The Atlanta Hawks suffered a bit of a blow to their chances of snapping out of their current slump when point guard Jeff Teague went down with an ankle injury Tuesday against the Miami Heat, but Teague’s absence coupled with Lou Williams‘ season-long injury should lead to more minutes for rookie sharp shooter John Jenkins.
Jenkins came into the NBA with a reputation as one of the best – if not the best – shooter in the 2012 draft class, prompting the Hawks to take him with the 23rd overall pick to help replace the outside shooting gap left by Kyle Korver’s trade to the Chicago Bulls. Despite his reputation and ability to fill a need for the Hawks, Jenkins hasn’t seen much time this season.
The reasons why are a bit of a mystery. Jenkins may be a bit undersized for the shooting guard position in the league, but even at 6’4” Jenkins was able to score over 16.9 points per game and .438 from three-point range in college as Vanderbilt’s featured scorer. Jenkins is adept at using screens and moves well enough without the basketball to create the space necessary to get his shot off. You would imagine the offensively challenged Hawks could use the scoring off the bench that Jenkins could potentially provide, but that hasn’t been the case.
But with Teague sidelined for even a couple of games Jenkins has a prime opportunity to crack the rotation and play more than the 13.2 minutes and contribute more than just five points per game that he has so far. Jenkins has a chance to eventually take over as the Hawks starting shooting guard down the line, and he should take full advantage of his current opportunity to showcase what he brings to the table, starting with Wednesday’s game at home against the Los Angeles Lakers.