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John Collins pegged as mid-first round pick most likely to exceed expectations

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2017 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

There has been quite a debate about what kind of role John Collins will (or should) play during his rookie season with the Atlanta Hawks. Aside from that, though, the vast majority of the buzz surrounding the No. 19 overall pick has been positive and that continued this week.

Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report pegged Collins as the player from the mid-first round that displays the ability to exceed expectations and part of that comes as a result of situation.

The Atlanta Hawks have a better shot at winning the lottery than competing in the playoffs. Collins is already the most exciting big in an Ersan Ilyasova-Dewayne Dedmon-led frontcourt. His development should be the priority for coaches.

He'll have the chance to play significant minutes and through mistakes.

As noted above, Collins isn’t guaranteed playing time but, considering the lack of proven and impressive options ahead of him, there will certainly be a chance (at some point) for the Wake Forest product to excel.

Beyond that, Wasserman notes the athleticism and high-end efficiency that were on full display at the college level and how that could aid in his transition.

Even without proven shooting range or refined one-on-one skills, his explosive athleticism and motor should continue leading to easy baskets (62.2 percent FG at Wake Forest in 2016-17) and rebounds (14.8 per 40 minutes). Collins averaged 15.4 points and 9.2 boards per game on 59.3 percent shooting in the summer league, so that didn't appear overly challenging for him, either.

With good timing as a roll man and cutter and the coordination to catch and finish in traffic, he should give Dennis Schroder a needed weapon in the two-man game.

Collins’ ability to explode athletically while catching and finishing in the lane will be crucial to his development and there were strong indications of that during the Las Vegas Summer League. In fact, the big man flashed an interesting ability as a big-to-big passer and, if he can sure up the jump shot, the offensive end won’t be a concern for Collins.

It says quite a bit about Collins that so many national pundits have recognized his talent and, from a Hawks perspective, his trajectory when compared to draft position. The 2017-2018 season is rapidly approaching and, if nothing else, it is (very) easy to get excited about John Collins.