Despite signing a five-year, $125 million contract with the organization, it seems altogether likely that John Collins will be on the move before the draft on Thursday. The 24-year-old forward has been a fixture for the organization since his selection in the 2017 draft by then-first-year General Manager Travis Schlenk.
According to reports, Collins could land in either Phoenix or Portland with draft selections coming as compensation. That, according to DeShaun Tate, would be a mistake for the Hawks.
Andy Bunker asked DeShaun Tate directly if there was a player worth trading Hawks veteran John Collins for and he was just as direct with his response:
"Nope. No, I don't think that," Tate said to some chuckles from the Midday Show for the candor of his response. "I don't think you want to get younger if you're the Atlanta Hawks, I think you want to go with some vets and some experience."
Collins is coming off a season to forget after signing his lucrative extension. He averaged 16.2 points per game this past season on 52.6 percent shooting, both a regression from his career averages. Regardless, a rookie doesn't figure to make this team better next season.
What will make the Atlanta Hawks better in 2022 is quite clear to DeShaun Tate:
"We sit around and look at these teams that are successful and some of the reasons why are because of what they have in that 'dog', somebody with that edge," Tate said. "When you look at some of the successful teams like the Celtics with Marcus Smart, the Heat with Jimmy Butler, or the Warriors with Draymond Green, some of those 'tweeners are willing to step in the face of opposing teams (when they disrespect Trae Young)."
The Atlanta Hawks need to focus on finding developed players to put around Trae Young and build out this roster with toughness. A rookie, even one selected in the lottery, is not going to be able to come in and make that impact right away. Sure, the Atlanta Hawks could be better a few years down the road, but how much longer are players like Trae Young willing to wait around for that to come to fruition?
Regardless, Thursday will be another important step in whatever direction the Hawks are looking to go.