Hawks end minicamp early

Atlanta guard Trae Young directs a play during team practice Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, in Atlanta. It's ben six-and-a-half months since the team gathered together.

Credit: Atlanta Hawks

Credit: Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks are ending minicamp five days early, according to coach Lloyd Pierce, with Thursday marking their final day of team activity.

Minicamp began Sept. 21, with the Hawks going back and forth between a hotel and their practice facility, and could have gone until Oct. 6, according to rules agreed upon by the league and the Players Association. There also was a period of individual workouts and daily COVID-19 testing that ran from Sept. 14-20. Individual workouts have been allowed since May, and will be permitted again, after taking a mandated two weeks off.

“We wanted to maximize the opportunity that we had and to compete at the level that we’re doing, to be in a new environment and situation, we wanted to do what made most sense, and that’s why we’re ending today,” Pierce said.

According to a person familiar with the situation, ending a few days early always has been the plan, with a focus on injury maintenance and prevention and keeping players engaged throughout the voluntary workouts.

The “injury maintenance” refers to not wanting to overdo it with Clint Capela, Skal Labissiere and Kevin Huerter. Capela is healthy but this was the first time he had played 5-on-5 with the team since getting over a nagging heel injury, same with Labissiere but this is his first time scrimmaging since getting over a left knee chondral injury. Huerter had sprained his left ankle during workouts a month ago and was limited during minicamp, but he said Monday he doesn’t think it will be a big issue moving forward.

Team bonding was the main goal throughout the minicamp, and Pierce thought they achieved that. Per Pierce, the team took Saturday and Tuesday off from their usual two-hour, intensive practices, but otherwise took advantage of the one hour of 5-on-5 activity permitted per day.

“I thought our guys were tremendous," Pierce said. "I thought they truly maximized the experience. You can overstay your welcome, and I thought we had it planned out extremely well to where it didn’t get still. Every day when we left the court, guys were wanting more and not ready to stop and I think that’s a good sign.

"You want to compete, you want to compete at a high level, and you don’t want to compete until you’re fatigued. You want to compete knowing that you left everything on the court and when it ends, you feel good about that, not ‘Let’s go and let’s keep going,' and I think we did the same thing off the court. We had enough activity to get us out of the hotel but to get us together.”

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