$125M Hawks power forward John Collins has continued to play for Atlanta even as he deals with lingering foot pain and now sports a protective wrap around his finger, per Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Collins recently returned to Atlanta’s active roster following a seven-game absence as he dealt with his strained right foot.
“I’m not going to tell you everything,” Hawks head coach Nate McMillan said regarding the health of Collins. “I just respect him for his effort and he does have some things that are going on that he’s trying to play through.”
Through 54 games for the 32-34 Hawks, the 6-foot-9 big man is averaging 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per contest. Collins boasts shooting splits of .526/.364/.793. Atlanta is currently the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference, but mere percentage points behind the ninth-seeded Hornets, who sport a 32-34. An extended absence for the Hawks’ second-leading scorer in Collins could spell trouble for the Hawks’ play-in chances.
There’s more out of the Southeast Division:
- Hawks reserve combo guard Delon Wright, an unrestricted free agent this summer, is currently out of Atlanta’s rotation. Hawks head coach Nate McMillan explained his thinking behind Wright’s exclusion from the present lineup, per Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. “He’s been playing well,” McMillan said. “It’s nothing he’s done. He’s been playing well. It’s really difficult to play a 10-man rotation because everyone gets squeezed. What I did was went to Lou [Williams] at that backup [point guard spot] — the rotation we had last year.” The 6-foot-5 veteran is in his seventh NBA season.
- Hornets backup point guard Isaiah Thomas discussed his fight for an NBA future with Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Currently on his third NBA club this season, following prior 10-day contracts with the Lakers and Mavericks, Thomas is excited for his opportunity with Charlotte, with whom he recently signed a second 10-day deal. “It’s just a blessing for me to be able to be where I’m at today with how bad my hip was, because I never thought I would be in this space again where I have no pain and I can play free and I can just live free,” Thomas said. “Not just play, like, I don’t have no pain on a daily basis.” Thomas has had multiple surgeries on his troublesome hip, but says he has been pain-free since a 2020 operation. The 5-foot-9 veteran is averaging 9.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals in just 13.7 minutes per contest over the course of his three games with Charlotte. “I don’t ice my hip, I don’t do any pre-workout for it. I don’t do anything,” he said. “It’s the same as before I got hurt. I know I can do those things again, but I’m not chasing those moments.”
- Magic reserve center Mohamed Bamba has an interesting summer ahead of him. Orlando will have to tender the former No. 6 pick in the 2018 NBA draft a $10.1M one-year qualifying offer this summer for him to reach restricted free agency, otherwise he will become an unrestricted free agent. Bobby Marks of ESPN expects the qualifying offer to be a foregone conclusion. Given Bamba’s uneven play during his first NBA seasons, it seems possible that Bamba could reach unrestricted free agency, hoping to catch on with a club in a reserve role at a rate below the qualifying offer. Bamba is enjoying by far the best statistical season of his NBA career thus far, averaging 10.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks across 57 games for Orlando, including 55 starts.