The Atlanta Hawks 2023 NBA first-round draft pick will be looking to fight for minutes this season in a crowded backcourt.
Kobe Bufkin has some good traits that Quin Snyder and the Hawks value in a player. He’s a secondary ball handler who can create his shot and has the length to be serviceable on defense.
Bufkin showed those things during his Summer League stint in Las Vegas. His first few games were rough, but as the games went on, you saw the real potential of what he can do when things are clicking. One of the things that popped out was his ability to read the floor as the man ball handler.
Bufkin did a decent amount of playing off the ball at Michigan, and when he sees the floor with the Hawks, he'll most likely be doing the same thing. Trae Young or Dejounte Murray will either be on the court controlling the offense when the other is on the bench, and Bufkin can be that secondary ball handler who can attack the rim and make plays.
His perimeter shooting still needs improvement, and playing alongside Young may be more helpful for the team. Unfortunately, with how many players are in the backcourt, he may not see minutes on the floor. Bogdan Bogdanovic and AJ Griffin will see minutes before him, and emergencies, Patty Mills and Wesley Matthews will be up next.
That leaves Bufkin seeing most of his rookie season in College Park with the Skyhawks, where he’ll be able to work on his game and improve in other areas on the court. The Skyhawks have a good track record of helping players improve. and Jalen Johnson is the perfect example.
It’ll be good to see how Bufkin looks as the season progresses, and whether it's minutes in College Park or with the Hawks, anything can help the guard’s development in the league.