A swift look at how Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins upped his usage from his rookie to sophomore season – thanks to a variety of mitigating factors.
The Atlanta Hawks picked up perhaps the steal of the 2017 NBA Draft when they selected John Collins out of Wake Forest University all the way at #19 overall. Collins was taken behind players such as Frank Ntilikina, Zach Collins, Luke Kennard, Justin Jackson, Justin Patton and T.J. Leaf – who was taken with the pick directly ahead of JC.
Collins went on to become one of the most productive young big men in the league and nearly averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds last season (19.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG) alongside his new best pal Trae Young.
Young was hugely influential on the court for the Atlanta Hawks, as his astonishing passing ability and general ability to make the right play at every turn on offense led to a far more attractive and engaging offensive flow than the team had had in Collins’s first season in the NBA.
The presence of Young was so integral to Collins that his usage rate shot up by the second-highest margin in the NBA, behind only Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic. John Schuhmann of NBA.com had the statistics:
As you can see, Collins lifted his usage rate from 17.4 percent to 23 percent while also playing nearly 550 minutes more than his rookie season (when Coach Mike Budenholzer opted to start the season with Ersan Ilyasova as the team’s starting power forward – oops).
Also notable on this list is Alex Len being 7th in usage increase – from 16.4 percent in his final year in Phoenix to 21.4 percent with the Atlanta Hawks last season. Len is also on record saying he wants to win Most Improved Player next season.
The most likely reason why is, indeed, Trae Young’s astonishing passing ability, which saw him immediately vault himself into the conversation for best passer in the NBA in his first season.
Similarly, if John Collins can take another leap, he will vault into the conversation of being one of the best young big men in the league – if not the best.