In the doldrums of summer, the Peachtree Hoops staff came together for a 10-part roundtable series, answering a series of prompts with an eye toward the upcoming season for the Atlanta Hawks.
Part three discusses the possibility of All-Star appearances for Atlanta’s top duo.
Jeff Siegel: Young has a real chance this year with the counting stats and the lack of high-end guards in the Eastern Conference. There will be at least four guards on the team and three near-locks: Bradley Beal, Kemba Walker, and Kyrie Irving. With Victor Oladipo injured for at least the first two months of the year, there may just be room for Young to put up the kind of numbers that garner All-Star consideration. His biggest competitors will be Ben Simmons and Kyle Lowry, who will likely have a better argument from a winning perspective but may not have the raw production Young boasts. Collins has a tougher path due to his position — there are more forward spots available but a lot of very good players in the East in the frontcourt. 2019 All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Blake Griffin, and Simmons (if he counts as a forward instead of a guard) might all be ahead of Collins in the pecking order, along with up-and-coming bigs like Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner, both of whom might project to have better seasons than Collins in 2019-20.
Graham Chapple: It wouldn’t surprise me if one of them did, they have the statistical potential -- both have 20-10 potential this season (Collins was basically there last season). It’s very possible that a possible selection of Young or Collins will come down to team success and I’m not sure I see that for Atlanta this season. Of course, both have potential to get in on pure numbers but the team success I think will be key. For the sake of giving an answer, I’m going to say no but I won’t be surprised if it happens.
Rashad Milligan: For sure, at least one of these guys will make the All-Star team this season. Of course, perception plays a large part in the selection process, and both guys had big summers. Young was probably more visible than any other Hawk has been in the last 20 summers, while Collins drew attention to himself playing on the U.S. Select Team. To Graham’s point, it’s tough to see Collins and Young averaging better numbers than they did last season and not making the All-Star team.
Zach Hood: I think it’s possible both players make the cut, and likely that Young does given his usage rate and what seems to be evolving into star status around the league. It wouldn’t shock me if the NBA leans on it’s veterans for one more season, as there are plenty of deserving guards that will probably be on better teams (Lowry, Beal, Middleton, Butler, and so on), so it may in fact come down to team success. If the club is around .500, I think whoever is having a better season between Young and Collins should get the nod, but it’s going to be close.
Toby Adeyemi: I can firmly lock John Collins in for an All-Star selection. He’ll average 20 points and nearly ten rebounds for an improving and very entertaining Hawks team, and his highlight dunks will continue to make him a fan favorite. Trae Young is harder to guarantee because he will put up All-Star numbers but, at the same time, will the coaches prefer Young over Kemba Walker, Bradley Beal, and other guards who may have similar numbers but play on better teams? I believe Young will sneak into his first All-Star Game, possibly as a replacement. If not, he’ll undoubtedly deserve a selection.
Sam Meredith: I believe it will actually be harder for Collins to make it over Young even though Collins is the better player right now. The East is relatively weak on the point guard ladder and Young’s ability to rack up the kind of statistics that fans love to see (assists, points). This isn’t to say Collins couldn’t also be an All-Star, but the competition as a big is much tougher.
Matt Harris: I’d put it around a 15 percent chance. Far from impossible but not close to likely. I’d say Young is more likely than Collins because a breakout year on top of where he already is could push him to the fringe of consideration, however there are plenty of talented players who miss out on the All-Star game. Young and Collins will both be those players this year.
Glen Willis: It’s unlikely but not at all impossible. That’s not to say that both of them aren’t likely to put up numbers that are worthy of All-Star consideration. I think it’s quite likely that both will, but making one’s first All-Star team typically requires a spot to open up, to injury or retirement, or for a player to play so well that a perennial participant get displaced. Only two of the 12 players named to the Eastern Conference All-Star will not be in play for this season (Kawhi Leonard, who went to Los Angeles, and Victor Oladipo, who is injured). Can Collins and/or Young vie for a spot? It would probably require that the Hawks play above expectations and have a record that supports the idea of the team being worthy of a player getting serious consideration.
Andrew Kelly: While I believe Young is another season away from All-Star recognition, I think Collins will make the All-Star team. Per 36 minutes, Collins averaged 23.4 points and 11.7 rebounds on scintillating efficiency. He also tripled his three point attempts and knocked them down at a 35% rate, a very respectable mark for a big. But Collins still has room to grow, particularly as a play-maker and defender. With improvements in those areas, in conjunction with likely elevated playing time, Collins could simply force his way on to the All Star roster, even if the Hawks are outside of playoff contention. In rare company for a second-year big man, Collins is poised to feast in his third NBA season.
Dylan Hughes: There is a pathway to one or both making it — the Hawks have a great early-season run, putting them in playoff contention behind great production from the team’s two best players. In looking at the Eastern Conference players that made it last year, D’Angelo Russell and Kawhi Leonard have gone West — opening up two spots from last year’s team. Victor Oladipo will miss a significant portion of the voting session and will have to rely on his popularity to have a shot at making it. In the backcourt, Young could have some competition among players that didn’t make the squad last year — Malcolm Brogdon, Jaylen Brown, and Josh Richardson being the stand-outs. For Collins, it will be much tougher — Pascal Siakam, Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Domantas Sabonis, Lauri Markkanen, and Myles Turner all missed out last season. It may be unlikely that Collins will outplay all of those guys, but if Young can become more consistent month-to-month, he’s certainly got a shot.
Greg Willis: My hunch is that they will both be on the bubble but each will need a spot to open up as a result of an injury to someone selected ahead of them to have a real chance to make the team. Making the All-Star team requires moving past an elite NBA player. Young and Collins will need to put up elite numbers and the Hawks will need to move up in the standings for either player to be clearly in the mix for an All-Star spot.
Brad Rowland: Admittedly, my first reaction was that it was unlikely but, in taking a deeper look at the East, it isn’t exactly crazy to envision. Both of them making the All-Star team could be far-fetched (at least without big-time team success) but Young and Collins are going to generate the kind of statistics that should draw attention and, if the Hawks are living in the .500 range as a team, arguments will be made. Collins put up All-Star caliber numbers on a per-game basis last year and Young’s upside is well-documented. If Atlanta’s first-half schedule was more favorable, I might flat-out project All-Star nods for one or both but, regardless, it’s definitely a possibility.