Last season, the argument for the top rookie centered around the previously injured Aussie Ben Simmons, the scoring dervish of Donovan Mitchell, and the unstoppable paternal hype train of Lonzo Ball. Portland Trail Blazers first-round pick Zach Collins was an afterthought, playing 66 games off the bench and averaging just 4.4 points and 3.3 rebounds a game.
Yet just eleven games into the new season, Collins has vaulted into the top ten sophomores, according to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report.
Collins was ranked No. 8 among his peers, with Wasserman praising his work around the rim:
Shooting 59.0 percent, he’s averaging 10.8 points and 1.8 blocks in just 20.9 minutes. Collins looks quick off the ground, posing as a high-percentage target around the basket, as well as an active, mobile rim protector.
The second-year center from Gonzaga already has 0.4 Defensive Win Shares and a 2.8 Defensive Box Plus/Minus, which, if it holds for the season, would be higher than every player on the Trail Blazers last season.
Collins is ranked between Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks (No. 9) and Jarrett Allen of the Brooklyn Nets (No. 7). The top two is unsurprising, with Simmons and Mitchell heading the list.