Each week Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports pens a ranking of NBA Rookies, tracking their progress through Season 1 of their careers. This week’s list is significant for a few reasons. Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen rockets from off the list to the top spot. Perpetual powerhouses Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum swirl spots around Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball. And if you scroll way, way, way down the page you’ll find a name familiar to Portland Trail Blazers fans: Zach Collins.
Collins gets no text. He doesn’t have a ranking by his name. Look closely at the following picture and you can see how much respect the Blazers get for his inclusion.
But you know what? Only 10 rookies are ranked. Only 3 are “on the bubble”. That means, at worst, in a backward way, Portland’s top pick of the 2017 NBA Draft ranks for a week as the 13th-best rookie in the whole NBA. Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma isn’t ahead of him. Neither is Golden State Warriors darling Jordan Bell. Both of those players come under the summary-dismissal designation, “Off the List”.
Given the amount of negative publicity Collins and his team have received since draft night, this can be considered progress. Who knows? Maybe someday the Gonzaga product will take his beloved Insert Team Logo Heres all the way to an NBA title.