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John Collins Says Atlanta Hawks Could Play In The NBA Finals: "It Helps Us When We Don’t Have To See A Guy Like Kyrie On The Court."

John Collins Says Atlanta Hawks Could Play In The NBA Finals: "It Helps Us When We Don’t Have To See A Guy Like Kyrie On The Court."

Credit: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

John Collins recently signed a five-year, $125 million contract with the Atlanta Hawks and his confidence in himself and the team is total. The big man is coming off an excellent season, both individually and collectively, and will look to raise the bar even higher in 2021/22.

The stress, the nights of fighting against rivals, the dunks, the pressure, everything was put aside and it was all worth it when the Hawks' young star signed his continuity with the franchise that selected him in the 2017 Draft. But John is not at all happy with what he has accomplished so far. 

In a recent testimonial for The Athletic, via The NBA Central, the 24-year-old analyzed how he faces his present, what it means to him to have signed that contract and what are the aspirations for the Hawks in 2021/22, especially with the absence of Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn Nets.

“I feel like we’re real contenders. I definitely feel like we can get to the Finals. The East is loaded. Not to say we don’t want to see Kyrie (Irving) play, but it helps us when we don’t have to see a guy like him on the court. As a team, for us, staying healthy, adding depth, adding experience and chemistry (this offseason), we’re not going to shorten the expectations for ourselves. Our goal is to get to the Finals. Losing is always a failure in our minds. If it’s not a championship, it won’t be good enough.”

Collins, Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela, and company are coming off a season in which they were left right in the corner of the Finals after losing in the decisive instance of the Eastern Conference against Milwaukee Bucks 4-2 and want to go for revenge. 

John will have to make the definitive leap. Continuing to raise his defensive focus, maintain his offensive contribution and continue to improve his three-point percentage are some of the keys to achieving this season. 

He comes from shooting 35.7% in three-pointers in the last playoff and defenses still decided to give him enough space so he prefers to shoot and not attack the paint, so that would be one of his points of improvement.

In a system like Atlanta's where Young handles the ball most of the time, Collins will continue to be one of the team's most dependable shield men, but for the team to increase its chances of reigning supreme in the East, the inside man will need to step up. 

With Kyrie out indefinitely, as the guard recently explained in an Instagram Live, the Hawks will have good chances to defy both the Bucks and Nets.