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Friday, December 21, 2018

The rising star of the Atlanta Hawks that nobody talks about

21 years old. Averaging 18.6 PPG and 9.5 RPG in his second year of NBA action. But for some reason, the NBA world wants to forget that John Collins exists and is a force to be reckoned with for the Atlanta Hawks.

In 2017, Hawks GM Travis Schlenk took a risk on Collins by picking him 19th in the first round of the NBA draft. Collins was the first pick in the Schlenk era, and many draft experts felt that Collins was too undersized to come into the league and dominate at Power Forward. But, his tape at Wake Forest showed otherwise.

Collins averaged just 13.4 PPG and 7.0 RPG in just two years for the Demon Deacons, but anybody that watched his tape knew that it was the highlight dunks night in and night out that caught the attention of Schlenk. When Collins gets to the rim, he has no intentions of laying the ball up.

Coming into Atlanta as a rookie, Collins was 6-10 and 218 pounds. His weight was a concern for many skeptics, believing that he would get bullied at the rim by Power Forwards across the league. But, Collins has put on 15 extra pounds since starting in the league. Despite a few learning curves along the way, his rookie season was exceeding the expectations of many.

In an underwhelming season as a team for the Hawks, Collins still flourished and worked his way from being a bench player to start the season into a starter by the end of the season. Playing just 24 minutes a game, Collins finished his rookie season by averaging 10.5 PPG and 7.3 RPG.

Now we’re in 2018, and Collins started the season by missing the first 15 games with a nagging ankle injury. After returning from injury, Collins has been nothing short but dominant in 15 games of action.

In his last five games, Collins has averaged 22 PPG and 12.8 RPG. This included a 30-point game against the Denver Nuggets, who currently lead the Western Conference.

What’s even scarier for teams across the league now is that Collins is developing a 3-point shot. No longer can teams just let Collins shoot from the perimeter and try to prevent him from driving to the lane. Collins is becoming an all-around player for Head Coach Lloyd Pierce and the Hawks.

On a team filled with youth and lots of young talent, Collins has found a home in Atlanta. Hawks fans have come to love him already, and it’s time for the rest of the NBA to take notice of this rising superstar in the league.

-Allen Perez (Senior at Kennesaw State University, Sports Director of KSU Owl Radio, radio play-by-play announcer for Kennesaw State Men’s basketball and sports talk show host) (Twitter: @therealATLfan, email:

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