The Season and the Future of John Jenkins
We’re taking a look back at the season that was for each member of the Atlanta Hawks, as well as a sneak peek into what the future might hold. Today it’s John Jenkins.
The season: John Jenkins got off to a slow start, understandably in his rookie season. The first-round pick out of Vanderbilt didn’t see a lot of minutes early as coach Larry Drew tried to feel out how he was going to use Jenkins. As the season progressed, however, he became more comfortable in his role as a shooting guard who specialized in stretching defenses with his shooting ability. With an increase in production came an increase in playing time, and Jenkins took advantage, solidifying himself in the rotation.
Jenkins was also the unfortunate benefactor of the Lou Williams ACL injury. Williams, who served as Drew’s first guard off the bench in most games, went down in January, opening the door for Jenkins to fill that roll. Jenkins ended up shooting 45 percent from the field this season and better than 38 percent from three-point range. Drew also noted throughout the season that Jenkins became a better defender. He’s a bit undersized for a shooting guard but played more physical as the season went on.
The future: Jenkins is locked in for next season, and the Hawks hope the rookie continues to develop his game. He’s an excellent shooter, and he’s getting better at coming off screens sharply to create space for himself on shots. That’s something he says he learned from watching teammate Kyle Korver, who is arguably one of the best in the NBA at it. One element he has that Korver doesn’t is an ability to create off the dribble. He’s not great at it, but he showed flashes of being able to get to the rim. If he improves his dribbling skills and can show an ability to finish around the rim, he could blossom into a dangerous guard.
Jenkins will have an interest in Atlanta’s offseason for several reasons. Obviously he’ll be looking at whether or not Danny Ferry re-signs some key guard pieces or decides to try his luck with the draft and free agency. Jenkins could find himself quickly turning into a teacher if any number of the four draft picks are guards. New coach Mike Budenholzer comes from a system that loves spot-up shooters, so that could play into his favor as well.
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