By Jack Drapkin
Don’t look now, wait until January or February when the NBA Rookie Ladder is in full swing, but John Collins will find himself comfortably within the Top 10 of that list. You may be saying but Jack, it’s only the third game of the season how can you be so confident. Well for one here’s me discussing the impact I think Collins will have, and here too. But most importantly, in a minuscule three-game sample size Collins has averaged 12 points and nearly seven rebounds on zero three-point attempts a game. The last part is most important to me, as even though I alluded to him adding it to his arsenal, he knows where his game is at and is playing within himself.
On the offensive end of the court, Collins uses his intelligence and athleticism to create openings for himself inside the arc. A capable mid-range jump shooter, he utilizes his pump-fake to drive past defenders and get to the rim. He has also excelled on the offensive glass, averaging 5.5 offensive rebounds per-36 minutes. He has like most rookies do struggled with his ball security in the early part of this season. If he could carry over his offensive instincts and motor consistently to the defensive end of the court, we would be discussing a Rookie of the Year candidate
Still far more confident and comfortable on the offensive end of the court expect Collins to struggle on the defensive end for the remainder of his rookie season. While he has shown activity on that end in the early part of the season, six combined steals and blocks, he still has ways to go with his positioning and could improve his strength as well. This combined with the four fouls a game he is currently picking up say it will take time, but at least the effort has been there unlike what it was in college.
In short, look now, look later, but Collins will find himself among the top rookies by the All-Star break even if no one is watching the Hawks.