The Atlanta Hawks offense has been a mess through the first 15 games of the NBA season. During the 2021-22 season, the team ranked second in offensive rating and three-point percentage. Although maddeningly inconsistent, last year's squad was a lot of fun on offense.
This season, Atlanta ranks 19th in offensive rating and last in three-point attempts and makes. Everyone paying attention expected a decline in the offense when Atlanta's front office traded outside shooting for defense during the offseason.
However, it's safe to say that no one anticipated a dropoff as sharp as this. Sure, Trae Young is mired in the worst shooting slump of his career. But the front office made its move this summer with the understanding that Bogdan Bogdanovic would be on the floor for most of the season. That still has not happened.
The root of Bogdanovic's knee problems can be traced back to a regular season game against the Charlotte Hornets in January 2021. Bogdanovic suffered an avulsion fracture in his right knee and missed two full months of action. The sharpshooter returned as the catalyst of Atlanta's magical playoff run.
Bogdanovic dealt with knee issues throughout the following season before missing the final playoff game against the Miami Heat in April 2022. In May, Bogdanovic underwent right knee surgery in Southern California.
Of course, fans (and media) did not learn of the procedure until a Serbian National Team doctor broke the news in early June. Dr. Dragan Radovanovic estimated a three-month recovery timeline.
A few days after, the Hawks organization confirmed the reports. The team put out the following statement, "Bogdan Bogdanovic underwent surgery on his right patella tendon to address knee inflammation. He will rehabilitate over the offseason and is expected to make a full recovery in advance of the regular season."
Fast forward to Hawks Media Day in late September, and Hawks general manager Landry Fields said Bogdanovic was nearing the final phase of his recovery. Almost two months have passed, and Bogdanovic has still not practiced with his teammates.
On October 28, team president Travis Schlenk added to the confusion during a television broadcast. Schlenk said, "Tonight was the first night he started playing one-on-one. We're going to start reintegrating him into practices when we get back off this road trip."
One week later, Hawks coach Nate McMillan threw cold water on the idea when the team returned to Atlanta. It has been two weeks since Atlanta returned from the long road trip, and Bogdanovic still is not practicing with the team.
At this point, it is safe to say the Hawks organization is either being extra cautious with Bogdanovic or there was a setback in his recovery. Fans should not expect a straight answer from McMillan. Last March, the veteran coach bragged about withholding information about John Collins' injuries from the media.
What we do know is that it has been nearly six months since Bogdanovic underwent knee surgery. His recovery has taken almost twice as long as originally predicted by Dr. Radovanovic.
Additionally, it will take weeks to ramp up Bogdanovic from one-on-one drills to full scrimmaging to game shape. Fans can hope for Bogdanovic to return in December, but that is not guaranteed.
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