffin and acquitted himself quite well. Jarrett Culver and Aaron Holiday played 12 minutes between them and Holiday’s alley-oop to Jalen Johnson was a thing of beauty.

Since coming back from his off-season knee procedure, Johnson has been a really good player. McMillan left him on the floor for more than 31 minutes to get him more development time.14 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and a block more than justified this. If you get the chance and have not seen the game, watch the third quarter for Johnson’s game. It is just beautiful to watch.

What was really interesting is that McMillan played Trent Forrest for 30 minutes to see what he could produce. Apart from blowing a layup, Forrest acquitted himself well. He had 10 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and a steal in that time. What was great to see, the two-way player only had one turnover in that time.

However, what was most interesting was the way that McMillan had Frank Kaminsky play on offense. The big man had the ball go through his hands a lot when he was on the court and in 17 minutes collected a stat line of seven points, six rebounds, four assists, and a steal.

Next. Preseason shows the Hawks made the right call on Reddish. dark

This looked like McMillan was seeing if he could use Kaminsky as an offensive foil for either Murray or Young when they are on the court. He shot the ball poorly, going 3-of-7 from the floor and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. If he can improve this shooting, there is a chance we will see more Kaminsky than anticipated for the Atlanta Hawks.