John Collins took a major jump from his rookie season, and became one of the most dominant big men in the East.
19.5 PPG 9.8 RPG 2.0 APG
In Collins’ rookie season, we saw glimpses of what could be a solid career for the big man out of Wake Forest. He had explosiveness that allowed him to get up with anybody, and the athleticism to keep up with many forwards in the league. The only thing that had to happen for Collins was him putting it all together, to become a force for years to come.
It all started during the Summer League, where Collins showed a new wrinkle in his game. He was beginning to step out beyond the arc and shoot threes, something he only attempted 47 times his rookie season. He also began to build chemistry with his new running mate, Trae Young. It was important that they got a feel of each other before the season started so things could run smoothly.
Collins sat out the first 15 games of the regular season, and it showed through the Hawks play. When he returned, things started to look up for the offense. Collins went on a tear almost every night posting a double-double in points and rebounds.
With rebounding being one of the Hawks weaknesses through the years, he put that to rest averaging 9.8 in the season. Both his offensive and defensive rebounding improved, and you could tell there was a different energy in Collins from his first year.
Offensively is where he grew the most, and some of the credit can be given to Trae. Collins and Trae had a lob connection in almost every game they played together, and it seemed unstoppable to guard.
His interior offense was flawless, and his efficiency showed for it. After only taking those 47 threes in his rookie season, he shot 158 of them this season. Shooting 35% from the perimeter helped open Pierce’s offense up and allowed them to get more creative.
Collins play this season had him at the top with some of the best big men in the East. There was a real argument of if he should’ve made the All-Star reserves squad, but Nikola Vucevic and Blake Griffin edged him out. You could also say that he should’ve been in play for most improved player, after the big jump from year one to year two.
What to work on
One thing Collins must improve on going into next season is his defense, especially when if the Hawks decide to put him at center in certain sets. That element can put his game at an even higher level, and the trio of him, Young, and Kevin Huerter could have a bright future.
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