Atlanta Hawks 2017-18 Season Grades: John Collins

John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In a lost season for the Atlanta Hawks in which there was very little to cheer about for loyal fans (except for ping-pong balls), explosively athletic rookie John Collins provided fans (and the NBA at large) plenty of huge dunks and hustle plays to “ooh” and “ahh” over.

Collins had one of the best rookie seasons ever in team history, showing his productivity in multiple categories and achieving statistical dominance not seen in a Hawks rookie since Josh Smith.

John the Baptist led the Hawks in both Player Efficiency Rating (18.3) and win shares (5.4), but he was only rewarded with a Second Team All-Rookie selection, despite having numbers comparable or superior to Lauri Markkanen’s – perhaps the reward was being given for upside rather than raw statistical output (though that’s not what the teams are supposed to be about, if memory serves).

Either way, John Collins is one of the few building blocks with which GM Travis Schlenk and new coach Lloyd Pierce can create the new Atlanta Hawks template, which will be based in no small part on the 76ers notorious “Process.”

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And what a good start to the team’s rebuild. Nabbing a cornerstone talent with the 19th overall pick in the 2017 Draft (something they might be able to do again in 2018), is a tremendous boon and JC helped Hawks fans get through many, many interminable games during the 2017-18 season.

He did a lot of that with some tremendous dunks (we ranked his best slams of the season here):

As well as some all-around great efforts on the offensive end:

JC was efficient, leading the team with a 57.6 field goal percentage, which included a surprising 34 percent clip from downtown, and his true shooting percentage of 62 percent was also tops among qualified players on Atlanta’s roster.

Beyond that, he was first on the team in offensive rating per 100 possessions (117) and tied for second in defensive rating per 100 (108) – another stunning feat for the Hawks exciting rookie.

Though the franchise will likely bring in plenty more young talent this offseason via the draft, John Collins remains one of the few “untouchable” pieces for the Atlanta front office.

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As long as he keeps skying for incredible alley-oops and vicious jams, Hawks fans will be happy to see him.

2017-18 Season Grade: A