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John Collins named to Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars game

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The Hawks will be sending a representative to All-Star weekend.

New Orleans Pelicans v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

Each year, the NBA world descends on a particular city in February for All-Star weekend and, while most of the focus is on the All-Star game itself (in addition to Saturday evening’s contest festivities), there are other reasons for players to be invited to participate. One such reason is Friday’s Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars game and, in 2018, John Collins will represent the Atlanta Hawks on the United States team.

The No. 19 overall pick was selected as one of the top members of the rookie class and that is high praise for the former Wake Forest star. Through 40 games of action, Collins is averaging 10.6 points (on 59 percent shooting) and 6.9 rebounds per game in an average of 22.2 minutes of court time and, on a per-minute basis, he has certainly been among the best first-year players in the league.

In fact, Collins leads the Hawks and the entire rookie class in PER (21.1) and his highlight-worthy play has infused excitement into an otherwise less than inspiring season for the Hawks. Beyond that, Collins’ presence in this particular environment should be a lot of fun, as the Rising Stars game is not exactly known for defense and his ferocious dunks should fit in quite nicely.

The Hawks don’t have a player participating in Sunday’s All-Star Game for the first time since the 2012-2013 season but Atlanta fans will have a reason to tune in on Friday evening. Stay tuned.