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Hawks’ Kevin Huerter out, Kent Bazemore to start for the first time since December

Kevin Huerter, Kent Bazemore, Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks announced an injury-related change to their starting lineup for Friday’s game against the Detroit Pistons. Veteran guard Kent Bazemore will start next to Trae Young in the backcourt, with rookie sharpshooter Kevin Huerter missing the game with an ankle injury.

Kevin Huerter was healthy heading into the All-Star break, indicating he suffered the injury at some point in the past week. Coach Lloyd Pierce said it’s also unlikely that the 2018 first-round pick plays in Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, even though he suffered no structural damage to his ankle.

The Maryland product has been a pleasant surprise this season after many worried about Atlanta making him the 19th overall selection in June’s draft.

Huerter is averaging 9.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while knocking down a solid 38.9 percent of his 3-point attempts.

At 6-foot-7, he has the length necessary to get off clean looks against most any defender, and he has proven to be a far more versatile jump-shooter than what the pre-draft reports suggested. In time, it’s easy to imagine Huerter establishing himself as one of the league’s most dangerous marksmen.

Kent Bazemore, meanwhile, re-enters the starting lineup after last opening a game for the Hawks on December 29th, when he sprained his right ankle in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The seventh-year veteran returned to the lineup after missing Atlanta’s next 14 games, but lost his starting spot to Taurean Prince. Bazemore is averaging 13.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 25.5 minutes per game this season, shooting only 31.8 percent from beyond the arc.