PF/C Gonzaga Zach Collins 7’0” 230
Player Comparison: A Skinny Marc Gasol/ Kevin McHale
Why here: Gonzaga’s sixth man at the start of the year, Collins has blossomed into an extremely intriguing prospect. Not many players have risen draft boards as much as Collins. The Pistons snag a two way big with offensive tools to pair with rebounding monger and defensive minded Drummond. Collins shows ability to stretch the floor, fitting the ideal mold of a modern NBA big. Detroit has struggled to find the right pairing for Drummond, and Collins answers a lot of the issues with their previous failures. I’m a firm believer that the Zags win the Championship if Collins had not fouled out. Side note- the Pistons have been rumored to be shopping the 12th pick.
Strengths: A high IQ player and grinder. Has a patient offense and expansive arsenal of low post moves. Draws defenders to make mistakes, and is good at exploiting said mistakes. Gentle hands with soft touch around the rim. Good rim running abilities… catches lobs… finishes with dunks in transition. Likes to face up out of high post… has consistent stroke from 12-17 feet. Has range out to the three, consistency will be determined with a greater sample size. Effort is never lacking… dives for loose balls… doesn’t give up on broken plays… speedy reaction time… works hard on switches. Good strength with surprising speed and quickness for a big. Defends p&r well… handles switches onto guards with quick lateral speed and good use of body control… good at forcing dribble pick ups, double teams, and baseline. Fantastic self-motivator… makes impressive plays after being beaten on D or making a mistake… definitely gets into a “zone” in terms of competitiveness. Strong rim protector… has impeccable timing with his shot blocking… doesn’t get bullied in post… great at reading the opponents mind, predicting moves before they happen… disciplined in terms of verticality. Will be a steal in fantasy basketball if given minutes as he stuffs the stat sheet while notching efficient percentages. Very smart rebounder… projects misses well… fights for position and is aggressive with box out.
Weaknesses: Has no passing game… although his patience and IQ usually helps overcome ball pressure and double teams, he is subject to cough up the ball or make errant passes from time to time. Hasn’t proved himself consistently against high-level competition. Is prone to foul trouble because of aggressiveness. Body size and frame will bode better for defending fours at the next level. Sometimes struggles to fight for position on the low post… could improve his footwork on the defensive end… lack of elite length allows for passes over the top… creative low post players can swindle around Collins because of his underwhelming wingspan… sometimes bites on pump fakes. Prefers to gather himself with dribble off of catch, when keeping ball high is more advantageous- can be outlawed with correct coaching. Needs to improve his off hand finishing. Hasn’t shown much in terms of a handle, although glimpses have arisen from straight line drives. Can’t shoot off the dribble. Is good at reading closeouts, but struggles at successfully attacking them.
Outlook: Collins stock continues to rise despite being a back up for the majority of the year. His level of mystery increases his stock, as the flashes we’ve seen have been bright. If put in a situation where his strengths are needed and weaknesses are dulled, Collins could see the court a lot in his young career. Luckily Detroit is this situation.
Random Prediction: Has 9 dunks in regular season game against the Bulls his sophomore year. 1x NBA All Star (2028). Buys a submarine with his first check.