What Does John Collins’ Improvement This Year Mean Going Forward?
John Collins had a tumultuous beginning to the 2019-20. Saddled with injury during the offseason, Collins was hit with a 25-game suspension on November 5th for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. The Hawks were the worst team in the league during his absence. While Collins served his time, the Hawks other youngsters gained some valuable experience. Upon his return, Collins helped the team look respectable again. He did this by not only providing his crazy energy and hustle, but by showing real improvements to his game.
Collins increased his volume of threes per game by a significant amount. Importantly, he increased his three-point percentage as well; Collins was up to 40.1 percent from deep this year. His improvements could potentially make Atlanta’s offense much more dynamic moving forward.
The Hawks are famous for running a double-drag screen at the top of the key under head coach Lloyd Pierce. What makes this successful is having bigs that can either pop or roll off of the initial pick. The mid-season acquisitions of Clint Capela and Dewayne Dedmon help make this action unpredictable for Atlanta. If Collins shooting is real, he and Capela become a deadly combo. Both Dedmon and Collins have the ability to pop or roll.
Collins' does make things a little trickier going forward for Atlanta’s front office. His second contract will kick in at the start of the 2021-2022 season. After his performance this season, his potential average annual value likely jumped up - he’s getting closer and closer to max money territory. That means the Hawks must really be sure about him if they want to pay him.
There’s always risk in paying someone big money who specializes on only one end. Sometimes those types of players become liabilities in the playoffs, which is where the Hawks expect to be in the coming seasons.
There is also the risk that this season is not the new normal for Collins. The 2019-20 season could have just been a hot streak for the Wake Forest product. If that’s the case and the Hawks pay him based on production he never matches, the club’s future goals could be hurt significantly.
It will be very interesting to see if Collins continues this level of play. If the Hawks are going to be willing to pay him the money he is absolutely going to be asking for.