At this point in the 2020-21 season, it’s extremely difficult for Brooklyn Nets fans to make a firm prediction on what the team can accomplish this year. When performing at their very best, it genuinely looks as though no team in the league could defeat them in a seven-game series.
Given how difficult those performances have been to come by for the Nets, however, we could also picture a scenario in which they’re eliminated before the Conference Finals. For the most part, Brooklyn’s inconsistencies can be attributed to their non-existent rim protection, overall effort (or lack thereof) on defense and their depleted bench.
With this in mind, the Nets could become major players at the trade deadline, which projects to feature no shortage of star-caliber talent. Brooklyn’s lack of assets could leave them thirsting after the buyout market instead, but however it happens, BK simply must add talent to the fold.
Though the cutoff is still over a month away, a recent rumor suggested that the Atlanta Hawks are fielding offers for high-flying forward John Collins. If this rumor has any legs, it goes without saying that Collins will have a plethora of suitors over the next several weeks. When it comes to the Nets, however, would he be a potential fit given their current need for a lockdown wing defender and empty coffer?
Should the Nets pursue a trade for Hawks star John Collins?
In theory, Collins would be a perfect acquisition for the Nets. For starters, the former No. 17 overall pick’s tireless engine would go a long way in rectifying their crippling rebounding issue, as he’s averaged 8.7 boards in just under 28 minutes per game over his first three-plus seasons. His 6-foot-9 frame is just what they need on the defensive end of the floor, especially on the perimeter.
As one of the league’s more capable in-game dunkers, Collins would also thrive as a slasher in situations where one of Brooklyn’s three stars receive double teams. On top of that, he’s made serious strides in the shooting department, as he’s currently knocking down 40.4% of his threes. As we’ve seen with Joe Harris’ scalding hot start to the year, the Nets’ up-tempo offense creates plenty of open shots for shooters.
With all of that being said, however, the Nets simply don’t have enough assets to be able to poach the 23-year-old stud from Atlanta. Sure, they could offer whatever draft capital they have left from the Harden blockbuster, but let’s not forget that the Hawks were one of the offseason’s biggest spenders.
Anything less than a playoff berth would be viewed as a colossal failure, so they would likely demand an impact player in return for Collins…unless they’re so far off the race by the deadline that they decide to trade off all of their expendable pieces, but the chances of that happening are slim to none.
It helps the Nets that Collins, who has a $5.89 million qualifying offer for next season, isn’t signed to a long-term deal (the Hawks wouldn’t demand as much), but given that they shipped off all of their young assets and future draft picks, it’s difficult to picture a scenario where they’re able to fend off other potential suitors, let alone be in the market to acquire Collins in the first place.
A lot can change between now and the March 25 deadline, and GM Sean Marks is one of the most aggressive executives in the NBA.
However, he pretty much flushed any chance he had to add more elite talent when he agreed to acquire Harden from the Rockets last month.