John Collins NBA Draft Profile


John Collins, Sophomore, Forward/Center, Wake Forest



After a rather anonymous freshman season at Wake Forest, John Collins exploded onto NBA Draft radars early in his sophomore campaign. Collins nearly tripled his scoring average, going from 7.3 points per game all the way to 19.2 per game as a sophomore. His numbers were excellent across the board, shooting 62% from the field while also grabbing 9.8 boards and tallying 1.6 blocks per game. His productivity can’t be understated, as he actually led the entire nation in Player Efficiency Rating. Despite having such an effective season, Collins doesn’t have ideal NBA size and his role at the next level is still to be determined.

Collins’ most polished area of his game is his post-up ability. He has a wide array of moves and excellent footwork that makes him a tough cover once he gets to the low block. Collins can turn over either shoulder to put up a quick hook shot or a short turnaround jumper. He’s at his best with his back to the basket, where he can back down defenders to turn and score over them. He also has a developing face-up game where he’s capable of using jab steps and shot fakes to get to the rim. He does have a limited handle, which makes it tough for him to create his own shot. With the NBA becoming so perimeter oriented, it will be vital for Collins to continue to extend his game away from the post.   

One concern NBA teams will have about Collins is deciding what position he plays at the next level. Standing just under 6-10 with an average 6-11 wingspan and 225 lb. frame, Collins doesn’t have great size or length for an NBA center. In two games against North Carolina and Florida State, teams with NBA-caliber length, Collins went a combined 4-11 from the field with just eight total points. He is mobile for a big man, which can be useful as a center in smaller NBA line-ups. He runs the floor well in transition and is a good roll man out of the pick and roll. He finishes at a high rate around the rim with his soft touch. He’s also a quick leaper and finishes through contact, getting to the free throw line 6.7 times per game. He also provides offense with his activity on the offensive boards. Collins is built more like a traditional power forward, but he doesn’t possess the perimeter skills necessary to be a high-impact forward in today’s NBA. He has shown some flashes of a mid-range jumper and shot a promising 74.5% from the free-throw line. Collins will also need to grow as a playmaker for others. He isn’t always willing to pass out of double teams and isn’t a sound decision maker with just 24 career assists in 64 games.

Where Collins struggled the most at Wake Forest was on the defensive end. He displayed poor awareness, consistently getting lost playing off-ball defense. He has poor lateral quickness to defend the perimeter and also lacks the size and length to defend true centers. He can be foul prone at times, often getting over-matched in the post. Despite getting blocks in college with his athleticism, his average length may affect his rim protection ability at the next level against top-notch athletes. Where he should have value defensively is with his work on the glass. He’s active seeking out bodies to box out and aggressive tracking down rebounds outside his area.


Final Projection:

John Collins was remarkably efficient during his sophomore season, but it’s not a forgone conclusion that his game will translate to the NBA. He’s seen as a “tweener,” with his game being something between that of a forward or center. He doesn’t have ideal size or length for a center, but it’ll be tough for teams to play him as a power forward if he doesn’t expand his offense or show the ability to defend the perimeter. He will need to develop his game in a few areas – most notably his shooting, passing and defense. Collins improved his game significantly in his second college season, so teams will hope he can continue to improve into the NBA.


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