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Why is Sharife Cooper not playing for the Atlanta Hawks?

Will the Atlanta Hawks make a postseason call-up for the rookie?

You can’t blame yourself if you’re not following the College Park Skyhawks, the Atlanta Hawks‘ G-League affiliate. However, something unique is happening in College Park. Thanks in large part to freshman Sharife Cooper, the Skyhawks have won nine straight games.

Cooper had a career-high 42 points on 14-19 FG (7-9 3PT), 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 4 steals in last night’s game. He also nailed the game-winning three-pointer. It’s safe to argue that the former Auburn Tiger is deserving of an NBA roster spot.

ALSO READ: Jackson Mahomes TikTok Collab Rumors Have Been Quashed By JuJu Smith-Schuster

Why is Sharife Cooper not playing for the Atlanta Hawks?

Will Hawks GM Travis Schlenk and head coach Nate McMillan, though, give Cooper the chance? Despite the fact that there is an available roster place, the answer is most likely no. McMillan has stated repeatedly that he like his nine-man rotation. The Hawks have Delon Wright, Lou Williams, and Skylar Mays behind Trae Young at the 1-spot.

This is as frustrating for Hawks fans as it is for Cooper, I’m sure. This season, the Hawks have seldom employed any rookies. Jalen Johnson has 111 total minutes played, while Cooper has 35, which ranks 69th and 85th among rookies, respectively. Every other team (including contenders) has placed a greater emphasis on rookie development than the Hawks.

On Monday night, Johnson showed us what he could do in the league. The former Duke Blue Devil made four of his first five shots in the first five minutes of the game before finishing with 12 points (6-8 FG) in 17 minutes. For a 20-year-old, this is quite impressive.

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Why is Sharife Cooper not playing for the Atlanta Hawks?

I appreciate that playing rookies throughout the regular season’s final stretch and the Play-In Tournament is not ideal. However, it underlines a missed opportunity for the Hawks to give these young players additional regular-season experience.

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