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Thread: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

  1. #1

    Default Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    6 days until draft day 2017, and the analysis train heads down to Winston-Salem North Carolina, to Wake Forest University to shine a light on the analytical darling of this particular draft, Demon Deacons big man John Collins. Previous editions of this years profiles have featured Bam Adebayo, T.J Leaf, OG Anunoby, Semi Ojeleye, Luke Kennard, and Derrick White. Those articles and ones from previous seasons can be found elsewhere on Pacersdigest.com, or through the magic of google.

    Born John Collins Martin III, Collins is the son of John Collins Jr, and Lyria Rissing-Collins. A military family, (John Jr. in the Navy and Lyria in the Air Force) meant that John had to move alot as a youngster, he was born in Layton Utah, but finally played basketball at Cardinal Newman High in West Palm Beach Florida. Ranked as the 136th player in one publication, and outside the top 200 by others just 2 years ago, Collins used a strong work ethic, really good big man coaching by Danny Manning at Wake Forest (a long time former NBA player and once high draft pick), and good athleticism to rocket toward becoming a lottery prospect in this years draft. Still just 19, Collins won’t turn 20 until late September….which means that despite being a sophomore, he is very close in age to many of the more well known players at the top of draft boards.

    Collins measurements are not typical for for a higher draft pick at his position, as he has shorter arms than many of the elite PF/C. He measured at 6’9 ½, but with just 6’11 ¼ arms, which had me and others I assume fooled a bit, as I assumed from tape he’d be taller and longer. A wiry 225lbs, like many 19 year old bigs he will need to add some weight and strength ultimately to succeed at a high level. His hops are no problem, as he measured in at 37 ½ inches in the max vertical. Training with former UCLA standout and trainer extraordinaire Don MaClean, Collins has been a very popular man these last few weeks, as his name has popped up all over the NBA map in workouts all over the country. Collins merits further discussion by us about pick #18, so let’s put him in the examine room down below.



    As mentioned above, if you are a scout who puts high value on numbers and analytics, then you likely have Collins ranked very, very high. Collins scored 19.2 PPG last year in just 26.6 minutes played, a very high scoring rate. He did that by being an extraordinary finisher around the rim (69%+ from there), by shooting a solid 74.5% FT on a high number of attempts, and by averaging 9.8 RPG. He was the first Demon Deacon since Tim Duncan to get 600 points and 300 rebounds in the same season. He had 12 straight 20 point games. He lit up opponents like Duke, when he torched Jayson Tatum and Harry Files for 31 pts and 15 rebounds. Lastly, if you like John Hollinger’s “PER” stat, Collins led the country in that number.

    When you talk about production, Collins delivered it offensively and on the glass.



    But high production doesn’t always translate to the NBA. I think in this case you have to really take a careful look at the “how” and “why” of Collins, and see if his strengths will carry over. Those strengths, to me anyway, are clear to see on tape.

    First, Collins is a big time rim runner. Collins runs the floor in a straight line like a gazelle…..especially if there is a basket to be had. He takes big, long strides and covers ground quickly, and more impressively to me has a very large catch radius, meaning he can catch the ball on the run even if it isn’t totally on target. Collins can adjust and contort his body in air, and has the hands and balance to corral the ball, then finish through contact. In fact, Collins seems to relish contact, seek it out even, so he can go eat at the line. Wake Forest was one of the best teams in the country at fouling out opponents last year, and Collins is a main reason why.
    As a ballscreener, Collins gives you a legitimate roll/dive man in the middle of the floor, and has decent range to about 12-15 feet for a short roll/face up pop game after a screen. Mainly though you want him rolling to the rim for lobs, as his love for points and big time hands make him a great candidate for lobs. Even better, because his jumper isn’t really a thought in his mind, he is a little better than average screener, and occasionally really lays the wood to ballhandlers who aren’t prepared for his physicality. On top of that, he sprints hard to most screens, has the dexterity to move his feet last second and change the screen angles, and since he loves to get the ball so much, he will normally explode out of the screen quickly and roll hard, instead of just kind of floating/coasting after a screen like some bigs do.

    As a post player, Collins has been highly productive, and he clearly has been well taught by his developmental coaches all along the process, and especially by Danny Manning, who is considered a premier big man coach in the college game. Collins I think is the best post player in the country at showing a target to the post feeder, and getting his numbers around to the passer to get himself open. Collins does work early, taking advantage of defensive post player mistakes, establishing position well, sealing guys who fall asleep or play him “even” in the post. Before the catch, Collins is a much better than average post player, especially for this time and era of basketball.

    Now after the catch, the outlook isn’t as rosy. Collins would much rather go “through” a defender or go over him, instead of putting some high level move on. Collins is very reliant on a left shoulder move when he is on the right block especially, and he has very little use of his left hand. Most of his moves are only highly effective against guys who will work in office buildings next year, so he will have to add some sophistication to his game to score against comparable athletes at the next level, especially if he ends up being a 5 man offensively, which seems pretty likely to me.



    Collins plays like an old fashioned post player, a relic from a different age. We used to call guys like him “black holes”.....because when the ball goes into him on the block, it isn’t coming out. “Thirsty” is more of a modern term now I guess, but no matter what you call it, Collins is a bucket getter in his mind, and if you throw it to him on the box, don’t expect to get it back. Not sure if it is a lack of skill or just selfishness, but either way it is bothersome to me…..just 24 assists in 2 years of college basketball for Collins is all he amassed, and quite frankly I am surprised by his tape that he had that many.

    Teams double teamed Collins a ton, and had success with it. Collins usually just tried to score anyway, or tried to make a move before it got to him. Make no mistake, he clearly played hard enough and had the skills to make it work, but I am not sure how much of that will translate. I liked him when he opened up and jabbed people off of him to shoot, but not so much when he just tried to bull his way through walls of opponents. Against a double, Collins lack of vision was a turnover waiting to happen, and when he faced up and put it on the deck, he usually still looks down at the ball and loses sight of his same colored shirts. He is some combination of an unwilling and/or awful passer. Teams will have to decide for themselves if that can be fixed with better spaced NBA offense, less double teams, and less touches in general in a smaller role with much better teammates than he had on tobacco road.

    As a jump shooter, his current range is about 12-15 feet. In fact, he took no, nada, zero, nil, zip 3 point shots last year, so he is most definitely an old fashioned type post player currently. Being a very intelligent kid though, he has no doubt been working on his longer range game in workouts, and in fact has shot the ball very well I am told all spring, especially at the combine, from long distance. Still, making jump shots with folding chairs and brooms defending you isn’t the same thing as shooting in games, so I am not overly impressed by the results I have read about with his expanding range. Form wise, I despise his spot up jumper, as he puts his left hand way too much on top of the ball for my taste, separates his hands at the release point way too far, somehow ending up with his guide hand higher than his shooting hand. It hurts my pupils, but maybe he is going to groove that into something productive eventually…...but I wouldn’t think it will be anytime soon.

    I will say this: his obvious thirst and love for the feel of a Spalding/Wilson basketball is real. It may hurt him offensively sometimes, but that love for the rock helps on the glass. Collins is a balltracker on the boards, relentless in his pursuit of both defensive and offensive caroms. Collins does most everything you want a rebounder to do. He blocks out when he has to and “sits” into the box out so he can’t get shoved under, he leaps well enough and quickly enough, and he relentlessly chases the ball like a golden retriever chases a tennis ball. He keeps balls alive by tipping them, gets rebounds both inside and outside his area, and seems to never get tired of chasing balls down. That particularly shows up on the offensive glass, where Collins had one of the single best offensive rebound rates in the country, and he did that almost all by relentless pursuit more than anything else.




    Of course, proximity has something to do with that. Not having any real range to speak of, Collins pretty much opened office hours on the low blocks or elbow areas, so he was in prime offensive rebounding real estate by design...but still, he chased them down relentlessly, and those extra possessions are valuable.

    Despite the obvious flaws, productive offensive post players who run well, screen hard, and rebound like demons are still good assets, so why isn’t he ranked higher as a player?

    One word...it starts with the letter “D”.

    Collins puts up some big guy defensive stats….he blocks his share of shots, so maybe the analytics look better for him than my scouting eye.
    I don’t think Collins doesn’t care defensively, in fact, all evidence shows that he is a high character guy who wants to do well…..but it looks like that sometimes. At best, Collins is very, very, very, very, very raw defensively. Right now, he can’t play. Most rookies will struggle with NBA defensive schemes and concepts and speed anyway, but Collins, aside from the occasional blocked shot, was about as bad as I have seen for a legitimate prospect on that end.

    He really doesn’t have a single defensive strongsuit that I see.

    In isolation against quicker bigs, he is bad. Collins has terrible alignment with his feet, opens up his hips, and lets guys drive by him pretty easily, and he lacks the athleticism and length to influence a shot in recovery.

    When trying to closeout, he doesn’t chop his feet, doesn’t play with urgency, doesn’t level people off, doesn’t slide his feet well, and quite frankly it looks like he hopes they do shoot it, so he can go chase the rebound.

    Ballscreens confuse him. Maybe their scheme was messy at Wake I don’t know, but I do know that good teams ballscreened Collins repeatedly. You’d think athletically he’d give at least some rim protection, but college ballhandlers just drove it and went at him at will…..I shudder to think about what good NBA attackers will do. In college, Collins just matadored drivers or fouled them, and his foul problems will be even bigger at this level.

    Maybe he might be a good help defender you ask? Nope. Collins is mostly unaware of what is happening, easy to screen, not a good communicator, loses track of things, has poor attention span, and is usually late to react to anything other than a missed shot. Collins is an asset defensively if a shot is missed….but his defense before that causes shots to go in too often. While Collins shows rebounding toughness, he clearly does NOT show any defensive toughness, savvy, or desire to this point. His expression in this picture shows more annoyance than enthusiasm for the defensive task:



    Now, he is very young, just 19 years old. And by all accounts he is a very smart, well spoken, intelligent kid off the floor. I don’t think Collins is lazy at all….no kid who rebounds like he does, sprints the floor like he does, dives for as many loose balls as he does, can be called lazy. But fundamentally, defensively in this college tape he is terrible. And NBA offenses are faster, better skilled, and more sophisticated than ever before…..he will need some major coaching up on defense, even more than most draftees will.

    Some franchises and some coaches think defense is much easier to teach than offensive skills are…..Larry Bird even spoke about his belief of that in prior years. If you are someone who buys into that way of thinking and that you’ll take a natural scorer and make him a passable defender, then you likely like Collins more than I do. Those “offensive” first teams may have it right…….but as for me, I’d pass. It isn’t so much that I don’t think his defense can improve (clearly, some experience and added weight plus better defensive coaching can help him), but I am not in love with his offensive game as much as others are either. I see the potential and I see the reasoning, but I am just not there. He looks like a guy who gives you ice cream for dinner…..it sounds good, but all those empty calories just give you a growling stomach and headache before bedtime.

    One offensive minded team who could take him I think is Portland at pick #15, who has multiple picks and can take a shot on his upside. The Blazers are a team that clearly favors offense, and maybe they’ll value his advanced low post game. He wouldn’t see many double teams in their “flow” offense either, so that would help him. Brooklyn or the Lakers also make sense to me, as they have the time to bring him along slowly and give him court time now, where winning isn’t a huge priority for them yet. And like alot of kids, San Antonio’s developmental machine would help him too, as Chip Engalland could fix his jumper and expand his range, and the rest of their team could teach him how to play. Ultimately though I think he ends up a Blazer at the end of the night, and I kind of think he might have a promise from them anyway. Just a hunch.

    Basically, I think the kid has alot of naturally ability, but just doesn’t really know how to play yet. I do believe he has a chance to be pretty good someday just because he is smart and plays hard mostly, but he has a long way to go and is going to be on the G-League shuttle for at least this year, and maybe more.

    Indiana can do better, especially when you consider the very awkward fit next to Myles Turner. Indiana passes in my judgment even if he gets to us.

    NBA comparable: Chris Wilcox, JJ Hickson

    As always, the above is just my opinion. Time will tell how accurate this ends up, and I have certainly been wrong before. Feel free to discuss!

    Tbird


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    Default Re: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    JJ Hickson? Hard pass on Collins, hard pass.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    . . . NBA comparable: Chris Wilcox, JJ Hickson
    I liked Wilcox and thought Hickson was the dumbest player in the league. Since Myles is a 5, it doesn't make much sense to draft another one, given the desperate need for another wing.

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    #Biggie4NPOY Heisenberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    Quote Originally Posted by imawhat View Post
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    JJ Hickson? Hard pass on Collins, hard pass.
    remember when JJ Hickson was the road block that kept the Cavs from getting a (good) Amare Stoudemire?

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    Default Re: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    The Pacers may think otherwise as they are bringing him back for a second workout against Giles. He has a Clint Capella type of game. Although, I hope they swing for the fences and take a hard look at Giles.

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    Member Handoverfist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    Black hole and type of game that doesn't always translate to the NBA? Reminds me of a certain #50 who used to play for the Pacers.

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    Formerly PacerFanInAZ Cactus Jax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    Quote Originally Posted by Handoverfist View Post
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    Black hole and type of game that doesn't always translate to the NBA? Reminds me of a certain #50 who used to play for the Pacers.
    Yeah that review really gave me Psycho T vibes, still think he can be decent but not the top choice at 18 I don't think.
    "It's just unfortunate that we've been penalized so much this year and nothing has happened to the Pistons, the Palace or the city of Detroit," he said. "It's almost like it's always our fault. The league knows it. They should be ashamed of themselves to let the security be as lax as it is around here."

    ----------------- Reggie Miller

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    #Biggie4NPOY Heisenberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    I want some tbird head coach break downs. NCAA, NBA, whichever. guys with careers like Eric Musselman's, who by all accounts is a solid person far as I know, fascinate me. dude's a really good coach but every couple years it's on to the next gig.

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    Artificial Intelligence wintermute's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    Quote Originally Posted by eldubious View Post
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    The Pacers may think otherwise as they are bringing him back for a second workout against Giles. He has a Clint Capella type of game. Although, I hope they swing for the fences and take a hard look at Giles.
    Still the first workout for Collins, I think? He was originally scheduled for an earlier workout (with the TJ Leaf group) but cancelled. This seems to be a resked.

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    Pacers Fan in England Eamer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    Still waiting on that Harry Giles analysis
    Pacers fan since April 9th 2004 - New Jersey 80 Indiana 90.
    Visited Indianapolis from November 11-28th 2016, seeing eight Pacers games.
    Saw the Pacers in London, January 2017.

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    Default Re: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    I want a Jarrett Allen scouting report.

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    Default Re: Tbird 2017 NBA Draft Analysis#7: John Collins

    Quote Originally Posted by thunderbird1245 View Post
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    Indiana can do better, especially when you consider the very awkward fit next to Myles Turner. Indiana passes in my judgment even if he gets to us.
    In a basketball universe according to Grimp where only offense exists - Collins would appear to be a great pairing with Myles, especially if his passing eye would develop a bit.

    Based on this post, they would also form one of the worst defensive big man duos all-time. Unable to stop anyone anywhere (bruisers, skill players, speed, hops, inside or on perimeter)

    PAAASSSSSSS!!!!!!

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