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Zach Collins Will Be Ready

The third year Blazers big man has some challenges to overcome, but he is prepared to do the work.

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NBA: Playoffs-Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of speculation about the Portland Trail Blazers’ third year big man, Zach Collins, wondering whether he can follow up on his performance during last season’s playoffs in this upcoming season. Jason Quick of the Athletic reports that Collins, who suffered a ligament tear in his ankle earlier this summer, will be ready for camp, and has been cleared for contact in practice. Collins injured his ankle when going against Andre Drummond at Tim Grgurich’s skills camp in Las Vegas.

The ankle is healing — Collins was cleared for contact workouts on Monday — and he expects to be 100 percent for training camp, but there are likely more hurdles ahead. He figures to be a regular starter for the first time since high school, on a team that expects to at least return to the Western Conference finals.

The former No. 10 overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft will be under the spotlight, and he knows it. But in the shadows, Collins said his biggest wrestling match will be with himself, and in particular, his mental makeup.

But that isn’t the only challenge Collins is facing as the season approaches. Quick digs into what makes Collins tick in his piece, focusing closely on Collins’ relationship with his father, Mike, who has been his biggest supporter. Mike Collins has coached his son for many years, and the elder Collins knows better than anyone what obstacles the younger faces on the court: namely himself. And the younger recognizes what he needs to do to address that.

It’s one of his curses. He is hyper competitive, and an intensely harsh critic of himself, which motivates him to never be satisfied. But at the same time, he can whip himself into a frenzy that destroys his own confidence.

“Sometimes I get lost on drawing the line of trying to push myself and giving myself a break,” Collins said. “I think it’s just realizing that no one is going to play the perfect game, ever. I’m still fighting that.

“So that’s my biggest goal for me this year: to stay even keeled, and not get super high or super low. If I can do that, everything else will take care of itself.”

Anyone who has seen Zach Collins play recognizes that he has a certain fire that boils over from time to time. After sitting on the sidelines at Summer League, Collins says he has a better idea of how to pull himself out of his own head. It is something to look for when he takes the court during this upcoming season.

You can read the rest of Quick’s piece here.