Atlanta Hawks fans should be patient with rookie Kobe Bufkin

Atlanta Hawks, Kobe Bufkin. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks, Kobe Bufkin. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

After a breakout sophomore season at Michigan, the Atlanta Hawks selected guard Kobe Bufkin with the 15th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Bufkin didn’t play much as a freshman as he only averaged 10.6 minutes per game, but he saw a significant role in his breakout sophomore season. Starting at 2-guard for the 2022-2023 season, Bufkin saw his playing time skyrocket to 34 minutes per game. His breakout season saw Bufkin finish second on the team in scoring and assists.

Although it wasn’t a successful season for the team, Bufkin raised his level of play throughout the season. Bufkin ended his sophomore season averaging 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in his breakout campaign. He also shot 48.2% from the field and 35.5% from the 3-point line. Unfortunately, his great season did not lead Michigan to the NCAA tournament as they had to settle for the NIT tournament instead.

When the season started, Bufkin was not on NBA radars but his season propelled him to be a projected first-round pick. Capitalizing on rising on the draft boards, Bufkin entered the draft with his teammate Jett Howard, who was also a projected first-round pick. Bufkin was anointed for his perimeter defense and shot-making ability in mid and short-range areas. As he went through the process, Atlanta propelled Bufkin to the top of the board and the Hawks eventually took him with the 15th overall pick.

Toward the end of the season, either Dejounte Murray or Trae Young would rotate at the point guard spot as Aaron Holiday was taken out of the rotation. There was never a time when both of them could sit on the bench at the same time as one of them would have to run the second unit. Of course, this was never an issue, however, the Hawks want someone who can run the second unit without Young or Murray and maybe Bufkin is that guy.