Atlanta Hawks 2018-19 Player Profile: John Collins

John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
John Collins #20 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

With the 2018-19 regular season starting up yesterday, let’s peer into our crystal ball and see how Atlanta Hawks power forward John Collins might look this season.

With the first pick of the Travis Schlenk era, the Atlanta Hawks took Wake Forest power forward John Collins with the 19th overall pick in the 2017 Draft. The pick turned out to be an absolute steal and set a very valuable precedent of what we can expect from the talent evaluation of this front office.

Collins played in 74 games averaging 10.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 24.1 minutes a night, earning an All-Rookie Second Team nod. Former Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer was slow to give Collins the minutes we all thought he deserved and this season we’ll be able to find out just how good John the Baptist really is.

The Hawks have one of the least-talented rosters in the NBA and starting out our massive rebuild with a nice early steal late in the draft is going to go a long way in ending our futility a couple seasons early.

Collins was everything a team that won 24 games would want. He didn’t single-handedly win any games, never scoring more than 21 points in a game, and he grabbed more than 12 rebounds only three times all season — making sure to keep the tank on track.

He had some earth-shattering dunks like the one from the rising stars game (off an equally beautiful lob from Donovan Mitchell)  to the crafty windmill in Indiana. Add on to all of this that he really seemed to enjoy his time in Atlanta and we couldn’t ask much more from our rookie sensation.

The excitement factor that the Atlanta Hawks haven’t had in (what feels like centuries) is slowly but surely making its way back to the capital of the South. Trae Young and Collins have the potential to be a devastating lob duo and their early rapport will be something to watch throughout the season.

Collins is a bit of a question mark on defense but what young center dominates right out of the gate anyways? Collins’s game is going to be based on his athleticism and the more tricks and tools he can tack on is all icing on the cake.

Many centers in the NBA have a nice split with enough athleticism to keep up in today’s game along with the experience of how to attack defenses and learning player tendencies. Collins has the luxury of being able to learn all those ins and outs and put them on one of the more athletic frames in the NBA.

Expect some bigger games this year out of our starting center/power forward as he’ll play more minutes and be a bigger focal point of the offense. With Trae Young’s ability to stretch a defense, Collins should have much more space to be spry and jump out of the gym.

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Collins is one of the more exciting players the Atlanta Hawks have had in a long time and as long as he and Young can work in unison, State Farm Arena (RIP Philips) should be filled with some very fun basketball for years to come.