PF Wake Forest John Collins 6’10” 225 6’10” wingspan
Player Comparison: Shawn Kemp/ Dwight Powell
Why here: The Blazers have three first round selections (15, 20, and 26). I fully expect them to trade one if not two of these picks to move up or grab a more established veteran all while dumping some bad contracts (cough cough Evan Turner at 17 mil, cough cough Crabbe at 18, cough cough Meyers Leonard at 11- gag). Dumping these players in conjunction with one of the later picks to a team searching for talent at any level is a very viable option (see Brooklyn Nets, Sacramento Kings). They also might go the draft and stash route with the latter of their selections, but that’s not here.
Collins will provide Nurkic relief now that he has adorned the starting role, and has potential to fill in well as a four with Nurkic in the game. Nurkic has range, ball handling ability, and a good eye for assists—all will pair very well with the pick and roll savvy and highflying Collins.
Collins is the nerd’s prospect, appealing to statisticians with his testing in several different analytical areas. These include his baffling PER of 35.9 and per40 averages of 30ppg and 14rpg. Collins gave me the most struggle in where to place him on this mock, as I had him as high as nine to the Mavs, and as low as 22 to the Nets. Clearly I chose a happy medium.
Strengths: Explosively athletic… bouncy leaper in traffic… awesome lob target… frequent posterizer. Sprints to all locations… clearly has good motor and heart for the game. Analytically the best P&R big in college hoops… strong screener… fills space well… good hands- catches direct, bounce, and over the top passes with equal ease. Coming from a military family and structured coaching, John seems extremely motivated and inspired to be a winner on the court while bettering his own game. In an interview with Chris Dortch from NBA.com, Collins said he enjoyed being double and triple teamed.
Efficient from all facets of floor… great at drawing fouls and sinking ‘em from the charity stripe… most of his shots are at the rim where he is dependable and consistent… has a gentle touch when he isn’t ripping the rim off the backboard… footwork is above average in the post… has a good array of post moves with baby hooks, turnarounds, drop steps, face-ups with jab steps, and even the occasional shimmy shot. Finishes well with both hands at unusual angles through severe contact. Is very smooth in general. Gets into beneficial position early, sealing the defender quickly making the entry pass very simple.
Great rebounder on both ends. Combines leaping ability with his ability to accurately predict ball trajectory off the rim. Good at fighting for position and using his athleticism to get hands on the ball. Never quits… lots of tip-in’s and putback slams… gets fouled on rebounds frequently.
Average mid range shooter who can sink open looks… more efficient off one or two dribbles into the paint rather than taking a mid to long two.
Defensively is quick enough to handle switches. Is quick to help defend, gets most of his blocks from weak side help. Stands his ground for the most part on post D. Alters plays in the air, especially in transition and fast break defense.
Weaknesses: Measurables and play style don’t align with today’s NBA. Has size of four but game of five. Doesn’t space the floor or play much at all outside of 15-17 feet.
Is generally pretty weak defensively. Rim protection skills befuddle the viewer similar to how Blake Griffin does not get blocks. As in- how the heck is someone this explosively athletic on the jump and smart in terms of timing with other aspects of his game this bad at blocking shots? Defensive issues seem to be problems with fundamentals and basics… often over-extends, runs past his man, loses his guy through screens, or bites on pump fakes… reaches for poke outs too often, resulting in lots of whistles blown… leaves his feet too often. Outside of weak side blocks, is not a great shot rejecter. His defense in the post is predictable… big men with varying post arsenal can evade and trick Collins. Struggles guarding the p&r… low defensive IQ shines through… guards put him on his heels… doesn’t know where to be when… often gives lazy hedge, resulting in overexertion and a foul on the recovery. Spaces the floor unusually off ball on D… doesn’t block off passing lanes or put himself in position to help if needed. It’s a possibility that his lack of education on defensive principles results in his lack of effort, which is unusual in comparison to his full-fledged ball out mentality on offense. Length becomes an issue when guarding a bigger opponent.
Not a strong passer. Turns ball over occasionally, especially when forced to pick up dribble while attacking. Telegraphs everything, resulting in lots of fast break offense for the other team. 24 assists and 92 turnovers over his course of Wake Forest career.
He often puts on the blinders on offense, getting himself into trouble because of his subpar handle and poor passing ability. Goes right to work regardless if defense is allowing it… forces a lot… misses open teammates because of his confidence to push through double teams. He struggles to use post moves against larger defenders, which could be a big problem at the next level. Needs to develop his finesse… is mostly power and explosion based… has nice touch on hooks and tips but doesn’t have feel on how to use english… doesn’t have knowledge on how to avoid contact… no slithering.
Outlook: John Collins is either going to be really good or really uninspiring, and we should know relatively quickly. His game isn’t the most translatable, but if he can remain at another level athletically in contrast to his peers then it wont matter. The Blazers frontcourt is relatively open outside of Nurkic, so Collins should get minutes to prove his relevance and increase his defensive baseline.
Random Prediction: Two time dunk contest participant– 0 victories. 2018 All NBA Rookie First Team. Plays on seven different franchises.