UPDATE: It was a short stay for Alex Poythress, who was recalled on Monday morning and joined the team in Indianapolis.
The Atlanta Hawks have been busy in recent days, picking up back-to-back victories over the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers. On Sunday, the team enjoys a brief period of rest (while traveling to Indiana for a New Year’s Eve contest) but, in the same breath, the Hawks completed two roster moves involving rookie big man Omari Spellman and two-way big man Alex Poythress.
Spellman was assigned to the G League’s Erie BayHawks for the first time in his young NBA career and that decision comes on the heels of back-to-back games in which he was healthy but did not appear. The No. 30 overall pick from Villanova recently missed eight consecutive games with a right hip injury and, while he returned for a seven-minute stint in a home loss to Indiana this week, head coach Lloyd Pierce referenced a need for conditioning work after his lengthy injury absence and pointed to a G League stint, even at the time, as a possibility.
As such, the decision to send Spellman to Erie, even for a potentially short time, is not a surprising one. This will allow him, in theory, to take the floor for extended minutes, get his legs back under him, and be ready for a return to Atlanta’s roster (and, potentially, rotation) in the near future.
Poythress will join Spellman in Erie, though it is important to note that he was transferred (as a two-way player), rather than assigned in the same fashion as Spellman. Poythress has been a key cog for Atlanta in recent days, stepping up in the absence of various big man battling injury issues, but the Hawks have to consider his ticking 45-day clock and the decision to transfer Poythress could spell good news for Dewayne Dedmon (who missed Saturday night’s game) on the injury front.
It remains to be seen as to how long both Spellman and Poythress will remain in Erie and there are different considerations with the two players. Still, it will be intriguing to monitor the BayHawks in the coming days and, while the big men are in the G League, Atlanta’s frontcourt rotation will also be worthy of note.