Hawks will start season with only two point guards on roster

It was not the plan. Yet the Hawks will start the regular season with just two point guards on the roster.

There will be a lot of work for starter Dennis Schroder and backup Malcolm Delaney.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said injuries to front-court players made the current roster construction necessary.

“With the injuries, the few nagging things on the front line, at the end of the day you are probably going to be a little short on the bigs or a little short on the point guard,” Budenholzer said Saturday. “We are going with an extra big, more cover on the bigs.”

The Hawks had veteran point guards Jarrett Jack (guaranteed contract) and Will Bynum along with Josh Magette in training camp. One by one, they were released. First Jack in a surprising move, then Bynum and finally Magette on Saturday. In the past, the Hawks have preferred to carry three point guards even if the third played sparingly.

Hawks guard Malcolm Delaney during media day last month. Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton

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Credit: Curtis Compton

The moves were made to cover for injured big men, most notably Tiago Splitter. The primary backup to Dwight Howard will be out until at least the middle of November with a right hamstring strain. Mike Scott has been slowed by left knee soreness. That leaves Kris Humphries, Mike Muscala and Edy Tavares behind Howard. Humphries and Muscala have been playing more power forward this preseason and Tavares still has development to make.

In an emergency, Budenholzer suggested that wings Kent Bazemore, Thabo Sefolosha, Tim Hardaway Jr. and DeAndre Bembry could bring the ball up court in the offensive system.

“With (Bazemore) and the way we play in our motion, we are not as point guard dependent,” Budenholzer said. “All of our wings, even Thabo, DeAndre and even Tim. We’ve used Tim in more pick-and-rolls last (exhibition) game. We’ll just keep an eye on how best to manage the 15 guys.”

Budenholzer also said he doesn’t foresee any changes to the current roster of 15 that will start the regular season on Thursday.

General manager Wes Wilcox said the play of Delaney, an experienced rookie after playing the past five seasons overseas, helped in the final roster decisions.

“Certainly not how we intended this to play out,” Wilcox said. “… One, we’ve been very pleased with the play of Malcolm Delaney. In addition to that, we’ve just had an unusual front line preseason with some of our guys missing some games and Tiago not quite being ready. We had to make the very difficult decision to keep more front line help versus the point guard depth. Certainly, it’s a tough decision but one we felt we had to make.”