The Atlanta Hawks, led by Trae Young and John Collins, started the season 3-0 and looked to be the surprise team to make the Eastern Conference playoffs coming off their disappointing 20-47 record during the 2019-20 NBA campaign. However, the Hawks' hot start was quickly extinguished after blowing a 15-point lead in the second half to the New York Knicks on Monday night.
When the players returned to Atlanta on Tuesday following the disappointing loss, there was an unprecedented amount of tension in the air coming from the young Hawks. Unlike normal constructive criticism that is a part of any NBA film session, John Collins had particularly stern comments for their franchise player, Trae Young.
Collins aired his frustration about how the offensive is too slow getting into sets and forcing shots too early in the shot clock. The fourth-year forward also shared that he believes he should be more involved in the offense's flow.
Trae Young did not get into a back and forth with his teammates but later shared to reporters that he disagreed with John Collins' judgments, via The Athletic.
NBA Rumors: Can Trae Young and John Collins co-exist with the Atlanta Hawks?
The Atlanta Hawks added multiple veteran pieces to their young core to speed up their development process. However, the additions of Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Rajon Rondo may be more important for off-the-court chemistry than on.
After John Collins shared his assessment of the team that was targeted at Trae Young, he chose not to elaborate further on the situation but reached out to The Athletic via text stating,
Trae is my brother regardless.
On the other end, Trae Young also was more vocal about the situation with the Atlanta Hawks beat writer, Chris Kirschner,
The Atlanta Hawks are saying all the right things and informing the media that everything is all fine and dandy, but their actions show a different side of the story.
A day after the quarrel, the Atlanta Hawks lost to the Charlotte Hornets 102-94, putting up their second-lowest scoring number of the season on 17.5 percent shooting from three.
Young put up just seven points in the loss, his lowest point total since October 2019. It was clear he chose not to play his normal aggressive style while attempting just three shots from behind the arc. It was also clear that regardless of Trae's comments stating that the argument wasn't a big deal and it is just a part of the game, he was clearly still rattled about John Collins' comments.
The Atlanta Hawks will have another chance to show they have overcome their early growing pain Saturday in a rematch against the Hornets. If not, the Hawks could be involved in a blockbuster trade that would have John Collins and Trae Young part ways.