Last season was a disaster for the Atlanta Hawks.
Going 24-58, they finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference and tied for the third-worst record in the entire NBA.
After the season, the rebuilding club also parted ways with Mike Budenholzer and hired Lloyd Pierce, fully committing to a fresh start.
Although it was a terrible year, there was a lone bright spot for the Hawks.
John Collins, the 17th overall pick in 2017, averaged 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game in his rookie campaign. He shot 57.6 overall from the floor and showed a willingness to shoot from the perimeter at times, knocking down 16-of-47 (34 percent) three-pointers.
Entering his second professional season, the 6’10” 20 year old will seemingly be a building block of Atlanta’s future and should assume a larger role in the upcoming season.
Apparently Collins has been working on one aspect of his offensive game this summer.
A perimeter threat
“I’ve always been comfortable shooting the 3,” Collins said, per Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. “It’s just always been a matter of getting game reps and actually shooting the ball with some confidence. If I do that, I think I’ll make shots. I have proven that my stroke is good enough for me to get the ball there, so now it’s just a matter of me loading up, shooting with confidence and seeing the ball go in the net. I can only get better from there.”
Therefore, it seems like he’s going to be more aggressive beyond the arc moving forward. He recently indicated that he wants to improve in a number of areas in his sophomore campaign.
“Looking a new reads,” Collins said of his goals for the upcoming season, per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Being able to read new plays. Shooting the 3. Maybe drive and kick. Drive and get to the cup. Just being versatile. Being able to guard multiple positions on defense. Basically, be a mismatch problem and have coach give the confidence and say ‘Yo, whatever the lineup is, whatever the game plans is, we keep John in and involved in the game.’ That’s my goal.”
He noted that playing for Pierce will be different than for Budenholzer.
“The system coach LP has is a little different,” Collins said regarding playing under new coach Lloyd Pierce. “Every coach isn’t going to be the same. There are some similarities. It’s just about learning to terms and new phrases. Not every coach uses the same terminology. … He does want different stuff in the offense. I’m going to play a different way.”
If the Hawks play traditional one-through-five lineups, Collins seemingly has the potential to approach 30 minutes per game in 2018-2019. Rookie Omari Spellman is the only other power forward on the roster and Dewayne Dedmon, Miles Plumlee and Alex Len play center. There are no other big men on the team right now.
Therefore, it seems as though Collins could be in store for a breakout campaign.