Atlanta Hawks' John Jenkins Showing Rookie Progress

By John Raffel
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

It’s lonely being a rookie, especially when you’re on a veteran-rich team like the Atlanta Hawks.

But John Jenkins for the Hawks simply has to bide his time and continue to work on his game.

Rookies don’t stay rookies forever and if Jenkins continues to progress as he has with the Hawks, while  watching the likes of Devin Harris, Al Horford, Josh Smith and Jeff Teague, he’s going to be a key part of the Hawks lineup in the short-term future.

In Wednesday’s 108-76 NBA win over the Orlando Magic, Jenkins netted nine points in 24 minutes and basically doubled his season averages. He was very steady in 24 minutes of action with 3-of-5 shooting from the floor, all from the 3-point arc and brought down three defensive rebounds. He saw the most minutes of the non-starters.

The Hawks, at 29-22, will be a playoff team but it’s questionable if they can make it beyond the first round. That’s where depth will come in and where a player like Jenkins needs to step it up to give the Hawks more weapons and make them a more dangerous team. The rookie from Vanderbilt has typical rookie averages for a team that is loaded with veterans and doesn’t need to use the young talent that much.

But he is showing potential, which is all the Hawks can ask for right now. His turnover total is extremely low.

In a recent 114-103 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Jenkins had one of his best games by scoring 14 points, which included 9-of-10 shooting from the free-throw line.

He doesn’t miss many shots from the floor or the charity stripe. These are the kind of numbers that coaches like and will draw their attention when it comes to figuring out who will get more playing time.

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