Smokescreen season has made its long-awaited arrival in the NBA as the draft rapidly approaches. The Atlanta Hawks have been involved in numerous trade rumors over the course of the past few weeks, with much of it beginning to pick up steam in the last few days. The John Collins trade specifically has garnered a lot of attention as the Hawks have reportedly been interested in moving up in the NBA Draft on Thursday.
The Midday Show with Andy and Randy discussed the trade speculation on Tuesday and how the addition of a draft pick doesn't make the Hawks better right now.
"If it's John Collins and the sixteenth pick to Sacramento for Harrison Barnes and their pick (fourth overall), then you didn't get better," Andy Bunker claimed on the Midday Show Tuesday afternoon. "I mean you got a better pick, but are we talking about development?"
This is a team that is only a year removed from the Eastern Conference Finals and the conversation about building into a perennial contender around Trae Young. The conversation has certainly shifted here, but there needs to be a sense of urgency around the organization.
"We're also talking about Trae Young entering into a max contract!" Bunker said, "I agree, in the background, you gotta be developing guys, but you're trading John Collins, moving up to get a draft pick, and talking about development?"
Jalen Johnson was at the center of this situation just last season.
The Hawks selected him 20th overall last season, but he only appeared in 22 games that came mostly as a result of the COVID outbreak after Christmas. For as talented a player as he was (and is), he was not counted on to play serious minutes down the stretch.
"If I drafted you, I need you to be playing," Randy said. "I go back to what Miami did (when they drafted Tyler Herro out of Kentucky). Herro came in here balling!"
Sure, there are a few examples of players selected to good teams outside of the draft lottery that have contributed on a nightly basis, but that's far from the norm.
"But that's my thing," Randy said. "We keep talking about John Collins and trade, John Collins and trade. But what are we bringing back? 'Cause, you gotta bring something back that's worthwhile!"
Perhaps the acquired assets are going to be used in a package deal for a veteran player, but the team is certainly going to be one of the more interesting ones to follow in the days leading up to Thursday's draft.