The Atlanta Hawks will be without wing De’Andre Hunter for the rest of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
While Atlanta was able to steal Game 1 on Sunday in Philadelphia to take home-court advantage, Hunter’s absence in Game 2 was noticeable. Though the Hawks were able to at least make it a game, Philadelphia got off to a fast start and finished strong to win easily. Hunter’s defense out on the wing will inevitably be why the Hawks do not win the Eastern Conference in the NBA Playoffs.
Atlanta has had a fantastic year, but this is an injury the Hawks will not be able to overcome.
Atlanta Hawks: De’Andre Hunter is out for the season with torn meniscus
Interestingly enough, this is the same type of injury the 76ers’ best player Joel Embiid is battling through. This best-of-seven series will go as he goes, plain and simple. However, not having Hunter available to defend out on the perimeter and make buckets shrinks Atlanta’s playoff rotation and limits the starting lineup’s potential effectiveness. It caps Atlanta’s ceiling for sure.
The good news for Hawks fans is this year’s team is way better than expected. They have already won a playoff series with this core and are three wins away from getting back to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2015. While Atlanta might be able to beat Philadelphia in seven, the Hawks have no chance against the juggernaut Brooklyn Nets in the conference finals.
If Atlanta loses to Philadelphia in five, six or seven games, Hunter’s absence will be a reason why.