Heading into Saturday’s home opener against the Orlando Magic, the Atlanta Hawks have exercised the fourth-year (2020-21) option on the contract of John Collins, along with the third-year (2020-21) options on the contracts of Kevin Huerter and Trae Young. While the news was not shocking, Hawks brass felt it was necessary to confirm that Collins, Huerter and Young were part of Atlanta’s core nucleus going forward.

Collins averaged team-highs of 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds along with 2.0 assists in 30.0 minutes (.560 FG%, .348 3FG%, .763 FT%) in 61 games (59 starts) during the 2018-19 season. He ranked 15th in the NBA in rpg, 16th in FG% and 33rd in ppg.

Huerter was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team last season after averaging 9.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 27.3 minutes (.419 FG%, .385 3FG%, .732 FT%) in 75 games. Among qualifying NBA rookies, he ranked third in three-point field goal percentage, (36th in the NBA), sixth in average assists per game, seventh in steals per game and minutes per game. His 136 three-pointers were the second-most in Hawks history and the sixth-most in NBA history by a rookie age 20 or younger.

Young was a unanimous NBA All-Rookie First Team selection last season as he averaged 19.1 points, 8.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 30.9 minutes (.418 FG%, .324 3FG%, .829 FT%) in 81 contests (all starts). Among qualifying NBA rookies, he was first in apg (fourth in the NBA), second in points per game (34th in the NBA) and FT%, third in minutes per game, sixth in steals per game and 10th in rebounds per game. The four-time Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month was also NBA Eastern Conference NBA Player of the Week for March 18-24, the only rookie in either conference to win the award last season. Young also led the Eastern Conference in total assists (653, second in the NBA), becoming the first rookie to lead a conference in assists since 1995-96.

Left to right: Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, Trae Young, Cam Reddish and John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks pose for a photo at the team’s media day on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. Photo by: The Atlanta Voice/Itoro N. Umontuen
Trae Young’s (right) play has the Hawks captivating fans at State Farm Arena. Photo by: D’Jehiah Smith/The Atlanta Voice

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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