- Atlanta Hawks big man John Collins looked like the best player on the court throughout Summer League and once again impressed in his preseason debut Monday, finishing with 18 points in 20 minutes.
- Below I detail why he's a leap candidate for the 2018-19 season and why I'm buying him in DFS and props markets.
While all the focus surrounding the Hawks will be on how Trae Young fares as a rookie, what I’m most looking forward to is seeing how John Collins continues to progress as he enters his second season.
Collins looked like the best player on the court throughout Summer League and once again impressed in his preseason debut Monday, finishing with 18 points in 20 minutes while being front and center in a few highlights.
Here he is trying to get away with attempted murder:
And here he is throwing down an off-the-backboard pass from Young:
Collins excelled as a rim-runner Monday, with all eight of his buckets coming on layups and dunks, but he’s made it a point to evolve beyond that. “Looking at new reads, being able to read new plays, shoot the 3, maybe drive and kick, drive and get to the cup,” he responded when asked what he’s trying to add to his game this season.
And while droves of big men such as Andre Drummond and Ian Mahinmi come out of nowhere every summer and say they want to start shooting 3s, we actually have evidence that Collins has made a concerted effort to make it a point of emphasis. Including his preseason debut, he’s taken more 3s over his last 11 games than his previous 132.
Collins has already proven to be a prolific offensive rebounder, ranking seventh among qualified power forwards last season in offensive rebound rate. He finished in the 76th percentile as a shot-blocker relative to his position, per Cleaning the Glass, and was above-average in two other statistical categories (assists, steals) as well.
Now add an expanded offensive arsenal that will translate to a bump in Collins’ scoring and 3s made, and it’s hard to not get excited about his all-around potential. Even more encouraging is that he’s curbed his foul rate, going from 4.7 fouls per 36 minutes before the All-Star break to a more manageable 3.5 after.
Buy Collins in the DFS and Props Markets
As a full-time starter without any competition behind him, Collins should see all the minutes he can handle (or that his foul issues will allow). He averaged 30.9 DraftKings points in the 12 games he played at least 30 minutes last season, and that should be a baseline of what we should expect heading into this season.
That puts his salary-based expectation north of $6,500 on DraftKings. It’ll be interesting to see how aggressive DraftKings gets with his pricing, as the highest he ever got up to last season was $6,100. If Collins opens anywhere near the $6,000 range to start the season, be prepared to load up.
Something else worth monitoring is how aggressive books are with Collins’ scoring props early on in the season. The Hawks will have to replace just over 50% of their total points scored from last season, and the presumption is that Young will take on a lot of that burden. He’s looked far more comfortable as a passer than as a scorer this summer, however, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Collins happened to lead the Hawks in scoring this season.