From Dominique Wilkins on, the problem with the Atlanta Hawks has been a lack of star power. Since the turn of the millennium, the Hawks have a ton of playoff appearances and had years with incredible coaching and team chemistry, but the nature of the NBA has limited their success.
The Hawks paid Joe Johnson to be their “star”. He was a great player and a joy to watch, but there is a reason the Hawks ended up eating his money. Josh Smith and Al Horford were talented players that the team drafted but far from superstars.
Yea, the Hawks are not that great this year. Star-less Hawks teams have achieved more, but the team is clearly in the midst of the rebuild. With that said, they have a big three of young studs who all have the potential to be the star talent Atlanta has so desperately needed.
John Collins is approaching that level now. His performance in the 2018-19 campaign has cemented himself as an All-Star caliber player in this league, whether the general public recognizes it or not. Collins’ aggressive scoring nature and elite rebounding have transformed him into one of the best young big men in the league. He can easily make the jump to superstardom, and his newfound ability to stretch the floor is an encouraging sign. The icing on the cake is how efficient of a brand of basketball he brings to the court every night.
Trae Young has had his ups and downs, but his three-point shot is coming back to him, and he is showing why he was a top pick in the past draft. The Oklahoma product has flashed the talent to become the best passer in the NBA even when he has struggled shooting. A perfect fit for the Hawks’ fast-paced offense, Young could be a game-changing player in future years. There’s a real chance he is averaging a double-double for the foreseeable future.
Kevin Huerter has come along in recent weeks and displayed why some went as far as to compare him to Klay Thompson in last year’s Draft. Huerter had a coming out party against the Sixers and has proved to be one of the top young outside scorers in the league. He has made a massive leap since being inserted in Atlanta’s starting lineup, and while I am not sure his upside is quite as high as Trae and John’s, it is still approaching the ceiling.
Many fans are not happy to see how well Luka Doncic is performing for Dallas. However, when looking at the picks and the value gotten from them, Travis Schlenk has done an A+ job scouting talent as the Hawks’ GM. It is clear he has been trying to emulate Golden State’s formula, not only in style of play but in terms of draft value. The change in culture was much needed for the Hawks, even if it entails a lengthy process. Hitting on both lottery picks this summer would be a critical step in the Hawks finally becoming legitimate NBA contenders, but that is still years away.
Enjoy the flashes now.