Is Jalen Johnson ready to start for the Atlanta Hawks if John Collins is out?

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks have left themselves a little thin at the power forward position. Sure, they have John Collins as the starting four but after that, the options are a little limited. What happens if his finger flares up, it still looks so bad that the team took pictures down from social media. He could also get another injury that keeps him out for an extended period.

There are options on the bench but none are really good as a starter. Onyeka Okongwu plays the backup pivot role but despite vowing to come back with a jump shot, he does not space the floor very much. On top of that, it leaves their second unit a little weak defensively.

Then there is Frank Kaminsky who is offensively gifted being a 7-footer who can shoot the ball well from 3-point land. Unfortunately, his presence on the defensive end just leaves too many gaps and will certainly hurt the Hawks at that end of the floor.

The only real option for the Atlanta Hawks is Jalen Johnson.

While Jalen Johnson is the best option given his skillset, the question remains, is he ready? Johnson spent most of last season developing in the G League. He did play towards the end of last season with the Hawks when Collins was out injured, however, he simply ran out of luck and got injured at the wrong time.

Johnson had two games where he scored more than ten points and two games where he had five rebounds or more. The thing is that Johnson did that as part of the second unit. Danilo Gallinari filled in admirably for Collins when he was out in the starting unit and he was traded for Dejounte Murray during the offseason.

Johnson has never started a game in the NBA, in fact, he has only played 22 games in total. In 18 of these games, Johnson played less than ten minutes of game time which is not enough to assess how he will go as a starter.

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To put it simply, Johnson is not ready to be a starter for the Hawks yet. If he can get some good game time for the Hawks to start the season, then he has a chance of being good enough to start some games for the team which is hopefully all that they need this season.