All we’ve heard about these playoffs is how many key players are missing, and rightfully so. Guys like Jamal Murray, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, and Joel Embiid have battled through injuries, and teams like the Hawks and Suns have taken full advantage. However, the Hawks aren’t exactly in top health themselves. It’s so frustrating to hear national media members make excuses for every single team, but fail to consider how many impact players the Hawks are missing due to injury. Atlanta has battled through this all season, and they don’t get the credit they deserve for it.
Losing De’Andre Hunter was a massive blow; he is easily one of Atlanta’s best perimeter defenders and is so underrated all-around. Winning six road games in eight tries is a massive achievement, but when you consider the Hawks haven’t had a guy who averaged 15/5/2 while shooting 48% from the floor and 33% from three, it is even more eye-popping. Even a guy like Kris Dunn, who never got going this season, could be used as a lockdown specialist on guards that Atlanta has faced in the postseason like Derrick Rose and Jrue Holiday. Cam Reddish may be close to returning, but he is still battling one of the toughest injuries in sports — Achilles issues. He played fantastic defense all year, and Hawks fans saw how good he can be when he gets in a rhythm like he did before the shutdown in 2020.
Bogdan Bogdanović is going to battle through his knee injury, but he obviously isn’t right. He hasn’t hit a three-pointer since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, which wouldn’t be the case if he were anywhere close to healthy. He averaged over 16 points a game this season and made nearly 44% of his 3s while also playing well-above average defense. If any other team besides the Hawks was missing him, it would be an excuse any time they lost. Not for Atlanta, though. No matter how many efficient defensive stoppers the Hawks are missing, they will never get the benefit of the doubt. These players flew under the radar all season, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t key pieces to a championship level team.