As we creep along towards All-Star weekend, most of the members of the Hawks franchise will take a nice extended vacation to tropical islands and rest and relax through the break in the season. For some, this break is welcomed with open arms as the 82-game NBA season can feel like forever. For others, this break is coming right as they are beginning to break through and find comfort at this level. For John Collins and Trae Young, there will be no break at all.
The two headlines for Atlanta are going to be plenty busy in Charlotte next weekend. Both were selected to take part in the Mountain Dew ICE Rising Stars games–playing together for Team USA–Collins will then participate in the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest, while Young tries his hands at the Taco Bell Skills Competition.
Collins will square off against Charlotte’s Miles Bridges, Oklahoma City’s Hamidou Diallo, and New York’s Dennis Smith (only Smith has participated in this event before). For Young, he is once again tied in with Mavericks’ rookie Luka Doncic and a field that also includes Mike Conley, De’Aaron Fox, Nikola Jokic, Kyle Kuzma, Jayson Tatum, and Nikola Vucevic. It’s not unrealistic that both could bring home trophies on Saturday night.
Rumors had been rampant that the two would be selected for their respective events so this is not a shock to them. What it is though is an opportunity for the two to bring more eyes to what’s going on with the Atlanta Hawks as they try to jumpstart their rebuilding process.
Before the season began, many projections predicted that the young Hawks would finish with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Well, thanks to numerous tank jobs and the competency and development of players like Collins, Young, and fellow rookie Kevin Huerter; Atlanta has established itself as a team on the rise and a tier above the standing’s bottom-dwellers.