The Atlanta Hawks will miss the playoffs for the first time in a decade and, even if that was virtually assured after the team’s activity during the summer of 2017, it is still a bit of a strange reality. In fact, the Hawks are in the midst of the ping-pong ball race with several additional teams and Atlanta has come under some fire for resting healthy players, including veteran wing Kent Bazemore, at times over the last few weeks.
However, Bazemore suffered a legitimate (and visible) injury during Atlanta’s home loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, removing himself from game action during live play and heading straight to the locker room with what the team called a knee sprain. On Monday, Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Bazemore’s injury is actually a bone bruise and, as a result, he will be sidelined for “several weeks.”
The Hawks have only 15 games remaining in their season and, given the team’s current 20-47 record, there is little incentive to bring Bazemore back before the end of the campaign. Even if the reported timetable proves to be on the pessimistic side, Atlanta’s final game is scheduled for April 10 (at home against the Sixers) and, simply put, Bazemore is one of the team’s most valuable players.
The Hawks later confirmed that Bazemore’s season was done.
Bazemore is having a tremendous season on an individual basis (including a bounce-back to more than 39 percent shooting from three-point range) and, in some ways, this kind of reasonably short timetable is a positive. Without him, the Hawks may have a claim on “worst team in the NBA” status and, for teams jockeying for position against them in the lottery race, this is certainly an injury of note.