John Collins is on a mission to prove his worth

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 09: John Collins
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 09: John Collins /

With preseason coming to end, the uncertainty of the regular season is looming overhead. If nothing else, Hawks fans can be certain in one thing: John Collins is the real deal.

Drafted 19th overall in June, Collins has been on a mission ever since to show the NBA that he went too low. As soon as the Atlanta Hawks drafted him, Hawks fans poured over his film from his time at Wake Forest, and that’s when the excitement ensued.

Then he got his first NBA experience in the Las Vegas Summer League, and boy did he make it count. Along with posting very impressive numbers, he made it a goal of his to punish any rim he laid his eyes on. Now it wasn’t only Hawks fans that got to see what he could do, but the whole NBA did as well.

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After a brief hiatus and a period of adjustment to his new city, Collins and the Hawks started their preseason campaign and his first real action against established NBA players. With Miles Plumlee still out injured, Collins commandeered the backup center role behind Dewayne Dedmon.

Matching up against the likes of Hassan Whiteside, Tristan Thompson, and Nerlens Noel, Collins held his own. There were times when he didn’t see as much of the ball as he might’ve liked, but he definitely flourished at times.

Budenholzer seemed impressed with the rookie’s contributions and that will be massively important for him heading into the regular season. Sometimes rookies’ progress stagnates because they get caught behind more experienced players, but this isn’t the case for Collins.

Although a power forward by trade, he can easily learn to also play the 5 when needed this season. It’s likely that he will share minutes with Muscala and Babbitt once everyone is healthy and a part of the rotation.

Collins is a dark horse candidate in the Rookie of the Year debate, seeing as he will get plenty of minutes to showcase his talent. With the right motivation and a little bit of luck, he could be the bright spot that the Hawks need this season.

Next: Q&A with Atlanta Hawks play-by-play announcer Bob Rathbun

Oct. 18th marks the first of 82 games of the 2017-18 season and we could not be more excited. Yes, it’ll be a season in transition, but we will definitely get some memorable moments as John Collins and company show they are True to Atlanta.