The 2017 NBA Draft is less than one month away and the Portland Trail Blazers possess three first round picks (15, 20, 26). Today we take another look at prospective players and how they could benefit the Blazers, continuing the series by analyzing Wake Forest big man John Collins.
- Height: 6’10”
- Weight: 225
- Wingspan: 6’11.25”
- Shoots: Right
- Position: PF
- College: Wake Forest
- Age: 19
- Projected draft range: 14-20
- PPG: 19.2 | Per 40: 28.8
- RPG: 9.8 | Per 40: 14.8
- APG: 0.5 | Per 40: 0.8
- BLK: 1.6 | Per 40: 2.4
- STL: 0.6 | Per 40: 1.0
Collins is an above average athlete for his size and is capable of finishing around the rim at an elite level. The Florida native has a solid arsenal of back-to-the-basket post moves, and is an elite finisher in the pick-and-roll, culminating in a solid 62.2 field goal percentage over the course of the 2016-17 season. He has the tools to evolve into a midrange shooter at the next level, as he displayed competent shooting mechanics in his two-year tenure at Wake Forest. On top of his scoring ability, the 19-year-old sophomore has a knack for extending possessions by utilizing his impressive motor to outwork his opponents in the paint while pursuing rebounds.
Collins is a throwback power forward entering a league that has distanced itself from that style of play. His limited wingspan puts a firm ceiling over his ability to blossom into a rim protector, and his mental lapses while defending the pick-and-roll raise serious concerns for his ability to stay on the court in crunch time. On offense, Collins has a tough time operating outside of his comfort zone, which often results in costly turnovers. In his two-year college career, Collins accounted for 91 turnovers, while only producing 17 assists over the same span.
Despite Wake Forest’s early exit from tournament play in March, Collins managed to put up a stellar statistical season. His averages on the year placed him inside the ACC’s top five for points per game, rebounds per game, blocks per game, and field goal percentage. Collins’ proficiency across the board directly led to him capturing the best player efficiency rating (PER) in the country in 2016-17. Even with all those individual accomplishments in mind, Collins does have two blemishes on his record from last season. He only scored in single-digits twice last year, and both of those outings came against frontcourts featuring NBA-level talent (Florida State, North Carolina).
Collins’ ability to rebound and finish in the paint should immediately translate to the next level, but he must cultivate his midrange shot or become a consistent defender to develop into a competent starter in the NBA. Collins turns 20 years old in September, so he still has plenty of time to expand his game as he matures.
The Blazers need to find production at a low cost, and Collins may fit that bill. Ed Davis was a revelation in his first year with Portland, and Collins does a lot of the same things at a much lower price. Given the area that Jusuf Nurkic likes to operate in on offense, it will be imperative that the rookie from Wake Forest develops an outside shot if he hopes to eventually become a starter for the Blazers, otherwise coach Terry Stotts’ offense could face significant spacing issues.
Do you want Collins in a Trail Blazers jersey next season? Which player would you like us to analyze next? Tell us in the comments below.