On a quiet scoring night for Trae Young, the Hawks were able to secure their third straight victory with a 110-99 beat down of the Boston Celtics Wednesday night. Cam Reddish and Kevin Huerter enjoyed their best individual performances of the season, scoring 19 apiece; Young finished with 18 points and 11 assists as Atlanta used a balanced approach to dismantle the Celtics. A big reason for that was John Collins, who finished the night with a team-leading 20 points and 11 rebounds.
The longest-tenured player for the Hawks is a catalyst for this team’s success because he can do so many different things well. JC’s energy is infectious, and he’s an encouraging leader. But what makes him most valuable is his versatility on the court. He’s able to play in transition or the half-court; he can be on the ball or off-ball, offensively or defensively; he’s deadly in the pick-and-roll with Young, and he rebounds effectively.
The Hawks overcame a 34-point performance from Jayson Tatum to improve to 6-1 at State Farm Arena, which is slowly becoming a true home-court advantage. Collins’ ability to help the team in so many different ways will likely keep him from getting the volume of shots he’ll need to be selected to the All-Star game, but he’s having a career year. He ranks fifth in the Association in overall RAPTOR WAR (2.4), ahead of guys like Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and DeMar DeRozan. If you don’t know what that statistic means, below is a brief description.
RAPTOR, a new statistical plus-minus method developed by FiveThirtyEight, stands for “Robust Algorithm (using) Player Tracking (and) On/Off Ratings” and measures the number of points a player contributes to team offense and team defense per 100 possessions, relative to a league-average player.
A player with an “Offensive RAPTOR Rating” of +1.5 would mean: He improves his team’s offense by 1.5 points per 100 offensive possessions while he is on the floor.
A player with a “Defensive RAPTOR Rating” of +2.4 would mean: He improves his team’s defense by 2.4 points per 100 possessions while he is on the court.
The Hawks are clearly a better team with Collins on the floor; his individual on/off statistics prove it. The difference in on/off-court points per 100 possessions is +17.6 and in eFG% is +8.7%. He’s averaging 17.1 points on 57.1% shooting from the floor and 38.6% from beyond the arc with 8.2 rebounds, all above his career averages. JC is quite literally one of the most efficient players in the league. He’s such an essential piece of this team, and it’s time he is recognized for his efforts. John The Baptist should be voted into the All-Star game if he continues this impressive play.