The Atlanta Hawks are now 5-19 after a 128-111 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. We all saw this coming; the Hawks weren’t expecting to come into the season a playoff team, but they did expect to see a spike in development in certain players as the season progressed. Since he’s returned from an ankle injury in mid-November, sophomore John Collins has emerged as one of the Hawks’ most consistent players.
Collins had a respectable rookie season, averaging 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds. This was a shock considering he didn’t play many minutes and he didn’t start until later on that season. But here we are, 24 games into the season, and John Collins is proving last season wasn’t just a fluke.
Since returning into action, Collins has averaged 27 minutes per game, up a few ticks from last season. Collins is averaging 15.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. Collins is also shooting an efficient 61.2 percent from the field and 80 percent from the stripe. His outside jumper has room to improve as his career continues; he’s shooting a meager 11.8 percent from long range this season on very few attempts. This isn’t too much of a big deal for now considering he’s a big man and isn’t required to take as many as a guard or wing players. However, Collins developing into an outside threat would be a nightmare for other teams on defense.
Collins even had a game-winning block on a Kemba Walker floater a few games back. Against the Warriors on Monday night, Collins posted his career-high 24 points to go along with 11 rebounds. He has also had three double-double performances through nine games.
Collins’ main strength coming into the league last year was his athleticism. In his second season, he’s showing he can use that athleticism to grab boards, catch alley-oops, and make layups with defenders in his face. Collins is also showing he has a little face-up game from mid-range. The Warriors game was where Collins showed his versatility the most on offense. He used an array of moves to get his shot going at the basket.
On defense, Collins hasn’t showed anything particularly special. He’s only averaging 0.6 blocks and 0.1 steals a game, but the potential will always be there because of his ability to be quick off his feet in certain angles under the basket. This was his weakness coming into the league so if he can improve on the defensive end it’ll be a plus for the Hawks organization in the future.
Collins has only played nine games so far this season, but with limited time and a small sample size he’s playing pretty well. Hawks GM Travis Schlenk has to be happy that the guy he picked with the No. 19 pick is overachieving thus far in his second season.