Soaring Down South Roundtable: John Collins reminds me of…

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 10: John Collins
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 10: John Collins /

The Hawks selected John Collins out of Wake Forest with the 19th pick of the 2017 NBA Draft. Which NBA players does Collins remind the Soaring Down South staff of?

Nile Goodwyn

OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 17: David Lee
OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 17: David Lee /

As I stated in my article comparing the Hawks’ rookies to NBA players, John Collins reminds me of former two-time NBA All-Star David Lee.  Both players are slightly undersized to play under the basket, with both being measured between 6’9 and 6’10 at their respective NBA Draft Combines. With size working against them, Lee and Collins use strength and basketball IQ to to grab rebounds at levels usually only seen by players 7 feet or taller. Through his first 4 Summer League games, Collins averaged 25.2 points and 15.3 rebounds per 36 minutes.

In his prime Lee averaged 20 points and ten rebounds on a nightly basis, but was never given other talented players around him that could bring success to his teams. In their current state, the 2017-17 Atlanta Hawks will place Collins in a similar place as Lee was in for the entirety of his prime. Instead, Collins will be given the opportunity to grow alongside a Hawks roster that could become his over time,  Expecting an end-of-season statline similar to that of Lee’s third season (10.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG) could be a reasonable expectation for Collins’ rookie year, if the 29.1 minutes per game Lee played are available to Collins.

-@ATLPistolPete on Twitter

Seth Kindig

PHOENIX, AZ – 1998: Antonio McDyess
PHOENIX, AZ – 1998: Antonio McDyess /

What is John Collins’ best skill? He’s an athletic, high-effort rim-runner. In watching his college highlights, one will see the most is Collins’ running the floor hard for a quick dunk or deep post-up. He has shown good effort on the offensive glass. Besides that, he has a knack for scoring the basketball. He has shown a little bit of a face-up game and an improved jump shot in summer league.

But, Collins can produce right now without being a focal point of the offense, making him just the type of piece the Hawks love to draft. In my opinion, that is his floor. How well he is able to make jumpers will determine how high his ceiling. So, what player can we look like to see what to expect from Collins in the next couple of years?

Antonio McDyess may be the perfect comparison for Collins. McDyess was a 6’9″ power forward who had a nose for the basketball on the offensive end. Before a knee injury in 2003, McDyess averaged at least 20 PPG twice and averaged a double-double twice. He averaged 15.6 PPG and 7.5 RPG his first 3 years in the NBA.

If Collins’ continue to show the level of energy and effort he has shown to this point in his miniature Hawks’ career, he will get to 15 and 7. If he adds a little pop to some of those hard rim-runs on the pick-and-roll, we may be looking at a borderline All-Star, a la one younger Antonio McDyess.

– @SethKindig on Twitter

Xavier Cooper

John Collins
John Collins /

John Collins sort of reminds me of Blake Griffin. As we all know Blake Griffin was known for attacking the rim off pick and rolls and running the floor as a big man. Whether it was catching lobs or putting in lay-ups through contact, Griffin made a name for himself by showing he can finish around the rim and running to the basket on fast breaks. Collins did the same thing at Wake Forest as the most effective player in the NCAA as the roller in pick and roll situations.

The good thing is that Collins is more in touch with his shooting skills than Griffin was at Oklahoma. Collins is a bit more comfortable with his midrange and 3-point shot at age 19. Griffin started developing those skills in his mid 20’s which leads me to my next point. Like Griffin, Collins has a knack for adding to his game.

Griffin couldn’t do much outside of the paint in his first few years in the league. Now, Griffin can knock down wide open 3’s, and has a deadly midrange in the pick-n-pop. Collins is the same way. In his first year at Wake Forest he averaged 7.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. His second year he averaged 19.2 points, and 9.8 rebounds with more minutes, showing that the coaching staff gained trust in Collins after only one season. If Collins keeps the thirst to become better, he can surpass Griffin someday.

– @TheRealXCooper on Twitter

Justin Hodges

John Collins
SEATTLE – FEBRUARY 22: Chris Wilcox /

John Collins reminds me a bit of Chris Wilcox. Obviously, Collins has a higher ceiling than Wilcox did during his time. However, Collins and Wilcox share the same characteristic of being pure athletes.

In Wilcox’s time with the Seattle Supersonics (2006-2008), his play was very reminiscent of how John Collins played at Wake Forest. Though he only averaged just over 13 points per game, Wilcox was extremely effective in the paint with a field goal percentage over 50%.

Dominant and crafty around the rim with high flying athleticism, Collins can show to be a sort of new age model of what Wilcox was. Of course, Chris Wilcox never had the jump shot that John Collins has now. Makes Collins’ potential even scarier.

– @HodgepodgeHoops on Twitter