Hawks wing player DeAndre’ Bembry is back on the active roster after spending most of six weeks on the injured list. Now he gets a chance for a positive conclusion to what’s been a disappointing second professional season.
To do that, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said Bembry will have to show that he can stay on the court.
“No doubt staying healthy would be a huge part of it,” Budenholzer said. “It seems it’s the most fundamental thing. I think he’s got to take care of himself and find a way to stay healthy.”
The Hawks selected Bembry No. 21 overall in the 2017 NBA draft. Bembry was expected to have a bigger role this season after he played in just 38 games as a rookie but his injury woes began last summer.
The Hawks announced on Sept. 13 that a strained right triceps injury would keep Bembry out four to six weeks. Bembry beat that timeline by making it back to the court Oct. 6 for the first of his first three exhibition games played.
However, Bembry suffered a right wrist fracture during the regular-season opener at Dallas.
“The wrist thing was just kind of (unlucky),” Budenholzer said.
Bembry returned to the court in mid-November but couldn’t hold a spot in Budenholzer’s rotation. He’s struggled shooting the ball (33-for-88 for a 37.5 field-goal percentage) and with a high turnover rate (4.2 turnovers per 36 minutes).
The Hawks sent to Bembry to their G-League affiliate in Erie in late December. He played in three games there before developing problems with his left groin. Bembry sat out for nearly three weeks, played 13 minutes for Erie in a Jan. 19 game and went back to the injured list with what the Hawks said was Grade 1 strain to his left adductor muscle.
Budenholzer said that as Bembry worked back from the groin injury he put in extra shooting work with assistant coach Ben Sullivan.
“He’s got to continue to work and grow as a shooter and let it fly,” Budenholzer said. “Decision-maker: when to drive, when not to drive, seeing things. Defensively, I think he can be a really unique defender but there’s an effort and a focus and attention to detail that all young players — and DeAndre is not any different — they’ve got to improve in those areas.
“He’s still very, very young in his career. It’s a good thing that he’s got a lot of things to improve on. I don’t want to say it in a negative way. It will be exciting when he is healthy and can get back on the court.”