Because Collins is in a contract year, and it is believed he will be looking for a max this offseason, his performance is under a microscope. And unfortunately, when that happens, the bad performances are often remembered for much longer than the good ones. That’s been the case for Collins this postseason.
It’s fair to say Collins has disappeared offensively at times during the playoffs. Most notably, in Game 2 against the Knicks, when he scored zero points in the Hawks loss. Collins also only had eight points on 4-11 shooting in Atlanta’s loss to Philadelphia in Game 2. However, more often than not, he’s been ultra-reliable, and in the Hawks last two wins, he’s made numerous plays that don’t show up on the stat sheet but simply help the team win.
Game 3 against the 76ers was Collins’ least efficient shooting performance of the postseason, but he brought the team back to life with two put-back dunks in the second half. He collected 12 boards on the night to go along with 14 points while also playing fantastic defense. Two nights later, the Hawks turned to Collins early. He was one of the only people to get anything going offensively in the first quarter. Collins went on to make three of his four threes, leading to 19 points to go along with 11 more rebounds. He also made several critical defensive plays down the stretch, like this block.
This block by JC is awesome, but something else I noticed on my rewatch is how engaged Bogi was from the bench. Despite being benched for all of crunch time, he was one of, if not the most, engaged on the sideline. Signs of a great team culture pic.twitter.com/4U6wILSBzT
— Christian Salvador (@CSalvador24) June 17, 2021
Collins’ playoff scoring may be slightly down from the regular season. But that’s far from abnormal, and he’s been just as efficient. Collins is shooting 54.9% from the field and a remarkable 43.8% from deep. It’s also worth mentioning that the two teams the Hawks have been matched up with in the playoffs are both elite defensively with a ton of length in the paint. The only thing I would ask from him moving forward is to pull the trigger more often, especially with how some of the other Hawks have struggled from behind the arc in this series.
So does John Collins deserve a max? I’m not sure, but other teams sitting on the couch right now are watching, and they recognize just how much value he brings to the Hawks each night. Someone will offer him a boatload of money this offseason. I’m not sure how Travis Schlenk can let him walk, but it will undoubtedly be the Hawks most critical decision of the summer.