On Monday, the Atlanta Hawks took the opportunity to introduce the three rookies — John Collins, Tyler Dorsey and Alpha Kaba — that the team selected in 2017 NBA Draft. Within that, Collins was thoroughly asked about his expectations of himself at the NBA level and one such nugget came in the form of a current player that he models his game after.
The answer was a (very) familiar face to Hawks fans.
“I always try to take bits and pieces from different guys in the league,” Collins said. “One guy, funny enough, is Paul Millsap. That versatility. Being able to score in the post. Able to stretch, just be versatile.”
This is not the first time that Collins has been compared to Millsap, especially with regard to immense college production as a scorer and on the glass. With that said, the difference in projection, at least for some, comes with concerns about Collins’ game defensively. Later, he discussed his mindset on that end of the floor.
“For me, I always take pride in being able to be a good team defensive guy and, obviously, locking my guy down, “ Collins indicated. “There’s a certain pride that comes with being able to play great defense consistently so definitely look to be locked in at all times on the defensive end.”
Collins is certainly athletic enough to function defensively and GM Travis Schlenk publicated indicated that “with the way the league is going now, (Collins) is going to be able to play some 5.” Still, that and questions about his jump shot will go a long way in projecting the future of the former Wake Forest star.
To that end, Collins was prompted about his ability to shoot from range at the NBA level, including the possibility of a three-point jumper. “I think it was more of identifying my role at Wake. Coach didn’t necessarily ask me to shoot threes. It wasn’t part of my game plan..... If Coach Bud would like me to implement that three-point shot in my game and ask me shoot that, I’m confident and capable of having that ability in my game. That’s no problem for me. I feel confident in my shot. I’ve been working on it a lot. Obviously, with the way the league is going, you need that shot, especially at my size and at the four position.”
As with any rookie, Collins (along with Dorsey and, later, Kaba) will have plenty of areas in which improvement is necessary to reach his ultimate ceiling. Still, he appears focused and certainly capable of doing so and Monday’s press conference provides a bit of optimism for Hawks fans moving forward.