When anyone talks about the 2017 rookie class in the NBA, a few players and discussions are always brought up: How good will Lonzo Ball be and how annoying his dad Lavar Ball is, how good “The Process” can be now in Philadelphia with No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz joining Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, whether the Celtics made the right move trading down for Jayson Tatum and whether he can be the next Paul Pierce, and if Josh Jackson will be a two-way star in Phoenix.
One name that I can assure you never gets brought up or talked about among the top rookies is Atlanta Hawks rookie power forward John Collins.
Collins made a huge leap his sophomore year at Wake Forest, going from averaging 7.2 points and 3.9 rebounds as a freshman to 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game as sophomore.
He also shot 62.2% from the field and had the highest Player Efficiency Rating in the entire country at 35.9.
He is a very skilled and springy power forward that was a double-double machine in college with his high motor and ability to be a pick-and-roll finisher or a pick-and-pop guy to knock down a mid-range jumper consistently.
He lacks defensive awareness, but has great foot speed and could learn to become a very good NBA defender as well.
With the Hawks clearly moving into rebuilding mode this off-season by trading Dwight Howard and letting Paul Millsap walk in free agency, they are very thin at the power forward position and Collins could have the opportunity to step in and play big minutes right away, especially if they are committed to developing their young talent over everything else, which they should be at this point.
Collins has looked very impressive in NBA Summer League averaging 17.5 points and 10.3 rebounds on 64% shooting, not to mention providing the poster of the summer with this nasty dunk over New Orleans Pelicans Center Cheick Diallo…
Collins may not be a big name in the rookie class at this point, but he may very well be competing for NBA Rookie of the Year in the 2017-18 season.