Hawks Player Previews: John Collins

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John Collins, the man looking for a new contract extension, is next up in our player preview series. Collins is entering his fourth year with the Hawks, and his success on the court is crucial to Atlanta’s playoff aspirations. There has been plenty of talk about his future in Atlanta given the signing of Danilo Gallinari and a possible max contract extension.

Let’s take a deep dive into John Collins.

Player History

Collins was born in Layton, Utah and moved around a lot as a youth because his father was in the Navy. He settled for his high school basketball career in Florida, attending Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, where he became a star.

Collins was a consensus four-star recruit for the high school class of 2015. He played two seasons at Wake Forest University and broke out as a sophomore, averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds per game with strong percentages from the field and a respectable free throw percentage of 74.5%. NBA Scouts took notice and Collins was selected with the 19th overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks, which is looking like highway robbery early in his career.

Collins was not a full-time starter in his rookie season, but he became the starting power forward in his second season and had career-high averages across the board in his third year, averaging 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.4 Stocks (Steals and Blocks) per game. He had shooting splits of 58/40/80. Numbers-wise, Collins could be considered an All-Star caliber player in the Eastern Conference. He rebounds well, can finish around the rim, and is becoming a sniper from beyond the arc.

Season Expectations

Collins should continue this season where he left off. His per-game numbers this year will likely stay the same or even dip a little bit given the signings the Hawks have made. Gallo and Bogdanovic will each average somewhere between 15-20 ppg and Trae Young will be the leading scorer. However, while his points per game might dip, his efficiency and defensive ratings should be areas where he can continually improve.

There is also the contract situation to consider. Collins could end up blowing away his career-highs. Nothing motivates an NBA player more than being offered a smaller contract than they think they deserve. Collins feels he is worthy of a max extension, but the Hawks have been hesitant to give him one.

Personally, I want the Hawks to give Collins a max or something close to it. He’s been really consistent, plays hard, likes being in Atlanta, and I think he is worth the money. If they don’t sign him to an extension, expect the trade rumors to start swirling. An interesting one posed by Chase would be including Collins in a package for James Harden. The recent uncovering of Harden’s recent actions might make that trade unlikely, but something similar could be in the works if the Hawks don’t extend him before the season. 

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