Since the Portland Trail Blazers moved up in the 2017 NBA Draft to select Zach Collins, a relatively-untried forward out of Gonzaga, pundits have been on the fence about his utility and the wisdom of the move. Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report dropped off that fence this New Year’s. As part of a list naming the biggest regret of 2017 for all 30 NBA teams, he cited Collins as Portland’s reason for remorse.
The Portland Trail Blazers can be excused for consolidating multiple first-round draft picks into a single selection, since they already had a nearly complete roster and were sure to have trouble clearing up spots for unpolished rookies.
But packaging together Nos. 15 and 20 to move up and select Zach Collins at No. 10 overall doesn't seem to be working out...yet.
Collins was always viewed as a raw prospect who shot up draft boards thanks to the all-around potential he flashed at Gonzaga. But he played only 17.3 minutes per game during his freshman season with the Bulldogs before declaring for the pros, averaging just 10.0 points and 5.9 rebounds while calling Spokane home.
Maybe the upside was enough to justify a lottery selection. But on this team? For a version of the Blazers that was looking to win now while still featuring Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum? On a roster that already had Jusuf Nurkic, Ed Davis, Meyers Leonard, Noah Vonleh and Al-Farouq Aminu competing for minutes at power forward and center?
Not all the logic makes sense, even if consolidation was the right course of action.
Collins is averaging 3.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game for the Blazers, shooting 36% from the field and 30% from the arc.
Among Fromal’s other citations for biggest regrets are the Sacramento Kings getting so little in return for the DeMarcus Cousins trade, the Oklahoma City Thunder believing in Carmelo Anthony, and the Dallas Mavericks trading for Nerlens Noel.
Do you agree with Collins’ selection as the worst regret? We can probably think of several alternatives without trying too hard. What are yours?