The Atlanta Hawks traded John Collins to the Utah Jazz in a move that was a move to dump salary. It worked, in that they managed to clear their books, to add the money that they offered Dejounte Murray. This clearly shows that the Hawks are going down the path of the All-Star backcourt of Murray and Trae Young.
While the Hawks made a few further moves, signing Wesley Matthews and trading for Patty Mills, they still have a hole at the starting power forward position. In the six seasons that Collins filled that role, he averaged 15.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.0 blocks in 29.3 minutes per game.
While he had a relative downturn in his production last season, Collins was still an important member of the starting unit for the Hawks. His shooting percentage from the perimeter was also down, probably due to his finger injury, but he still contributed in so many ways. So, the question is, who on the Atlanta Hawks roster to turn to in order to fill the shoes of John Collins now that he is gone?
Atlanta Hawks player to step up No. 1) AJ Griffin.
The Hawks’ first-round pick from last season should get more playing time in his sophomore year. He showed some of what he was capable of last season in 72 games, averaging 8.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 0.6 steals in 19.5 minutes per game.
While Griffin is undersized at 6’6″, when the Hawks go small-ball, Griffin can play the four. He is a solid, willing defender who is a natural shooter at the other end of the court. Both of these skillsets are going to be crucial for the second unit which is the group Griffin is going to spend most of his time playing with.