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Who Will the Trail Blazers Play with Zach Collins While Ed Davis is Out?

Collins and Davis have been attached at the hip this season. What now?

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers center Ed Davis is sidelined for up to two weeks with an ankle sprain. Throughout the season Davis has proven to be a valuable mentor to rookie Zach Collins both on and off the court. Practically attached at the hip for most of the season, 20-year-old Collins has played 80% of his minutes (731 of 909) alongside the 28-year-old vet, according to

Who will coach Terry Stotts pair up with Collins while Ed Davis is out? Or is the apprentice ready to strike out on his own?

The chart below summarizes how the team has performed when Collins plays with Davis and without Davis, and lists comparable numbers when Collins plays with the other, experienced Blazer bigs, Al Farouq Aminu, Jusuf Nurkic and Meyers Leonard.

Zach Collins Pairings

2017-18 Season Total minutes Points per possession (PPP) Total Reb % Total OReb %
2017-18 Season Total minutes Points per possession (PPP) Total Reb % Total OReb %
Team average 1.117 51.4 23.1
Collins and Davis 731 1.172 54.3 26.5
Collins w/o Davis 178 1.034 49.8 15.6
Collins and Aminu 89 1.062 50.3 18.3
Collins and Nurkic 40 0.964 54.1 33
Collins and Leonard 24 1.208 43.2 9.1

Collins with Davis

Over the course of the season, when Collins and Davis are on the floor, the team scores and rebounds at above their average rate.

Collins without Davis

Points per possession for the team drop from 1.172 with Collins/Davis to 1.03 when Collins is without Davis. Over 100 possessions that is a difference of 117 points and 103 points. Pretty substantial. Their rebounding percentage drops almost 5% while their offensive rebounding percentage plummets by 10%.

Collins and Aminu

After Ed Davis, Collins has played more minutes with Aminu than any other big man. While Amimu would make an excellent mentor for the rookie, Stotts might have to change the lineup quite a bit to pair them consistently. The starters depend on Aminu to draw attention away from Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum with his 3 point shooting. Additionally, Collins would likely be called on to play center in this pairing. That might work if they are playing small ball lineup but not in most situations, especially if Davis’s absence extends into the first round of the playoffs.

Collins and Nurkic

Collins has only played with Nurkic while Davis sits for about 40 minutes this season. When Collins and Nurkic are on the floor together the team rebounds well, but their point production suffers. With a spotty 3 point shooting record so far this year, Collins doesn’t demand much attention on the 3 point line and it is harder to score without spacing. There is a leap in OReb% over even the Davis/Collins pairing, but the team’s plus minus while they are in together is negative.

Collins and Leonard

If Stotts wants be the least disruptive to his starting lineup (considering Moe Harkless is already out), he may try playing Collins alongside Meyers Leonard. Collins and Leonard have shared the floor only 24 minutes this season. The team’s PPP while these two are in, 1.208, is by far the highest of any two-big combinations mentioned here, but the rebounding suffers. The rebounding percentage is the lowest by quite a wide margin.

Now what?

So there are the WOWOY numbers. Who steps in to mentor Collins? Who will be the Jedi Master to ensure continued growth of the young Padawan? Or is it time for him to strike out on his own?