Hawks’ Nate McMillan reacts to AJ Griffin’s first career start

Hawks’ Nate McMillan reacts to AJ Griffin’s first career start

Atlanta Hawks head coach Nate McMillan thought AJ Griffin was productive in his first career start on Monday and said the rookie performed well in a loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Griffin produced 17 points, three steals, two rebounds and one assist in the 114-102 loss. He went 7-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range, in a season-high 36 minutes of action as the Hawks dropped to 10-7 on the season.

With the Hawks down starter De’Andre Hunter, the team turned to Griffin. He shot well in the contest and was able to get to his spots on the court. He also had a couple of easy baskets in transition and was able to get into the paint, as well.

McMillan liked how Griffin played on both ends of the floor.

He did a good job. He made some shots out there and was able to make some 3s and be productive. The challenge was going to be for him on the defensive end of the floor but I thought he has been playing the way he has been playing — with confidence. He is going to make some mistakes but I thought they were aggressive mistakes. I thought he played OK.

The outing by Griffin was his second-straight game scoring 17 points. He reached that mark on Saturday in a win over the Toronto Raptors after scoring eight points alone in overtime, including the game-winning layup as time expired.

The 16th pick has seen a larger role of late with the Hawks and is taking advantage of his newfound opportunity. His 17 points were his second-highest in a game, trailing only his career-high 24 points on Nov. 7. It was only the fourth time Griffin logged more than 20 minutes.

Griffin appears to be solidifying his role in the rotation and could continue to see expanded minutes based on his early production. He is performing well and could be in store for a strong rookie campaign.


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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire