The Atlanta Hawks had an exceptionally interesting 2021 season.
We saw them look like a disappointing, potential lottery team.
Then they transitioned into a playoff team once Nate McMillan was promoted.
However, the most unexpected result from their season was making it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
In order to make it that far, the Hawks went on a historic run.
They knocked off the New York Knicks, who had home-court advantage.
They followed that performance to knock off the one seed, Philadelphia 76ers, in the second round.
Two wins away from making it to the NBA Finals is a major success story.
The Hawks had a decision to make this offseason.
That was if they were going to bring back John Collins, or not.
Collins signed a big extension and is now positioned to be the sidekick to superstar, Trae Young.
Restricted free agent F John Collins has agreed to a five-year, $125M deal to stay with the Atlanta Hawks, @excelbasketball agents Sean Kennedy and Jeff Schwartz tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 4, 2021
However, the question is if he is the man for that role.
Collins is a nice, young player, but is not a second guy on a contender.
Will He Be An All-Star?
Young is by far the best player on this Hawks team.
He is their franchise star and proved that in the playoffs.
Granted, Young didn’t make the All-Star Game this year, but he was still an All-Star caliber player.
His numbers are always astronomical, regardless of the accolades.
Collins has also not received a ton of accolades, but maybe that is who he is.
The numbers he has posted the last few years are pretty good for a young player like Collins.
John Collins last 2 seasons:
He is the only player averaging 18+ PPG on 50/40/80 in that span. pic.twitter.com/Bi7l6EcCzS
— StatMuse (@statmuse) August 4, 2021
However, his numbers are not on the level for an All-Star.
His case would be for the Hawks to be a top-two team in the league and he fills in the Khris Middleton role.
The likelihood of that is slim.
The Hawks need someone that can be a legit star next to Young, if they want to take a step forward.
However, Collins does not seem to fit that mold.
We saw the miraculous run from the Hawks in the playoffs.
Young proved to the rest of the NBA that he is a legitimate superstar in the making.
Collins did not show up on most nights, unfortunately.
Throughout the run, Collins only averaged about 14 points per game, while only taking 10 shots.
His rebounding was solid, as that stood at eight rebounds per game.
That is fine for the fourth-best player on a contender, but his new contract screams out that he should be a star.
He is scheduled to make $25 million next season.
That is a hefty price for someone who put up those numbers in the postseason.
Collins has the talent, but it might just go so far.
The Hawks may need to look for other options if they want to be contenders in the Eastern Conference, and all of the NBA.
They needed to retain him to keep the asset.
However, he is not the ideal sidekick for Young.