Trae Young Says He Didn't Know Most of His Teammates amid Hawks' COVID OutbreakDecember 30, 2021
If fans are having trouble keeping up with the many new players being cycled in and out of the NBA due to health and safety protocols, just imagine trying to be a player not knowing who will be suiting up on any given night.
Speaking to The Athletic's Chris Kirschner after Wednesday's 131-117 loss to the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young admitted he arrived at the team's shootaround before tipoff "not knowing most of my teammates."
The NBA has adjusted its rules in-season so that teams can sign players under a hardship exception that allows them to exceed the traditional 15-player roster limit. The move was done in order to accommodate potential absences for injury or health and safety protocols.
As of Wednesday, per Gilbert McGregor of Sporting News, there are 129 people in the NBA's health and safety protocols between players and head coaches.
The Hawks currently have a league-high 12 players unavailable because of protocols, including starters John Collins, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter.
Atlanta's starting five against the Bulls included Young, Chaundee Brown, Cam Reddish, Skylar Mays and Clint Capela.
Mays, a second-round draft pick in 2020, did appear in 33 games off the bench as a rookie. He has started three of the past five games for the Hawks.
Brown, an undrafted rookie out of Michigan, signed a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in November. He appeared in two games with the Lakers earlier this month before being waived Dec. 21. Atlanta then signed him to a 10-day contract.
Three of the Hawks' five bench players who played against the Bulls have a combined 11 games of NBA experience, including Wednesday's game.
A total of 23 players have already appeared in a game for the Hawks this season. Only 18 players appeared in a game with the team during the entire 2020-21 season.