When the Atlanta Hawks acquired Trae Young in 2018, they did so under the assumption that he would be a franchise centerpiece.
The organization’s confidence in Young was rewarded when he earned unanimous First-Team All-Rookie honors and finished as a runner-up to Luka Doncic for Rookie of the Year. Since then, the former Oklahoma standout has consistently been one of the most potent offensive players in the entire league, seemingly further solidifying him as the Hawks’ biggest star.
That said, some players on the team apparently aren’t on board with Atlanta building around Young.
According to Chris Kirschner and Sam Amick of The Athletic, one of the people who has taken exception to all the organizational Young hoopla is big man John Collins.
This past Tuesday, one day after suffering back-to-back losses against the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks, the Hawks held a meeting where Collins expressed frustration with how the team’s offense was being run. Specifically, he didn’t like how it was being handled in relation to Young.
“According to three sources who were either in the session or had knowledge of what was said, Collins raised several issues about the way these Hawks were functioning with Young at the helm,” the report noted.
Collins also repeatedly stated that the Hawks needed “to get into offensive sets more quickly and to limit all those early shot-clock attempts that leave his teammates on the outside looking in.”
Collins’ general frustration is understandable. After starting the season off 4-1, Atlanta has cooled significantly – losing games to the likes of the Cavs, Knicks and Charlotte Hornets. A big reason why the team has struggled is because, inexplicably, the offense at random points suddenly begins to stagnate. This is due in no small part to Young’s playing style.
So far this season Young is averaging 25.9 points, 8.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. Collins is second on the team in both scoring and rebounding with 17.9 points and 7.5 boards per outing.
Because this seems to be a genuine disagreement on the proper way to play between the Hawks’ two biggest stars, it will likely be taken seriously by the front office and coaching staff in a way it probably wouldn’t have been had some random bench-warmer taken issue with Young.
Will any substantive changes be made as a result of Collins’ critique?
Time will tell.
Interestingly enough, Collins isn’t the first person to take exception to how Young is playing this season. Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash and Grayson Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies have also been irked by him, albeit for different reasons.
If the Hawks can find a way to right the ship and start winning games again, all this chatter will likely be forgotten. However, if the losses continue to pile up, the drama will only intensify.