The Atlanta Hawks have the #16 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, but are looking to move up to secure a potential lottery pick. And, they’re willing to trade an unhappy John Collins to make it happen. Both the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers could trade down in the upcoming NBA Draft, but are they willing to take Collins from the Hawks?
The Kings are shopping the #4 pick to the highest bidder. Jaden Ivey from Purdue is the odds favorite to get selected fourth overall, so if any teams love Ivey that much, or want to move up to pick someone else, they’ll have to call the Kings to work out a trade.
The Trail Blazers are rebuilding a new team around Damian Lillard after they gutted the squad prior to the trade deadline. That included dumping their other two best scorers, aside from Lillard, by trading CJ McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans, and sending Norman Powell to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Lillard gave the Trail Blazers a list of players he’d like to see join him in Portland, which includes Deandre Ayton, OG Anunoby, and Collins. The Trail Blazers have the #7 pick in the upcoming draft, which they’d consider utilizing to acquire a veteran who can help the team right now. So, it makes sense that Collins could head out West and join the Trail Blazers if they agree to trade him to the Hawks and swap picks.
Collins: Unhappy about diminished role
If the Hawks trade Collins – who is due $75 million over the next three seasons – it will free up cap space to bring in a free agent who will mesh better with Trae Young.
Unfortunately for Collins, the sun, moon, and stars revolve around Young in Atlanta. While Young saw his scoring role increase, it came at the expense of Collins.
During the last couple of seasons, Collins saw his role in the offense drastically fall off. He attempted 11.9 shots per game last season, which was the second-lowest of his career. His usage rate was only 20.5%, the lowest since his rookie season.
At the peak of his powers, Collins averaged 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game in 2019-20. His numbers dropped off since then. He tried to be the team player and roll with his role change, especially after Nate McMillian took over when the Hawks fired Lloyd Pierce midway through the 2020-21 season. Pierce involved Collins more in the offense, whereas McMillan wants everything to run through Young.
The problem with that is, Young is prone to hog the ball, so you have a Kobe Bryant-like situation where teammates know that Young will shoot first before sharing the rock. For the Hawks’ role players, especially the veterans, they don’t hesitate to shoot because it might be the only time they see the ball during that possession. It ends up breeding a brand of selfish basketball.
That’s ultimately was why the Hawks struggled last season with a 43-39 record one year after advancing to the Eastern Conference finals. Instead of fighting for one of the top seeds in the conference, the Hawks had to secure the #8 seed via the Play-In Tournament.
Check out more NBA trade rumors.