The Hawks sit at 4-4 after an early-season stretch that saw them beat Brooklyn and appear to be among the more upstart teams in the NBA, and returning to .500 seems to have unraveled many of the issues that plagued the team last year as well. A new report from Chris Kirschner and Sam Amick at The Athletic indicates how both John Collins and Clint Capela have criticized Trae Young in recent days, including Collins calling Young out during a film session on Tuesday over the way Young dominates the ball offensively.
According to The Athletic, Collins expressed his opinion that the Hawks need to get into offensive sets more quickly, limit early-clock attempts, and integrate talented players like Collins himself more effectively into the offense.
While Young reportedly made it known that he disagreed with Collins’ point of view, Collins told The Athletic via text message, “Trae is my brother regardless.”
After that same Tuesday film sessions, The Athletic reports, big man Clint Capela took Young aside and explained to him how the push-and-pull between a point guard and a star big man like Collins can lead to problems. Capela explained that he had seen it take place between James Harden and Dwight Howard in Houston and didn’t want the same curse to befall these Hawks.
That all led into a Wednesday-night game against Charlotte in which Young was “disengaged,” took just nine field goal attempts, and scored just seven points. It was a performance Atlanta head coach Lloyd Pierce called “uncharacteristic.”
On top of all of this, there remains tension between Pierce and Young that first came up last season — The Athletic reports that “the basketball relationship between Young and Pierce continues to be worth monitoring, with multiple sources saying the disconnect between them remains an issue.” The Hawks spent heavily in free agency last offseason and entered the year with playoff expectations. In the Eastern Conference, hovering around .500 is more than enough to stay in the postseason hunt and would be a big improvement for a Hawks team that has been in the lottery for several years running, but it appears there may be bigger problems in Atlanta than just wins and losses.