So, let me give you a scenario. The Atlanta Hawks are without John Collins, for half of the game against the Orlando Magic. They are also without De’Andre Hunter for the final three periods. This is not to mention that they have not seen Bogdan Bogdanovic this season. So, who do they turn to? Well, the answer to that is Jarrett Culver of course.
The two-way player can thank AJ Griffin for part of this as the rookie has forced his way into the rotation with his tremendous play. Without Head Coach Nate McMillan having confidence in younger guys thanks to the play of the rookie, there is a chance that Culver and Trent Forrest do not see the court this early in the season.
Then there is the way that Culver played in the G League which the Hawks had to reward. This has not always been the case but it seems that they have changed their mindset when it comes to playing younger guys.
How the G League experience helps the younger Atlanta Hawks.
In the game prior to his call-up, Culver played really well for the College Park Skyhawks. He came off the bench and had 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. On top of that, he collected five rebounds, two assists, and a steal in just 23 minutes.
It appears that the Hawks expected a relatively easy game against the Magic as they had both their two-way guys on the bench. Well, it was not expected that they would lose two starters for the game and played Culver for almost 20 minutes. However, it is what he did during that time that is impressive.
Yes, he scored nine points on 3-of-7 shooting and got to the line four times, making three of them. It was on the glass that Culver shone. The two-way player collected 12 rebounds during his time on the court. It was not that long ago we were lamenting the Hawks’ inability to collect rebounds outside of Clint Capela and Onyeka Okongwu.
To top off his performance Culver had two steals and a block. All of this points to the effort and intensity that Culver played with. How did the Hawks reward Culver for this effort and intensity? By starting him in the next game against the Denver Nuggets.
He had 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals. The Nuggets are a good team and the Hawks only have Dejounte Murray and Capela from their regular starting group. They had Culver, Griffin, and Jalen Johnson as the other three starters and despite this, they won.
Now, it is not that Culver is going to be a regular in the rotation, he may even go back to the G League when the team is healthy again. So what does this mean? Well, it means that the Hawks have a player who can fit into their system and perform giving them depth.
It also means that at some point before next season Culver has the opportunity to be offered an NBA deal by the Hawks or another team. This gives him hope and a reason to perform and that is going to be incredibly beneficial for both the player and the Atlanta Hawks.