It’s clear that changes are necessary to improve the Hawks‘ defense, but the team’s current personnel may not provide any quite fixes, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, who suggests that it’s an area Atlanta could look to address on the trade market.
Trae Young scored 56 points with 14 assists for the Hawks on Monday night, but it wasn’t enough for a victory, since the club surrendered 136 points to a Portland team missing Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Acting coach Joe Prunty acknowledged after the game that something needs to change on defense.
“There are a lot of things that need to be addressed. A lot of things that we have to do as a team to get better at,” Prunty said, per Kirschner. “There are things we have talked about, things we have worked on, but clearly we need to continue to do it. It’s going to be hard to win a game giving up 136. We’ve done this a few times now. We have to get better across the board as a team, that’s coaches and players.”
Here’s more from around the Southeast:
- Jimmy Butler exited the Heat‘s game in the third quarter on Monday due to a right ankle injury and will undergo further testing today to assess the severity of the ailment, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. For his part, Butler – who has already experienced some right ankle problems this season – doesn’t seem to believe it’s a significant injury. “If you talk to Jimmy right now, he says he’s fine,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We will have to evaluate it and see how he feels.”
- Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma had a career night on Monday, putting up 36 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists in a win over Charlotte. As Ava Wallace of The Washington Post writes, Kuzma is getting more and more comfortable with his new team and believes he’s in a “great situation” in Washington. “Fit and opportunity is everything in this league,” Kuzma said on Monday.
- Magic guard Markelle Fultz, who continues to recover from ACL surgery, is now in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, but forward Chuma Okeke has exited the protocols, tweets Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Okeke missed Monday’s game due to return to competition reconditioning, but should be nearing a return.