On the surface, losing a backup shooting guard for 2 preseason games may seem like a small speed bump. However, for the Atlanta Hawks, it could be an ominous indication of things to come.
The team announced on Sunday that shooting guard John Jenkins would not make the trip to Miami for Atlanta’s preseason debut, and with that, he would be missing the first two games of the 2013-2014 preseason. Jenkins appeared in 61 games a rookie last season, averaging just north of 6 points per game on approximately 45% shooting from the field.
So, why is this is a speed bump for Atlanta?
Simply put, the Hawks have zero depth on the wing heading into the season. Currently, the team is penciling in a starting lineup that includes Kyle Korver (at shooting guard) and DeMarre Carroll (at small forward), but behind them, Jenkins is the only healthy player who is guaranteed a roster spot at either position. Incumbent combo guard Lou Williams is recovering from a torn ACL, and the other certain bench options do not fit into the box of your prototypical swingman. Need a reference? There is currently a battle between James Johnson and Damien Wilkins (both non-roster invitees) for the backup small forward job.
Jenkins will be back in short order with his diagnosed back spasms, but this is a reminder that the Hawks can’t afford to have any injury issues on the wing.