- Hawks assistant coach Jamelle McMillan is in the COVID-19 health and safety protocols and head coach Nate McMillan will be isolating until he has tested negative multiple times, the team announced (Twitter link). In a follow-up tweet, the team says that assistant coach Chris Jent will serve as head coach Dec. 1 against the Pacers. Jent is a veteran assistant and has been with the Hawks since 2017.
- Second-year Hawks big man Onyeka Okongwu is starting to ramp up activity while recovering from shoulder surgery. We noted last week he played 3-on-3, and now coach Nate McMillan says he’s going to start practicing 5-on-5 with the College Park Skyhawks, Atlanta’s G League affiliate, per Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter). He’s expected to play in a G League game if the practices go well.
John Collins re-signed with the Hawks on a five-year, $125MM contract as a restricted free agent during the offseason. So far, it’s working out well for both sides, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Collins is averaging 16.6 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 1.3 BPG.
“He’s had stretches like this all of the time,” Hawks star Trae Young said. “Now he’s being so consistent with it. This is normal for him. He’s playing really well on the offensive end. On the defensive end, he’s just as good if not better. “
- Jalen Johnson‘s only path to playing time with the Hawks this season is more frontcourt injuries, head coach Nate McMillan told Kirschner (Twitter link). The 20th overall pick of this year’s draft, Johnson is playing with the G League’s College Park Skyhawks to develop his game, Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. “That’s what it’s for and that’s what we want him to do,” McMillan said.
Suns guard Devin Booker and Hawks guard Trae Young have been named the NBA’s Players of The Week for the Western Conference and Eastern Conference respectively, the league announced today (via Twitter).
Booker’s Suns went 4-0 during the week of November 22-28 to extend their winning streak to 16 games, while Young’s Hawks were 3-1.
Booker averaged 30.0 PPG and 3.5 APG on .530/.560/.900 shooting in victories over San Antonio, Cleveland, New York, and Brooklyn. Young put up 31.3 PPG and 8.5 APG with a .563/.517/.833 shooting line, scoring at least 30 points in all four of his games.
The other nominees for the awards this week were Stephen Curry, D’Angelo Russell, and Karl-Anthony Towns in the West, along with Jarrett Allen, Darius Garland, Kevin Durant, and Terry Rozier in the East (Twitter link).
After undergoing an MRI on Sunday, Hawks wing Bogdan Bogdanovic has been diagnosed with a sprained right ankle, the team announced (via Twitter). According to the announcement, Bogdanovic will undergo a period of rest and rehabilitation and will be reevaluated in about two weeks.
Bogdanovic, who sustained the injury during the second quarter of Atlanta’s loss to New York on Saturday, has started all 20 games he has played this season, averaging 11.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 2.5 APG on .447/.391/.786 shooting in 28.2 minutes per contest.
Meanwhile, Cam Reddish, who also had to exit Saturday’s game in the second quarter due to a left wrist sprain, hasn’t been given a recovery timeline. According to the Hawks (via Twitter), he’s considered day-to-day for now and his status will be determined by how the injury responds to daily treatment.
With Bogdanovic unavailable, Solomon Hill joined the starting five to begin the second half of Saturday’s loss. Reserves like Hill, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and Lou Williams could take on larger roles with Bogdanovic and Reddish sidelined. The Hawks also may lean more heavily on starting wing Kevin Huerter — his 38 minutes on Saturday represented his second-highest total this season.
- Chris Kirschner and John Hollinger of The Athletic teamed up to discuss whether the Hawks make sense as a potential Ben Simmons suitor and how much urgency the team should feel to make a major consolidation trade. Kirschner doesn’t believe Atlanta needs to make a big in-season move, but thinks the team should seriously consider it during the 2022 offseason, a year before De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish are eligible for restricted free agency.
Hawks big man Onyeka Okongwu played some 3-on-3 this week and “came out OK,” head coach Nate McMillan said on Tuesday (Twitter link via Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). McMillan added that the Hawks will continue to be cautious with Okongwu and that there’s no set timeline for his return from shoulder surgery. Atlanta initially estimated a recovery period of about six months when Okongwu went under the knife in July.
- Hawks wing Cam Reddish is showing progress in his third season, according to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Star Trae Young says good things happen when Reddish is in attack-mode on offense. “He’s just stepping right in and playing his role, going hard on defense, and then on the offensive end we want him to attack, be aggressive and for me personally I love when he’s going to the basket and he’s making plays and he’s talking mess, just being himself, you know what I’m saying?” Young said. “I think that’s when you get the best version of Cam, when he’s playing like that.” Reddish will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer.
- Hawks second-year forward Onyeka Okongwu has ramped up his activity as he seeks to return from shoulder surgery, he told Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The 2020 lottery pick is hopeful he can get back in action sometime next month. “I feel stronger. Legs feel stronger, I’m getting my upper-body muscles back, and everything’s going well right now,” he said. “You could say that I’m definitely on track; my goal is still to come back in December, but I’m not going to rush or anything.”