It just seems like the Atlanta Hawks cannot catch a break this season with news of another injury to a key player.
Pero Antic is the latest player to suffer an injury for the Hawks and it really couldn’t come at a worse time for a team hoping to make the playoffs. Atlanta is already without their All-Star center Al Horford for the rest of the season, but now that his backup Antic is hurt, the Hawks will have a tough time finding his new replacement. Antic will only be out two to four weeks with a stress fracture in his right ankle, which is good news in the long run as he should take his starting spot right back when he returns. However, in the meantime, coach Mike Budenholzer will have to find someone to replace the impressive production of the Macedonian right away.
Antic was putting up remarkable numbers with the Hawks this season in order to replace the production of Horford. In the month of January, he was averaging 11.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as the starting center before the news of his injury today. Those are some impressive numbers for anyone, but especially a backup center who had the tough task of replacing Atlanta’s best player. Unlike a lot of other centers in the NBA, Antic has a unique skill set that many big men could only wish for. Besides being able to rebound and play defense, he also has the ability to hit numerous three-pointers and distribute the basketball at a very high level. His presence will certainly be missed for the two to four weeks he’ll be out of the lineup. Antic was a big reason why the Hawks were able to maintain their position in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The first option that coach Bud must consider is Gustavo Ayon. Unlike Antic, Ayon is more of a force on the defensive side of the ball because of his ability to rebound and challenge shots at the rim. He won’t be expected to replace the offensive production of Antic because that’s not his strength, but he will be a welcoming presence for an Atlanta team that has not played defense that well lately.