The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the more disappointing teams in the NBA this year. The Hawks have been rumored to be looking to start over while continuing to build around star guard Trae Young, But they will now be without Young for at least a few games.
NBA Rumors: How The Hawks Replace Trae Young and Will The 76ers Pursue Dejounte Murray At Deadline, Plus More
A few hours ago, the Hawks announced that Young had been placed in the NBA concussion protocol with a concussion.
An @emoryhealthcare injury update (1/2):
Trae Young left last night’s game vs. Cleveland after drawing a charge with 8:43 remaining in the fourth quarter. After an evaluation by the team’s athletic training and medical staff, Young has been diagnosed with a concussion. pic.twitter.com/duKNghXH0z
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 21, 2024
Young suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s loss to Cleveland when he was defending an Isaac Okoro drive to the basket and drew an offensive foul.
Young didn’t return to the game after suffering the blow as the Hawks came up short against the Cavaliers 116-95, snapping Atlanta’s three-game winning streak. It was the Hawks’ longest since winning four straight at the end of October.
Young finished the game with 15 points, five assists, and four turnovers. Meanwhile, Dejounte Murray, rumored to be on the move for the past month or so, led the way with 24 points, nine rebounds. and five dimes.
Young is officially out indefinitely. But Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford missed two games this week while in the concussion protocol as he isn’t on the injury report for Sunday’s game vs. Denver, suggesting he’s set to return, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic.
Daniel Gafford, who missed Washington's last two games while in the NBA's concussion protocol, is no longer listed on the team's injury report. That means he'll be available to play tonight against the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets.
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) January 21, 2024
Young has already been declared out for Atlanta’s (18-24) game against Sacramento tomorrow. According to Brad Rowland of Locked on Hawks, Young isn’t traveling with the Hawks as they begin a two-game Californian trip. So, he presumably won’t play Wednesday against Golden State.
Trae Young is officially in the concussion protocol and he has been Young has been diagnosed with a concussion.
He is not traveling with the Hawks today.
Will presumably miss Monday’s game vs. the Kings and perhaps Wednesday’s game vs. the Warriors as well, though not official. https://t.co/mZtIefb3Q3
— Brad Rowland (@BTRowland) January 21, 2024
So, who will take over for Young?
Murray will move over from his shooting guard position to point guard. Of course, Murray is very comfortable at operating as the lead guard. Meanwhile, Bogdan Bogdanovic will start at shooting guard.
More significantly, it means that Murray and Bogdanovic will likely see more minutes. Murray, who averages 35 minutes a game this year, has seen between 35 and 39 minutes in the three games that Young has sat out this year. Bogdanovic averages 27 minutes when coming off the bench, though that increases to 36 when he starts.
The more significant issue for the Hawks is who will run the offense when Murray rests. Bogdanovic can play with the ball in his hand; he is better without it. Garrison Matthews, and possibly Patty Mills and Trent Forrest, are in line to see an increase in playing time.
Atlanta is 2-1 without Young this season and 5-7 without him over the last two years.
Is Philadelphia Not Interested In Dejounte Murray?
As stated above, Murray has been linked to several teams since the Hawks announced they wanted to trade him. One of those teams is the Philadelphia 76ers, per Yahoo Sports Jake Fischer, though The Athletic’s Fred Katz doesn’t have the Sixers on his list of suitors for Murray. Katz listed the Lakers, Warriors, Heat, Nets, Knicks, and Magic as the best fits for Murray.
Katz is one of many media NBA Insider who doesn’t believe that the 76ers and Murray are a great fit. The Athletic’s Shams Charania, on FanDuel’s Run it Back a few days ago, said he has “not gotten the sense” that the Sixers will aggressively pursue the 2022 all-star.
"There's going to be options for them [Sixers] in the summer, they have a bunch of assets, remember they got two first round picks from the Clippers."@ShamsCharania on if the Sixers will look to add front court depth.
— Run It Back (@RunItBackFDTV) January 17, 2024
Michael Scotto of HoopsHype has also cast doubt that Murray will be a top target for Philadelphia, suggesting he’s a “questionable fit” next to rising 76ers star Tyrese Maxey. Here is what Scotto said
The Sixers have been linked to Murray, but would Daryl Morey give up multiple picks for a guard who’s a questionable fit next to Tyrese Maxey, his franchise cornerstone alongside Joel Embiid?
Rival executives who spoke with HoopsHype expect Morey to continue gauging the trade market through the deadline.
Atlanta is believed to be asking for two first-round picks while also not taking back any salary for next year.
Philadelphia has been one of the most consistent teams this year. While the 76ers could use another backcourt playmaker, they are on a five-game winning streak and sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 28-13 record. Ten of their losses have been by teams with a 500 or better record.
Still, the Sixers are better off not pursuing Murray, as mentioned above, due to fit concerns and the fact that Philadelphia has a lot of decisions to make this offseason.
- Franz Wagner returned for the Orlando’s tonight against Miami after the previous eight games with an ankle injury. Wagner tallied five points on 1 of 4 shooting, two assists, and one rebound in 15 minutes in the first half against the Heat.
Orlando (22-20) went 3-5 without Wagner during this eight-game stretch.
Here’s the reaction from the crowd inside Kia Center for the return of the #Magic’s opening night starting five: Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Wendell Carter Jr.
The group has only played 4 times together entering tonight. pic.twitter.com/DdqkrEeyfF
— Jason Beede (@therealBeede) January 21, 2024
- Houston Rockets Jabari Smith Jr. is sitting out tonight’s game against the Boston Celtics due to a sprained ankle. Smith suffered the injury Saturday night during the Rockets 127-126 overtime victory over the Jazz, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko added that he was unsure how long Smith will be sidelined.
Unsure of how long Jabari will be sidelined, but HOU will miss him in their small ball group — especially tonight against a talented Celtics team.
Brooks/Tate/Smith Jr. have played just 21 minutes together this season, but they're a +19.1 in that span, including a 109.8 D-Rtg. https://t.co/prsJVZwMsT
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIko) January 21, 2024
The Rockets were also without Fred VanVleet (lower back tightness), Tari Eason (lower leg), Jeff Green (calf), and Reggie Bullock (back) also sat out. As a result, head coach Ime Udoka gave rookies Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore their first starts of their careers.