John Collins has become a questionable fit at times for the Atlanta Hawks over the past season. The Hawks’ front office may have been looking for a trade partner for Collins since the middle of last season as rumors have continued to swirl into this offseason. Although the former Wake Forest forward has improved every season of his career, finding a new team for him could be forced.
Collins had his best season statistical season in the 2019-2020, as he averaged 21.6 points per game with shooting splits of 58.3/40.1/80 from the field. Throughout his career, Collin’s stats have stayed reasonably similar on a per shot basis. The only reason his numbers decreased this past season was because of Collin’s injury and trade rumors. Collins dealt with a foot and finger injury in March, which sidelined him until the playoffs started versus the Miami Heat. He finished the season averaging his second lowest scoring at averaging 16.2 points per contest.
Although he had an unorthodox season, he still managed to shoot the ball well. After his first two seasons, he improved his three-point shot. He was shooting 34.0 and 34.8 percent from three in his rookie and sophomore year but shot well over 36.0 percent at the three-point line in his last three seasons, including this previous season. The system Lloyd Pierce and then Nate McMillan placed for Collins allowed him to be great a catch-in-shoot wing as a big. He shot 42.5% from three while catching and shooting in the 2019-20 season, including 40% at three-point line in the following season.
Tempers flared as reports emerged that Collins believed he wasn’t used the right way in the Hawks’ system, as the offense evolved around Young. His highest usage percentage was 23 percent compared to Young’s 33.3 percent inside their career.
Young and Collins did make a good pick-and-roll duo. Young did a terrific job finding Collins on lobs and pocket passes throughout the game. Collins averaged 1.44 points per possession while being in the 94.6 percentile as a pick-and-roll man, per Synergy. Per NBA stats, Young to Collins was 54 percent from the field. It seemed like the two players got along, as they became the main catalyst to lead the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021 since the 2015 season.
Collins finished at 71.7 percent at the rim, including getting 1.30 points per possession while cutting without the basketball. His skillset is mainly used as a role player that can provide offense in the right matchup.
Hopefully the Hawks and Collins can co-exist, as he is a valuable player on the court with Young. Many would love to see how Collins fits with Dejounte Murray and Young on the court, as he has the ability space the floor amongst the wings. Since Murray isn’t the best shooter, having Collins on the court for kickouts could be effective.
Having Collins on the Hawks this season makes since, as his upside is still growing. It’s never shown that Collins does not like to share the same court as Young. When he is on the court, he is fighting for loose balls, taking good shots, or making defensive stops or rebounds. Collins can become useful alongside Murray and Young, as this trio could be dangerous. In my opinion, Collins is a great player who can help Atlanta wear defenses down. Only time shall tell.