The Atlanta Hawks played well on Monday night in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies and, for the most part, the team resembled what many expected from a rotation standpoint. That made quite a bit of sense given that the game could serve as a logical dress rehearsal for opening night in Dallas but, in the same breath, there was one notable absence from the proceedings.
For the third consecutive game, veteran wing Marco Belinelli was nowhere to be found and, despite not being on the injury report, it came to light that he is dealing with a physical ailment. Following the game, Mike Budenholzer revealed that the 31-year-old was “dealing with some soreness” and, at practice on Tuesday, Belinelli caught up with Michael Cunningham of the AJC to shed additional light.
“I don’t know why. I was good when I was here first days in Atlanta. Then I played a game against Miami (and) I think everything start from there. Or maybe (it’s) sore from the national team. I don’t know about that. I feel good right now. We’ll see. The important thing is to be ready for the season.”
This is largely optimistic from the sharp-shooter and, in addition, Belinelli indicated to the AJC that he expects to be back for the opener. While the Hawks have some intriguing shooters in the frontcourt with Luke Babbitt, Ersan Ilyasova and Mike Muscala capable of knocking down somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 percent from beyond the arc, Belinelli is the best shooter on the wing (in a non-Tyler Dorsey sense, anyway) and his absence was quite noticeable.
While it would make some sense for the Hawks to explore trades for a player on an expiring contract that could have value elsewhere, Belinelli remains a logical rotation option on the wing. He would theoretically join the likes of Kent Bazemore, Taurean Prince and DeAndre’ Bembry in the opening rotation and, provided full health, it will be interesting to see if that comes to fruition next Wednesday in Dallas.