After a bit of time to allow the 2017-2018 season to breathe, there are a number of on-court questions to answer and, in this space over the next few days, the Peachtree Hoops staff will spring into action to tackle them. In our final installment, our writers look back at the 2017 NBA Draft with an eye toward where John Collins actually should have been taken.
Brad Rowland: The (very) safe answer is that John Collins would be a lottery pick and no one would rationally d. There are a few absolute no-brainers (Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum) to select ahead of Collins in a re-draft but, after that, it gets fairly interesting. I do think that Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr. and De’Aaron Fox, as point guards, would be given the benefit of the doubt in the early going and there are debates with players like Jonathan Isaac, Josh Jackson and Lauri Markkanen. For me, Collins isn’t a no-brainer to jump any of those players but he is clearly ahead of Zach Collins, Malik Monk, Luke Kennard, Justin Jackson, Justin Patton, D.J. Wilson and T.J. Leaf, all of whom were selected in front of him. Given that only Kyle Kuzma, OG Anunoby and Jarrett Allen would even be in the conversation behind him (I’d rather have Collins than the trio), it’s looking like a home run draft pick. Finally, I do think it’s a matter of taste, Collins was clearly better as a rookie than some lottery picks who I think would still go ahead of him (Isaac, Jackson and the point guards) and the impact of that would vary based on who you’d talk to.
Jeff Siegel: Of the players who were chosen ahead of Collins, I’d say that Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson, De’Aaron Fox, Jonathan Isaac, Lauri Markkanen, Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith, and Donovan Mitchell would still go ahead of him in a redraft. Some of those guys didn’t show a ton their rookie seasons but are upside plays and the rest have higher upside and showed that they were positive contributors at the NBA level already. Of everybody taken after Collins, only Kyle Kuzma stands out as a possible contender to beat out Collins for the 11th pick and a team’s preference there would probably be based on need: Kuzma has already proven himself to be a consistent, efficient scorer but doesn’t bring much else to the table, whereas Collins can be efficient in a supporting role but isn’t nearly the same shot creator Kuzma is. Collins comes with better rebounding and defense than Kuzma, so the beauty is in the eye of the beholder there.
Graham Chapple: This is a difficult question because it depends what way it’s being asked. Where would he go based on play this season or where would he go based on play this season and future upside? And I say that because a player like Jonathan Isaac, for example, didn’t play a lot this season but still has a high ceiling and I wouldn’t blame a team for selecting him before Collins in redrafts based on that. Same as Markelle Fultz. He barely played this season and Collins obviously enjoyed a better rookie season but Fultz isn’t falling out of the top five in a redraft.
So, all things considered, I’d say Collins probably goes 10th or so in a redraft. In terms of actual play this season, I think there were only five or six rookies that actually played better than Collins this season. Collins’ production was pretty good when he was on the floor and there’s significant upside to his offensive and defensive game.
Glen Willis: Probably around 10th. Although if he continues to develop his shot and learns how to play defense without fouling as frequently, a year from now he might rank higher than that. I consider him to have been a great find at the 19th spot in the draft. He also has the reputation of being a hard worker, coachable and a team-minded player, so that’s also encouraging. Additionally, his play at the rim definitely made the team more fun to watch this season.
Greg Willis: This answer depends on how we would project his ceiling at this point. Collins worked hard and did a lot of nice things this season. He seems to have a very mature approach to his work as a young NBA player. His ceiling really hinges on whether he can make plays on the offensive end with the ball in his hands, something he did not have many opportunities to do this season. I think he has plenty more upside in his offensive game that we have not yet seen. If I were to re-draft the 2017 class myself, I think Collins would land in the 8-12 range.
Sam Meredith: If you were to evaluate players based offtheir value over replacement player, John Collins would’ve been the Hawks MVP this season. He was better than anyone could have expected on defense and his offensive skill-set speaks for itself. John is an absolute monster on the glass and in a re-draft would go between 5-10 if I had to guess. The best part? Collins doesn’t even turn 21 until September.
Xavier Cooper: John Collins probably surprised people this season with how well he played. His numbers aren’t as extreme as Donovan Mitchell or Kyle Kuzma, but for a rookie, John Collins didn’t look out of place. If he had to be re-drafted he’d go at least top ten. John Collins would have been chosen as a safe pick for a team that didn’t want to take a chance on a high-risk, high-reward player. John Collins would have been that safe pick at around maybe the 9th-12th pick.
Zach Hood: I think Collins would go anywhere from 9-13 in a hypothetical redraft. Donovan Mitchell, Lonzo Ball, Jayson Tatum, Markelle Fultz, De’Aaron Fox, Lauri Markkanen, Dennis Smith and Josh Jackson would all go before Collins I believe. Kyle Kuzma, Jonathan Issac, Bam Adebayo and Frank Ntilikina would all have fairly solid arguments to be picked just as high as Collins in my opinion as well. Collins had a top six or so rookie this season but some front offices may still prefer to go with a promising versatile wing like Isaac or even Malik Monk (though that may be a stretch) depending on the varying needs of each team.