The Hawks overachieved this year. After struggling the first half of the season with a plethora of injuries and some locker room drama, they turned it around and reached the Eastern Conference Finals. Still, there are some things that must be addressed in the Hawks offseason.
Hawks offseason 2021
This season is a huge win for Atlanta. A lot of people counted them out in the playoffs but they proved them wrong. To contend again next season, there are four key things that must be addressed over the summer…
Determine the fate of Collins
A season ago, John Collins looked like the Hawks’ second star. His size, athleticism, and offensive versatility made him one of the best power forwards in the league. He’s an easy 20-10 guy on every given night.
However, his production and shooting percentages dipped this season due to the arrivals of Clint Capela, Danilo Gallinari, and Bogdan Bogdanovic. The added depth made Collins take a reduced offensive role. Still, he was an important piece in Atlanta’s success this season.
The question is: Should the Hawks re-sign him? And is he worth the max? They may be reluctant to give him the max after his up-and-down performance in the playoffs. Earlier in the season, it was reported that Collins rejected Atlanta’s 4-year $90 million contract extension. He was looking for a max contract projected to be $125 million.
If the Hawks couldn’t match it, there are a lot of teams who would want him on their roster. A sign-and-trade scenario is possible as well so they can get something in return, rather than letting him walk away.
Determining what to do with Collins is a number one priority in the Hawks offseason.
Time to give Young his max
In the playoffs, Young averaged 29.8 points and 9.5 assists per game and overcame the gritty Knicks and the championship-favorites Sixers. While he still has efficiency and defensive issues, he is the face of the franchise for many years to come.
Young is now eligible for a five-year rookie-max extension worth up to $168 million. Giving him the max is a no-brainer for the Hawks. After all, he already established himself as one of the young superstars in the league. His villainous performance in the playoffs proves that.
Remove McMillan’s interim label
It was a disastrous first half for the Hawks due to injuries and inability to close out games. It seemed that they were going nowhere again until Nate McMillan took the reigns as the interim head coach. Since he took over, the Hawks stormed back from the bottom of the East to the fifth seed.
After a successful season, it makes sense that they reward him with the full-time head coaching job. After all, players already respect him and know his offensive and defensive plays. His great coaching and ability to bring teams in the playoffs are already proven.
And just recently, the Hawks named McMillan as their permanent head coach moving forward. Finally!
Continue developing the other young guys
De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, and Onyeka Okongwu are very important young pieces for the Hawks. Even though with the added depth, they still provided great impact especially defensively.
Hunter was in the midst of breaking out before his injury. It was supposed to be his stepping stone year. He only played 23 games in the regular season and 5 games in the playoffs. Still, he displayed his ability to become a two-way star in the league.
Reddish was also riddled by an Achilles injury this season which made him miss a significant amount of time. This year was supposed to be his bounce-back year. His defensive versatility and three-point ability are on point and much needed. Instead, he’ll look to continue breaking out next season.
Huerter is key for the Hawks as a sixth man. His three-point and playmaking ability are valuable especially when Young is out. His size allows him to play 1-3 positions. To become more effective, he just needs to develop consistency in the offseason.
Meanwhile, Okongwu saw a little playing time due to Atlanta’s depth. However, his rebounding and shot-blocking prowess were well documented even in his short playing time. Should Collins leave, he will have a huge role to play next season.
Focusing on their health and development is a priority in the Hawks offseason.