Atlanta Hawks Pass or pursue John Collins in free agency

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

By far the toughest decision facing the Atlanta Hawks this offseason is whether they should pass or pursue John Collins in free agency. Famously the four-year man out of Wake Forest turned down a rookie extension which would have netted him $90 million over four years.

All season there has been speculation over whether he will re-sign with the team for the long-term. At the trade deadline, the Hawks even stated what they would be willing to get in return for the power forward. Whether what they were asking was reasonable or not is another story.

Collins had some massive performances this season. He had his career-high in scoring against the self-proclaimed best defender to ever play the game, Draymond Green. The thing is, when Collins was aggressive, the Hawks were hard to beat. When he was not, the rest of the team had to carry his load. It was a very Jekyll and Hyde experience for the season.

Should the Atlanta Hawks pay John Collins max-money?

Collins bet on himself last offseason. It was a good bet back then with the level of cap space available for good players this summer meaning that players like Collins will be overpaid. As the season went on, and the veterans the Hawks signed showed their worth, this bet did not look as good.

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The reason for that is the Hawks showed that they could win without Collins. His 20 point/10 rebound season was in the mirror because that was on a losing team. This team was winning and Collins was not the key man. Trae Young was maturing and his narrative was being rewritten with the Hawks qualifying for the playoffs and then by what he did in the postseason.

Bogdan Bogdanovic showed that he was everything that NBA scouts had talked about before he entered the league. All he needed was a good organization and a good coach to help unlock his talent at this level.

However, when you look back through the games the Hawks lost during the playoffs, Collins was ineffective. They lost one game against the New York Knicks when Collins was in foul trouble from the opening minutes. The question still remains about Collins and his defense.

In one of the final games of the Eastern Conference Finals, Jrue Holiday backed Collins down a couple of meters in the post, getting an easy bucket. A 6’3” 205-pound point guard backed down a 6’9” 235-pound power forward with ease. That should not happen, even with the difference in levels of experience.

dark. Next. Why John Collins may return for the money he turned down

So, the question remains, should the Atlanta Hawks re-sign John Collins. At his best, he is a game-winner, anything else, he is just another good player. The difference between the two is still too great to justify max money.

Verdict: Pursue at $18-$20 million a season.