Lin progressing; Pierce won’t name starting point guard

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Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk discusses the team's philosophy of rebuilding with young players.

Lloyd Pierce smiled at the attempt to tip his hand.

The Hawks coach is not saying who will be the team’s starting point guard when the 2018-19 NBA season begins.

Or perhaps he doesn’t know yet.

On the roster are veteran Jeremy Lin and first-round draft pick Trae Young. Lin is coming back from a ruptured patella tendon of the right knee suffered in the season-opening game with the Nets last season. Young was the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft, a significant investment by the Hawks in the position.

“Competition, that’s the beauty,” Pierce said when asked who might be the starter with training camp beginning next week.

Pierce said Lin has been in Atlanta for about a month and participating in open gym workouts, where the coaching staff can watch play but not instruct.

“He is just getting himself situated in the city and recovering from an injury last year,” Pierce said. “He looks great. He progressing at the pace he is supposed to. We’ll find out a whole lot when we start on Tuesday and how much he can keep progressing. Training camp is until we get to Oct. 17 (the regular-season opener). We’ll know a lot in the next month of where he is and where that competition is and where it’s going to go.”

The Hawks acquired Lin in a trade on July 13 and has played just 37 games the past two seasons due to injury.

In addition to Lin recovering from a significant injury, Young only turned 20 this week. Pierce said he has spoken to both guards. The message to Lin was to be part of the team, grow himself and grow Young.

Young was also non-committal when asked about who should start.

“We’ll just wait and see what happens,” Young told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in August. “I don’t get caught up in all of that. I know I’m going to get a chance to play and do what I do on the court. I just need to control what I can control.”

The Hawks open training camp on Tuesday. The first exhibition game is Oct. 1 against the Pelicans at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion. Perhaps Pierce’s hand will be tipped then.

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