Atlanta Hawks guard Brandon Goodwin (0) brings the ball up the court during the first half Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, against the Magic in Orlando, Fla.
Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP
Photo: Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

Brandon Goodwin starts in place of Trae Young vs. Nets

Young will miss the start with left hamstring pain. According to Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce, Young’s hamstring was sore when the team practiced Saturday and he received treatment, but was still sore when arriving in New York. 

Fortunately for the Hawks, after struggling without a reliable backup point guard for the first portion of the season, two-way player Brandon Goodwin has emerged in recent weeks as the go-to option behind Young and will start Sunday alongside Cam Reddish, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter and John Collins. 

This will be the first career NBA start for Goodwin, who is from Norcross. And he’s in for a big challenge, matching up against Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, who is back from injury and in the starting lineup. 

But Goodwin is embracing the opportunity to start. (Update: Goodwin tallied eight points, four rebounds and three assists in Hawks’ 108-86 loss.)

“No challenge is too big,” Goodwin said. “It’s basketball. You take it and you embrace it. You make a mistake, you keep going. That’s what coach (Pierce) has taught me. It’s not anything about starting or coming off the bench, it’s about playing for your teammates and having fun.”

Goodwin has been getting more consistent playing time since the Hawks’ win Dec. 30 in Orlando. Young was out with an ankle sprain and Goodwin registered 21 points and six assists. Over the past six games, Goodwin has averaged 10.3 points per game and has prevented the Hawks’ offense from faltering when Young is off the court. He’s shooting 41.7% from 3-point range overall this season. 

In the Hawks’ loss to the Wizards Friday, Goodwin scored 12 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.

“Brandon, he’s been everything, everything we needed in a backup point guard,” Pierce said pregame Sunday. “He’s taken advantage of the opportunity. Shooting over 40% from 3, he’s starting to get more and more minutes, he’s providing some toughness. He had a great fourth quarter the other night… I’m happy for him just because of the confidence he’s starting to gain and the opportunities he’s getting. But more importantly, he’s playing well and he deserves it.”

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