Hawks rookie John Collins notches first career double-double in loss to Nets

BROOKLYN, NY - OCTOBER 22: John Collins
BROOKLYN, NY - OCTOBER 22: John Collins /

An early 3 p.m. EST start on Sunday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York led to a fairly uninspired performance from the Atlanta Hawks and a 116-104 loss to the hometown Brooklyn Nets. The Hawks came out of the gate sluggishly, but there was one player who came out with gusto and energy – John Collins.

The rookie from Wake Forest University has been given plenty of leeway in his first career season and while he still has a lot to learn (and a little more muscle mass to put on his 230-lb. frame), Collins has shown impressive energy in his first three games.

Against the Nets, Collins produced his first career double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, six of which were of the offensive variety. Collins also had a block and led the team in plus/minus, with a meager rating of +1 (the only Hawks player with a positive score by that metric).

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Collins was active on the defensive end, but he got pushed around a bit in the post by stronger, more experienced players like former Hawk DeMarre Carroll and veteran Trevor Booker.

Collins seems much more comfortable on the offensive end, as he had a few nifty plays, including a nice jump-hook following a sweet spin move and an easy dunk on an alley-oop pass from Josh Magette.

Perhaps the most exciting play from Collins was a massive dunk attempt in the first half, in which he cocked his arm back almost 90 degrees and brought it down hard on a defender’s head. The ball bounced innocuously off the rim, but when Collins lands one of those huge dunks, its impact will surely be felt all around the league (and replayed many, many times on highlight shows and social media).

While Collins still has a long way to go before he’s a fully polished NBA player – he led the team in personal fouls and fouled out of his second career game against the Hornets – he has still flashed enough upside and athleticism to tantalize Hawks fans everywhere.

Coach Mike Budenholzer might have said it best in a postgame interview following the loss to the Nets:

"“He’s young to the league and he’s learning every possession, but he was impressive out there.”"

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Hopefully that praise continues to pan out as the season wears on, but in the early going, Collins looks to be the real deal.