Onyeka Okongwu has been recalled by the Hawks

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Following their fifth straight road win last night, the Hawks received even more good news this morning as Onyeka Okongwu was recalled from the Hawks’ G-League affiliate College Park Skyhawks.

Big O returned to action last week after undergoing surgery following last year’s playoff run. In one game with the Skyhawks, Okongwu’s performance was encouraging as he recorded a double-double, helping the team to their first win of the season. Shortly afterward, it was announced he would be taking a leave of absence to deal with a family issue; the SportsTalkATL family sends their condolences to the Okongwu family.

The sixth overall pick looks to be nearing a return now, though, which should excite Hawks fans. Big O is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end and will immediately improve the second unit. With Clint Capela off the floor, Atlanta has been abysmal defensively; Okongwu will help mitigate some of those deficiencies.

The former USC Trojan can’t space the floor like Gorgui Dieng, but he’s more dynamic in the pick and roll. There was a connection made between Lou Williams and Big O last season, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the second unit improve offensively and defensively.

The biggest area Okongwu will help is in the fourth quarter. Not only will John Collins and Capela be fresher in the final period, but his high energy and defense should help the team close out games — something they’ve struggled with this season. As the team gets healthier, the Hawks should start to string together wins; welcome back Big O!

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