On the bright side, the Atlanta Hawks have Trae Young to captain the offense. The not-so-bright side is that John Collins will not be in a Hawks uniform until right before Christmas. For one game, there was the apparent possibility that the Hawks would be on the positive side of the “Ewing Theory” by winning an exciting home game against the Spurs but, since then, the Hawks have been on a losing streak.
One such person that sees the negative impact of the Collins suspension is John Schuhmann of NBA.com as he drops the Hawks to No. 27 overall.
John Collins (and his super-quick rolls to the rim) have been a big part of the Hawks’ offense over the last 13 months, and he had seemingly taken a step forward defensively this season. He ranks as the league’s second best rim protector, with opponents having shot just 38.5% at the basket when he’s been there and scored just a point per possession when he’s been on the floor. So his 25-game suspension hurts them on both ends and truly stings at a time when there’s a real opportunity to compete for a playoff spot in a conference where the 4-5 Cavs are currently in seventh place. Kevin Huerter might - 32 points, 7-for-15 from 3-point range over the last two games, with two big buckets in the final minute of regulation in Portland on Sunday - might be finding his rhythm, but the Hawks’ five-game trip concludes with four games against opponents that have a cumulative record of 26-10.
In ESPN’s latest ranking, the Hawks only took a fall to No. 19 despite dropping three straight games and six of the last seven.
Newcomer Jabari Parker has helped ease the loss of forward John Collins following his 25-game suspension for a positive drug test. Parker had season highs of 27 points and 11 rebounds in an overtime loss to Portland on Sunday. The journeyman has averaged 23.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in his past three games.
Micheal Shapiro of Sports Illustrated also puts the Hawks at No. 19 while making mention of Jabrari Parker stepping up in recent days.
Jabari Parker may have found a new home with the Hawks after toiling in Chicago and Washington. He’s shooting a career-high 57%, in large part due to Trae Young’s passing mastery. Parker is still a strong isolation player. He’s beginning to be a better fit in a team framework.
The Hawks managed to fall to No. 21 for the folks at CBS Sports.
Trae Young returned from an ankle injury to lead the Hawks to a win over the Spurs, but things went downhill from there with losses to the Bulls, Kings and Blazers. Jabari Parker has stepped up offensively with John Collins suspended, but they simply haven’t been able to put enough points on the board to get wins given the type of defense that they play.
Finally, the Hawks came in at No. 19 on Yahoo Sports.
The Hawks received awful news last week when the league announced that John Collins had been suspended for 25 games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program by testing positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2. Collins is working with the player’s union to appeal the suspension, but it’s doubtful it gets overturned.
Despite losing a few games, the Hawks did not drop as much as one might expect in the rankings. The Hawks continue to face a very tough schedule, though, and a win or two this week might see Atlanta move back up in the league-wide pecking order.