DAR Sports: The Growth Of John Collins

By Jeff Axel 

John Collins has quietly been averaging 17 points and 9 rebounds a game on 56% from the field and 38% from three in his first four seasons. The versatile big man is underrated for multiple reasons. Unfortunately, there was a 25 game PED suspension last season that clouded him averaging 22 points and 10 rebounds in 41 games. There was also a dispute between him and Trae Young during a film session under former Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce. However, under the interim coach Nate McMillian, John Collins seems to have unlocked a new energy in wanting to focus on being a two way player. The 23 year old forward is in a contractyear but is maximizing his athleticism and scoring efficiently and looking like a longterm star for the Hawks, if they choose to pay him what he requires. 

Under Nate McMillian in the Month of March in which the Hawks are currently 8-0, John Collins has averaged 19 points and 9 rebounds as well as a surprising 1.8 BPG for a guy who averages 0.5 in his career. Collins is showing potential as a two way big man with improving interior defense and decent perimiter defense where he’s not a liability when switched onto smaller players. Collins has mainly focused on offense, being good in pick and pop situations and thriving in the mid range, then eventually becoming a respectable 3 point shooter at 38% on 3.5 attempts this season. The thing that separates Collins from other big men is he has the ability to finish above the rim with alley oops and has a knack for attacking the offensive glass as well. Touch around the rim with floaters, dunking on you, hooks over either shoulder, and he always plays with a high motor. Collins has awide array of talent and at 23 years old, he’s only scratching the surface of his talent. 

Before the coaching change, it was confirmed that Collins turned down a 4 year, $90 million deal to bet on himself. There were rumors of the Hawks listening to trade offers for him earlier in the season. There were also rumors of him and Trae Young not getting along. But since Nate McMillian took over, Collins has more edge on the defensive end. His 19 and 9 is impressive, but when he’s doing it on 54% FG, 38% from 3 and 85% from the line as a 2nd option you get intrigued and wonder if he’s interested in being Trae Young’s 2nd option or if a Collins led team can make a playoff push. We’ll find that out in the offseason, but as of now, Nate McMillian has the Hawks playing exceptional rejuvenated basketball and Collins is making his mark as one of the better young big men in the league. 



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