What went wrong for the Atlanta Hawks in 2020?

Trae Young sets up for a free throw during their match against the Orlando Magic. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

Well, where do we begin on this one?

After a meager 20 wins in the 2020-21 NBA season, Atlanta Hawks underachieved, failing to be one of the 22 teams to qualify for the Orlando Bubble.

Atlanta already holds a leg up over the other eight absent from the Bubble. They earned big wins over top title contenders such as the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers.

Trae Young is the engine that drives the team. As the unquestioned leader, the Hawks fly wherever the sharpshooter goes. At just 21 years old, Young followed last year’s highlights with another stellar season, finishing fourth in scoring and second in assists. 

The Hawks already have their franchise player locked up, but in order for the team to continue to grow and have success, the team needs to be built around Young’s strengths. 

They have an underrated big man in John Collins, who can not only shoot but run the pick and roll action with ease. The former Wake Forest product averaged career highs in points (21.6 per game) and rebounds (10.1 per game). 

Teammate Dewayne Dedmon raved about Collins’ improved defense before the NBA season came to a pause in March. 

“He’s definitely improving on the defensive end … It’s good to see, and I hope he keeps excelling at it,” Dedmon said.

Although the credit never seems to be enough, continuing to involve Collins more in the offense bodes well going forward. 

Toward the end of the season, the team started to come together. There was a big difference, and they began to win close games. This is a sign Atlanta is going in the right direction. In the NBA, you need time, patience and growth in order to be successful.