Was John Collins Rookie Year a Success?


The Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins played heavy minutes towards the end of the year, but can we consider his rookie year a success?

After a two-year stint at Wake Forest, John Collins was expected to be a high draft pick in the NBA.This came after Collins scored almost 20 points a game, averaged almost 10 rebounds, and was named to the All-ACC First Team.

Despite his production at the collegiate level, Collins fell to the Atlanta Hawks at the 19th pick. Although the Hawks had just been in the playoffs,  they were beginning the process of a rebuild.

The team had lost notable veterans Paul Millsap, Dwight Howard, and Tim Hardaway Jr, and needed a new franchise player. Collins performed well in the summer league and was expected to play heavy minutes for the Hawks.

Although he recorded a double-double in his 3rd career game, Collins only averaged 20 minutes per game in October. That number jumped to almost 25 minutes in November, and Collins responded with double-digit scoring in 9 games.

Fast forward to February, and the Hawks decided to fully embrace the concept of rebuilding.Collins saw more time in the starting lineup, and he proved to be a consistent force for the young squad.

Between his rebounding, scoring, and defensive abilities, the young forward played a big part in the young team’s success.

He also saw his minutes continue to rise, as he played almost 28 minutes per game in March.

This included a game against the Hornets that saw him finish with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and two three-pointers.

Where did Collins stand out this year and where does he need to improve?

Although nobody expects Collins to ever top the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage, his 34% is respectable for a big man.This was the part of his game that seemed to develop the most towards the end of the season.

Although it’s a small sample size, Collins converted on more than 40% of his threes in 12 of his last games.

If the Hawks want to develop him into a potential franchise player, they’ll need to work on his shot this summer to ensure he makes more positive strides next season.Collins will also need to work on his defensive game, as he dealt with foul trouble throughout the season.

Look through his season stats,  and you’ll see numerous games where Collins had 4 or 5 fouls.These issues came despite the fact that he played small minutes at several points this year.

Although some of this can be attributed to the other players starting for the Hawks, it’s still an area he struggled in.

Defensive improvements will be important for Collins if he wants to avoid becoming a liability for the team.

It’s safe to say Collins rookie season was a success, but there are obvious areas where he can improve.

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If he is able to make those improvements next year, the Hawks should see a decent jump in the standings. Collins was overshadowed by fellow rookie Donovan Mitchell, but the Hawks likely found a steal with their 19th pick.