Atlanta Hawks head coach Nate McMillan has a notoriously poor record of playing rookies. This season it took until the third game of the season when the Hawks had a shocking loss to the Charlotte Hornets before their first-rounder, AJ Griffin took to the court.
This is after Griffin played several solid games in the preseason. He was impressive at both ends of the floor, showing that he is more than just a floor spacer. With one exception, which is impressive, Griffin was an excellent team defender in the time that he was on the court.
Still, the preseason is one thing, the regular season is a whole new ball game. Seeing Griffin play in two of the last three games shows a glimpse into the team’s future and if he continues to shoot the way that he has started his career.
The Atlanta Hawks need to work AJ Griffin into their rotation.
This is not going to be a very easy task given that they are going to see Bogdan Bogdanovic back on the floor. He is an elite shooter with a level of playmaking thrown into the mix. He is a proven commodity, as opposed to the rookie Griffin.
In his six minutes against the Hornets, Griffin had eight points on 3-of-4 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. While they were playing against the deep end of the bench, he still showed that he could score in bunches.
However, his performance against the Detroit Pistons in the second game showed that he is more than ready to take to an NBA court. Both De’Andre Hunter and Justin Holiday were in foul trouble so Griffin got minutes when they mattered and he showed that he was ready to accept his role within the team.
Griffin was a true third option and performed extremely well. He was 4-of-4 including 2-of-2 from deep when it mattered. He missed the last two shots in junk time but he had certainly shown enough with his10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from deep.
Griffin has opened his rookie campaign by shooting 67.7 percent from deep. To put it simply, there is not much more that he can do to get minutes. He just has to stay ready now.