DeShaun Tate says AJ Griffin “is definitely in the rotation” for the Hawks this season

DeShaun Tate explains to Chris Goforth why he believes AJ Griffin will be in the Hawks rotation this season

The NBA Draft has come and gone, and the Atlanta Hawks drafted someone who they didn’t necessarily think was going to be there at 16 in AJ Griffin. AJ certainly didn’t expect to fall to the Hawks at 16 saying “I thought I was going early, but you know that motivates me even more.” AJ Griffin was a projected lottery pick, and maybe even a top ten pick going into the draft, but fell to the Hawks just outside of the lottery.

Now, we know previous Hawks draft picks don’t give Hawks fans a lot of hope that AJ Griffin or their 51st overall pick Tyrese Martin will see a lot of playing time in the rookie campaigns. The Atlanta Hawks 20th overall draft pick last year, Jalen Johnson, only appeared in 22 games last season, and did not start in any games. The Hawks’ 48th overall pick in 2021, Sharife Cooper, appeared in less than that, only checking in for the Hawks in 13 games last season.

Even the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Onyeka Okongwu, didn’t see much of the floor in the first half of his rookie season with the Hawks until the front office had to nudge the coaching staff a little bit so their sixth overall pick could get some playing time. However, DeShaun Tate thinks things can and will be different for the Atlanta Hawks’ 2022 first round pick, and he explained why Friday night on The Jon Chuckery Show, featuring Chris Goforth.

When Chris asked Tate if AJ Griffin will be in the Hawks rotation this year Tate confidently said “Absolutely, absolutely I don’t even think that it’s a question. I think that he’s definitely in the rotation, he deserves to be in the rotation, people will see why he deserves to be in the rotation. I still think the Atlanta Hawks have needs to fill defensively, vocal leadership, the glue, things like that, some toughness, some things like that, but they did themselves very well last night that’s for sure, he’ll definitely be in that rotation, and he’s even going to push guys like Kevin Huerter over the course of the next year or two believe that.”

With AJ Griffin being more of a three point specialist, who with some good coaching and development, could turn into a really solid 3 and D type of player, and while you can never have too much shooting, defense is definitely the area the Hawks need to show major improvement in if they want to get back to making deep postseason runs. If AJ Griffin brings his elite three point shooting along with some improved defensive skills to Summer League and training camp I think it is safe to say he will contribute for the Hawks this year in that defined role.