Portland Trail Blazers rookie Zach Collins’ up-and-down season took a definite upswing on Saturday night as he posted an enormous 12-point, 5-rebound, infinite-defense game to help his team defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder. In the wake of this significant performance, Portland teammates are singing the praises of the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Joe Freeman of The Oregonian published multiple examples in a Sunday afternoon article that’s well worth the time for anyone who wants to swoon over Collins’ potential.
Freeman relays Damian Lillard’s praises for the rookie’s work ethic and demeanor:
“He’s just steady,” Damian Lillard said. “Usually, when you have a rookie, emotionally, it’s kind of like a roller coaster. Missing or making shots. Getting minutes. Not getting minutes. With Zach, every day he comes in, he’s the same. He’s smiling, saying, ‘What’s up?’ He goes and gets his work in with the coaches on the other end. He’s just the same...”
Ed Davis cites Collins’ toughness:
“He’s always willing to learn. He’s not one of those rookies who thinks he knows everything. I love playing with him. I think he’s going to be very good in this league. He’s tough. Usually you get a rookie out there, especially from a small school like Gonzaga, they can be scared out there. Guys try to punk them. But he doesn’t back down. A guy like that, that’s all you can ask for.”
Evan Turner is not surprised that Collins shines through:
“When he performs like this in big games, it’s almost like you’re waiting for it to happen as opposed to being shocked,” Evan Turner said. “That’s who he is.”
Freeman has far more from Lillard, Davis, CJ McCollum, and Collins himself, including Collins’ big plans for the future.