Atlanta Hawks: Now that John Collins has the bag, he needs to produce

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks finally came to a contract agreement with John Collins. Some might say that it is a year late and in Collins’ mind a few dollars short, but it finally happened. It is about $50 million less than Trae Young‘s extension but that seems about right given their differing impacts on the team.

The difference between the two was very evident during the playoffs. It took an injury to stop Young from influencing the contest. Yes, the Bucks did manage to slow him down for one game, but that was certainly an exception to the norm in the playoffs.

Collins had one game in the New York Knicks series where he failed to score. Yes, he got into foul trouble but as he is so important to the team that he needed to produce. Instead, he kept fouling and had to sit down. He cannot afford to have brain fades like these as the team’s top earner for next season.

The Atlanta Hawks need a switched on John Collins

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There is no doubt that Collins is a prodigious offensive talent. He has been shooting the 3-ball well over the past two seasons, going at 40.1 percent in 2019-20, and 39.9 percent in the 2020-21 season. He has also shot the ball at more than 80 percent from the free-throw line for the past two seasons.

While these numbers look great, the problem is that Collins goes missing from games. He can go entire quarters without attacking the rim or putting up a 3-ball. It is like his confidence comes and goes when he is on the court. He is improving on defense but is still a work in progress.

For a player who is going to collect $125 million over the next five seasons, Collins needs to be more aggressive and be a true second option for Young. Collins is going to take home the highest salary on the squad next season and the second-highest the season after when Young’s extension kicks in.

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Collins has been of the belief that he is a max contract player for a couple of seasons now. It is one thing to believe it, it is quite another to be that player. Now that he has the bag, Collins needs to prove that he is worth it.