With the regular season coming quicker and quicker, the Atlanta Hawks have a lot of work to do in training camp that is considerably shorter than years past. This bucket list is extensive but crucial for the future of the franchise. Getting started, the Hawks have the challenge of getting not only the new draft picks acclimated with the normal nuances of NBA life, but they have to get the ENTIRE team acclimated to the new systems of new head coach Lloyd Pierce culture wise and mainly on defense.
With all of the new personnel and change that are attached to the Hawks this year and beyond, HawksHoop is taking the challenge of being of providing the access to the information that will help the Hawks fan understand that even though the team will struggle at times for the next few years, the path is the correct if patience is practiced.Will this team contend for the NBA title? No. Will they be a playoff team? No. But if we all remember, Golden State was in this position years ago. The good thing here is the man that helped make the decisions, Travis Schlenk, is making the ultimate decisions here in Atlanta.
Let’s start breaking down the players going forward into the NBA season...
HawksHoop takes a look at...John Collins.
This just in to HawksHoop...John Collins is EXCITING! No check that, John Collins is EXCITING and fun to watch. Something that the Hawks DESPERATELY will need going into this season ESPECIALLY if Trae Young continues his shooting struggles from the summer league. If John Collins continues to build on his rookie year, he is the only player right now on the roster that has a chance to sniff at the All-Star game in the future. When you play for the Hawks and get ranked in anyone’s top 100, that’s quite an accomplishment. But if you are a rookie? This might be a story that needs to unfold in State Farm Arena folks.
Last year’s first round pick of the 2018 NBA draft played well enough last year to wonder why everyone is complaining on the moves of Travis Schlenk this year. Collins averaged 10.5 Points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 57 percent from the field. This is a rookie folks. Throw in that he scored a ridiculous 73 percent from less than three feet shows us that Collins works well in the pick and roll finishing at the rim and if he is not blocked out on the offensive end you had better watch your head. All of this being done in 24 minutes a game. I really hate comparisons but with the excitement and athleticism that comes with high flying dunks, Collins has to be linked with another Atlanta Hawks high flyer...NBA Hall of Famer, Dominique Wilkins.
Does John Collins have the game of Dominique?...no. But the potential for a high flying dunk that can possibly make SportsCenter, Collins does possess. Something that the exposure starved Hawks could use.
Now that the assumption that John Collins is sharpied in at this point as the starting power forward, the added numbers will bring increased numbers across the board but as we all know about young developing players, more minutes means more responsibilities.
Also read in the majestic words words of Janet....Miss Jackson if you’re nasty...
What Have You Done For Me Lately?
Now we have to see if John Collins is more than a high flying dunker. A guy you can look up that fits this description years back was Gerald Green.
Green had all of the flash that Collins is showing filling up the highlight reels and even won a NBA Slam Dunk competition. All that got him was a journeyman status and even a stint outside of the NBA.
Coming out of a exciting rookie campaign that has the Hawks front office drooling, Collins will have to show some versatility this year. Some of this will be Collins proving that he has the ability to create his own shot. Power forwards and centers in this era’s NBA had better be able to find new and inventive ways of getting the ball in the basket.
Before you start pulling your Rudy Goberts, Clint Capela and DeAndre Jordans out of your pocket, remember they had or have the Ricky Rubios and the Chris Pauls who have the vision and handles to make the most limited big men multi-millionaires. By the way, these guys are.
Let’s talk about these guys a little more, Collins will have to find a way to score over the big time rim protectors in the NBA. Hopefully Collins did work on his post moves over the offseason. It can by mighty embarrassing looking like the next coming of Jhalil Okafor while your shots are getting thrown into the third row from a weak post up move.
Here’s what the Hawks need from John Collins...
John Collins will have to create matchup problems for opposing big men by running the floor hard, filling the lanes on the fast break to get easy baskets as well as space the floor. On the assumption that the words...”Work on your jumper this summer!!!” came up in the exit meetings last year, Collins can space the floor and can knock down a few jumpers. If he can do that as well as use his strength and athleticism to beat up less talented power forwards, the Hawks will see a very valuable asset going into the future.
Sure, John Collins showed the evidence of the work in the offseason on his jumper in the summer leagues smoking opponents in Vegas averaging 24 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the process. He then followed that up with 14 points and six rebounds in Utah. He knocked down some three point shots which shows the potential that Collins has.
But it is the summer league folks. The closeouts during the regular season with the normal cast of characters will be a little faster than the summer league bunch. However, if the summer league production is real, the Hawks can expect a much improved offensive repertoire from John Collins this year.
Well HawksHoopers, John Collins not only has work to do on the offensive end, let’s discuss the defensive end shall we?
Looking at the stats, you will find that Collins led the Hawks in blocked shots with 80 total. His 3.8 block rate tied Serge Ibaka for 16th in the league. Good right!
Sometimes blocks can be an overrated stat, just like steals. Just because John Collins can be a rejection machine does not mean that he doesn’t need work.
Collins had issues staying on the floor at time during the season last year because of foul trouble. Remember his 24 minutes a game mentioned earlier? It might have been higher had Collins no fouled so much. Blocked shots can be dynamic but John Collins needs to be more disciplined on the defensive end to be effective and stay on the floor to finish games.
Rudy Gobert and Clint Capela are outstanding defenders, but you can see the control and defensive instincts in effect while they rim protect. Capela is definitely someone that Collins can hitch his wagon to and watch film of and learn. Collins is athletic enough to defend all five positions, something that the NBA teams will be required to do if they want to win 25 games in a year or two. This is something Collins can do if he understands the importance of what he can do to affect the game defensively. He has to understand pick and roll defense and be able to guard the perimeter while rotating back to help protect the rim.
Anybody that is expecting John Collins to average 20 points and 10 rebounds are being delusional and not being fair to John Collins. What is fair however, is John Collins showing that his game is maturing and catching up with his athleticism. It is important to him and this franchise. This is a Travis Schlenk draft pick. He is part of the vision going forward. The expectations of the young forward are a little different from most of the roster. Not only is one of the young lions that the Hawks are selling, he needs to be a blueprint to the draft picks coming in after him (Trae Young, Omari Spellman, Kevin Huerter) for inspiration on how to grow and mature.
Hawks fans should be excited about John Collins for the future. He is electric and can put fans in the seats, but as the old saying goes...”looks can get you through the door, but what can you
do to stay in the room?” That depends on John’s work in the offseason. Hopefully there was a ton of it.