The Atlanta Hawks kick off their 2017 preseason schedule Thursday night with a trip to Memphis to face the Grizzlies. It won’t be a full dress rehearsal for Atlanta who will be without several players that are nursing injuries.
Paul Millsap and Jarrett Jack were both ruled out of the team’s first two preseason games earlier in the week. Millsap had a procedure on his knee to help alleviate swelling prior to the start of camp. He has slowly begun ramping up his activity in practice but the Hawks won’t rush him into action. Jack is still recovering from the ACL injury that ended his 2016 season. He is taking part in drills but has still not been cleared for full contact.
Tiago Splitter was also ruled out of Thursday’s game with a sore hamstring. Splitter missed the majority of the 2016 season due to hip surgery. He is on the trip and hasn’t been ruled out of Saturday’s game in San Antonio. Mike Scott hasn’t been ruled out of Thursday’s game yet but he did sit out Wednesday’s practice due to an undisclosed ailment according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
(Update): The Hawks have announced that Mike Scott will also sit out tonight's preseason opener.
Tonight's @emoryhealthcare injury report:— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) October 6, 2016
Jarrett (knee rehab), Paul (knee rehab), Tiago (hamstring) and Mike Scott (knee soreness) all out
Memphis won their preseason opener on Monday 102-97 over the Orlando Magic. Rookie Wade Baldwin led the Grizzlies with 15 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting.
Here are three things to look for in Atlanta’s season opener:
Dwight Howard makes his Hawks debut
Dwight Howard will play in his first game as a member of the Atlanta Hawks after signing a three-year contract with the team over the summer. Howard has been very active this summer working on his shooting in an effort to improve his success at the free throw line. The preseason will give some insight on whether that work will ultimately pay off.
Who will play behind Dennis Schröder?
Dennis Schröder will officially take over the reigns as Atlanta’s starting point guard tonight but who will ultimately win the backup job is still a bit unclear. Malcolm Delaney will make his Hawks debut tonight and should get the first crack at running the offense behind Schröder.
What will Atlanta’s offense look like?
Replacing Al Horford with Dwight Howard will change the dynamic of Atlanta’s offense but don’t expect wholesale changes. The pick and roll will still be a primary weapon as will Atlanta’s patented ball movement. Mike Budenholzer will likely look to utilize Howard in the post but wholesale changes to the Hawks’ offense aren’t likely.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, October 6, 8 p.m. ET
Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
Radio: No Local Broadcast, 92.9 ESPN Memphis