Prior to Monday evening’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the biggest story for the Atlanta Hawks appeared to be the injury status of Paul Millsap. While the All-Star power forward will be a game-time decision for the contest, Mike Budenholzer made a more long-term move, as he announced prior to tip-off that Thabo Sefolosha will start in place of Kyle Korver.
Budenholzer indicated that he is “changing up the mix” with the change, though he did state that Korver could benefit from the move. In addition, the head coach was asked if this was a long-term move and he answered affirmatively, sending a bit of a shock wave through this particular basketball community.
The move does not come as a complete surprise, given the fact that the Hawks have dropped nine out of ten games. However, the move to send Korver (the team’s best shooter by a wide margin) to the bench is a curious one given the massive struggles of the offense (and a lack of spacing on that end of the floor), especially given Kent Bazemore’s very slow start to the 2016-2017 season.
It seems fair to ask the question concerning Bazemore’s new contract and how that may have affected the thinking process here, but Sefolosha has been the team’s most consistent wing throughout the season and he is being rewarded as such. Atlanta will kick off the new lineup on Monday night (with Mike Muscala involved if Millsap can’t go), but evaluating the new rotation looks to go far beyond this maiden voyage.