Atlanta’s rookie Kobe Bufkin has shown flashes of potential in his limited time with the Hawks

Kobe Bufkin Hawks pic
Kobe Bufkin Hawks pic

At 26-32 this season, the Atlanta Hawks are fighting to stay in at least the play-in tournament. All-star PG Trae Young tore a ligament in his left pinkie. He had surgery earlier this week. That effectively leaves Young out for the rest of the 2023-24 season. With that, the Hawks are asking virtually every player to step up and increase their production. 

Atlanta is even turning to two-way players to come in and give the team quality production. The Hawks’ first-round pick Kobe Bufkin has done that in his recent games. Bufkin was the 15th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. He’s been in the G League for most of the season but is getting his chance now. Can the 20-year-old continue to play well in the Hawks’ last 24 of the regular season in the minutes he gets?

Who is Kobe Bufkin and how has he been a positive addition to Atlanta’s rotation?

Not every first-round pick takes the same path to jump-starting their career. Certain players are unquestioned starters from day one. Others have to work for an opportunity just to get the chance to play in an NBA game. It’s been that way with Hawks’ first-round pick Kobe Bufkin in 2023-24. He’s played a majority of the season in the G League but has appeared in seven games for Atlanta. In those seven contests, Bufkin is averaging (2.6) points, (1.3) rebounds, and (1.3) assists per game.

While those numbers do not jump off the page, it’s the effort level and intensity Bufkin is bringing to both sides of the ball. In their last game vs. the Jazz, Bufkin had his best performance yet as a pro. The 20-year-old had seven points, two rebounds, five assists, and two steals in a win vs. Utah. It’s a small sample size but Bufkin looks like he could take on a much bigger role next season for the Hawks.

This season, Bufkin has gone back and forth between the NBA and the G League. He’s played 14 games with Atlanta’s affiliate team and is playing at a high level. Bufkin averages (23.6) points, (5.4) rebounds, (5,9) assists, and (1.4) steals in (32.0) minutes per game. The Hawks would love to see Bufkin be able to give them even half of that production next season. The rookie has shown a lot of potential in 2023-24 and should have a chance to earn more minutes in the last 24 games of the regular season.

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