The Atlanta Hawks need help in the frontcourt for the future and that has been the focus of many mock drafts to this point in the process. One name that popped up early for the Hawks was Wake Forest big man John Collins and, in a recent mock draft from Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, his name arose yet again in conjunction with the No. 19 overall pick.
Collins was ranked 230th in the Class of 2015, according to 247Sports. But he still developed into a player who averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds this season and emerged as a legitimate NBA prospect. In other words, he's one of this draft's most surprising stories and the type of thing Wake Forest coach Danny Manning can use to influence recruits going forward.
Collins is very different from the project big men that Atlanta has been tied to in other areas. Unlike Jarrett Allen, Justin Patton, Ike Anigbogu and others, Collins has proven to be a dynamic, consistent player at the college level and he was one of the best pick-and-roll finishers in the country as a sophomore.
In terms of numbers, the 6’10 big man averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in only 26.6 minutes per game and it would be easy to get swallowed up by that high-level production. With that said, Collins does have some shortcomings.
He measured with a wingspan less than 7’0 and that was a hiccup with his already discouraging defensive profile. To put it mildly, Collins was a bad defender at the college level, even as a second-year player. While he could improve there in the future, Collins probably needs to play center with the way the NBA is going right now and he would need to be paired with a defense-first option at power forward.
In the end, Collins may not be a starting-caliber player, but more of a scorer as a third big off the bench. There is nothing inherently wrong with that but, if you are in the camp that Atlanta needs to swing for upside with the No. 19 pick, Collins probably doesn’t fit that idea perfectly.
Alas, here we are. Do you like the idea of John Collins in a Hawks uniform? Let us know in the comments.