The Atlanta Hawks have been dropped back-to-back contests without starting point guard Dennis Schröder in the lineup and, in some respects, a third loss was directly impacted by his absence in Brooklyn. On Friday, there will be significant pomp and circumstance as the Hawks return home for the first time this season and, when the team takes the floor against the Denver Nuggets, Schröder will be involved in the proceedings.
Head coach Mike Budenholzer indicated prior to game time that the 24-year-old point guard would be reinserted into the starting lineup and, while he may not see full-time action, there are no firm restrictions on his playing time. Schröder badly sprained his ankle during the fourth quarter in the loss to the Nets and, while he was ruled out quickly for the next two contests, there was justified optimism (in the form of a questionable designation) that he could return here.
In Schröder’s absence, Mike Budenholzer has deployed the trio of Malcolm Delaney, Isaiah Taylor and Josh Magette for increased time, including 35 minutes from the incumbent backup in Delaney against Chicago. Beyond that, Budenholzer has experimented with multi-point guard lineups and, in contrast, groups that feature Kent Bazemore as the primary facilitator given that DeAndre’ Bembry is also on the shelf with injury.
Atlanta’s offense is clearly impacted in a negative direction without their primary facilitator on the floor and the Hawks have had difficult generating quality shots. Against Denver, the Hawks are fighting an uphill battle (at least according to the good folks in Las Vegas) but, with Schröder back in action, the challenge does not appear quite as daunting.