With the All-Star Break on the horizon, the Atlanta Hawks will not be deploying their normal starting lineup or rotation on Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons. In fact, the Hawks will be without three starters when the game tips off, as the team announced absences on Wednesday afternoon.
Kent Bazemore (rest), Dennis Schroder (low back tightness) and Ersan Ilyasova (right shoulder sprain) will miss the proceedings and they are joined by Tyler Cavanaugh (right ankle sprain) on the shelf for this contest. Schroder’s back tightness appeared on the injury report for Friday’s loss to the Cavaliers but Ilyasova’s injury is a new one and the choice to rest Bazemore is an interesting one.
On some fronts, it makes complete sense for the Hawks to take a cautious approach with three of the veterans, especially if Schroder and Ilyasova are battling nagging ailments. Atlanta is, of course, not in playoff position and, on the second night of a back-to-back, resting players in this way is not overly uncommon nor distressing.
Malcolm Delaney and Isaiah Taylor would be in line for increased playing time in Schroder’s absence and the same could be said for DeAndre’ Bembry (and, potentially, Andrew White) in place of Bazemore. In the frontcourt, the Hawks are relatively short-handed but the return of Miles Plumlee to the rotation, even if only for one evening, may be in the works as well.
In the end, some will undoubtedly point to this as a “tanking” measure and it is fair to question whether the Hawks would act in this fashion in the midst of a playoff race. Still, there are incentives for the team to play it safe in this spot and, in the same breath, the Hawks will still deploy a capable set of players when taking on the Pistons.