Happy 23rd birthday to my guy, John Collins. The unsung hero, the straw that stirs the drink, the glue that holds the Hawks together. Collins often gets overshadowed by Trae Young’s meteoric rise and the excitement surrounding the rest of the young core. But the stretchy big-man averaged 21/10 and straight torched the league in February just before the pandemic upended the season.
John Collins in February:
He is the first player in NBA history to have 300+ points and 100+ rebounds within a calendar month with those shooting percentages. pic.twitter.com/y52ITSw1ds
— Kevin Keneely (@KevinKeneely1) March 1, 2020
Collins is nearing the end of his rookie contract and will be a restricted free agent at the end of next season (who knows when that will be). The Hawks front office can avoid any unnecessary drama and tension by offering Collins a max-contract extension. In that scenario, Collins gets a slight increase in his rookie contract’s final year before the extension takes effect in the 2021-2022 season.
This decision should be a lay-up for the Hawks. Collins has proved himself to be the perfect running-mate with Young. The 6’9″ shape-shifter can guard multiple positions, run the floor, and step out and knock down threes. Given the improvement John the Baptist has made since his rookie season, it’s easily plausible that he can be the second-best player on a playoff team.
John Collins has 12 points in under six minutes, including a pair of threes. pic.twitter.com/Ojb3TPiJdl
— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) February 29, 2020
The only thing more enjoyable than his highlight-reel plays is his positive attitude. It’s easy to get your head down during a losing season, but few players in the league are as relentlessly-upbeat as Collins. He’s a culture guy who understands what it means to play for a city like Atlanta. Not to mention he has a future in car commercials too.
Of course, the Hawks can’t make any move at this exact moment because the 2019-2020 season is still going on (training camp started almost a year ago). The NBA calendar is jacked up, and who knows what the salary cap will look like. One of the few things we can bet on is Collins producing on the court and posterizing 7-footers with a smile on his face. Happy birthday John Collins, now settle for nothing less than a max contract extension.