“I definitely can say for sure I feel like he’s a way better playmaker than [Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry],” Collins told Bally Sports NBA insider Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson on April 10, “and better isolation scorer.”
This was not some bombastic declaration by Collins.
Young is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he led the NBA in total assists while Curry’s career-high for assists per game is just 0.4 more than Young averaged as a rookie in 2017. Of course, Curry has had a far more decorated career – including four NBA titles – even given his five-year head start.
Comparisons to Curry are nothing new for Young, however, with the two training together this past offseason in hopes the latter would pick up on the former’s off-ball habits.
It has not worked and Collins thinks that the comparison doesn’t run very deep.
“Small, light-skinned guard that shoots big threes. The NBA loves to compare. … Trae has definitely pushed himself into his own category,” he told Robinson. “But, obviously, there’s different things that he does better and Steph does better. But I just feel like this point in the league, although they do have similarities in the oohs and ahhs…Trae Young is his own person right now stepping into his own in the league. So, great to be compared with a guy like that – I feel like he feels. But he wants to make his own name.”
That Collins is delivering these remarks is notable if for no other reason than Young is mired in controversial trade rumors for a multitude of reasons.
But Collins was also the one to call out Young’s play a couple of years ago.
Doing that was one of the precursors — along with the firing of Lloyd Pierce and hiring of Nate McMillan as head coach — sparked the 2021 run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, perhaps as a time when Young needs some internal support, he gets it from the longest-tenured Hawk.
John Collins again credits Atlanta Hawks assistant GM Kyle Korver
Collins closed the regular season on a high note, going 8-for-19 from beyond the arc over the final four games (53.6%) and shooting 40% from deep over his last 16 appearances. He shot 24.9% in the 55 games before that.
He once again credited Hawks assistant general manager Kyle Korver for the late-season turnaround.
“He’s one of the best to shoot a basketball in my opinion,” Collins said. “And we’re just working on a bunch of stuff, you know — my release point, how I’m holding the ball. Am I aligned correctly? Am I relaxed? … Sort of just a checklist that I can go through to remind myself of how to be ready when the ball is coming my way.”
“And we’ve been working on it a lot, and honestly myself, I haven’t been shooting the ball the way I wanted to this year. So it’s a blessing for me to have a guy like Kyle in my organization in the gym every day, somebody to come in to say, “Hey man, I trust you. I’ve seen your film, seen your work and I just want to learn from you and I’m all ears and I’m here to learn.” … So it’s just been a blessing to work on shooting with one of the greatest.”
The Hawks certainly need Collins’ ability to stretch the floor against the Heat who did allow opponents to shoot over 36% from deep this season and with Miami now rostering Kevin Love who is a threat from deep and on the boards.