Why the Hawks are in good shape after trading John Collins

Hawks guard Trae Young once relied on John Collins, but Onyeka Okongwu will now have a bigger role on the team.

NBA basketball returns on October 24. We’re counting down the days like seconds on a shot clock — I mean, that’s what we do. Starting Oct. 1, our writers will list 24 storylines for the 2023-24 NBA season.

A new storyline drops every day. Here it is No. 4:

The Hawks let go of big man John Collins this offseason. HereWhy did they win?I regret that decision:


Collins was a positive, warm and beloved presence in and around the Hawks during his six years in Atlanta. He’s also been a trade rumor for the past three. Finally, the Hawks pulled the trigger last summer and sent him to Utah.

He will be missed for the reasons mentioned above. As a player? Not too much. His production has declined each season since 2019-20, when he averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds as a power forward and clearly (at the time) a center. Last season, Collins (13 and six) was a secondary option playing less than 30 minutes, and his 3-point shooting suffered (29%). The time has come. His market value was declining.

The question is, is young John Collins on the Hawks roster? No reflex response, but it really depends on how much Onyeka Okongwu has grown. The No. 6 pick in 2020, the „O” has seen his minutes and spot in the rotation, and he’s even flirted with a double-double — something Collins used to do as a Hawk in his prime.

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There really isn’t a better power forward option on the roster at this point. In fact, the Hawks were soft at times, at least offensively, when they were smaller last season. Jalen Johnson and A.J. They will ostensibly look to Griffin to fill the minutes available since Collins’ departure.

Coach Quin Snyder’s question: Can Okongwu and center Clint Capela stay on the floor together long enough? Also didn’t bring filming, so they couldn’t stretch the floor. Would Atlanta trade Capela and then move the 6-foot-9 Okongwu to the center spot?

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Shawn Powell has covered the NBA for over 25 years. You can email him here, find his archive here and follow him Twitter.

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