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Hot Hot Hoops NBA Draft Profile: John Collins

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The Wake Forest product has been linked to the Miami Heat. How would he fit in South Beach?

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina State at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2017 offseason rolls on, Hot Hot Hoops continues looking at potential draft prospects that could hear their name called for the Miami Heat during June’s NBA Draft.

So far, we have taken a look at North Carolina’s Justin Jackson and UCLA’s TJ Leaf in the series and today we will take a look at Wake Forest’s dominant big man John Collins.

Kansas State v Wake Forest
Could John Collins land in South Beach?
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

John Collins is an athletic freak, plain and simple. This past season, Collins - a former 3-star prospect from West Palm Beach - blossomed into one of the nation’s premiere big men. His ability to score the basketball, battle on the boards, and affect the game in a variety of different ways makes Collins one of the more intriguing prospects in a talented 2017 draft class.

Over the course of the 2016-17 season, Collins put up 19.2 rebounds, grabbed 9.8 rebounds, and deflected 1.6 shots per game, while shooting 62% from the floor and 74.5% from the charity stripe. In 33 games played, the Wake Forest product recorded 17 double-doubles for the Demon Deacons. He is able to put the ball through the hoop, but also get down and dirty to battle for loose balls for his team. The athletic big man The 6-foot-9, 218 pound double-double machine would be an interesting fit alongside franchise center Hassan Whiteside. The two would become a force down low in Miami.


Double-double Machine

As mentioned above, Collins practically averaged a double-double during his sophomore season in Winston Salem. He showed the ability to score the basketball at a high rate and grab rebounds to stop opponents from scoring and giving extra possessions for his Wake Forest squad. Collins plays with a high motor that allows him to beat opposing players to loose balls and affect the game in different ways.

These double-doubles are not empty stats, either.

In a big time conference game against 12th ranked Duke on February 18th, John Collins put together one of the most impressive individual performances in the entire nation. All Collins did was score 31 points — while hitting 13 of his 18 shots from the field — grabbed 15 rebounds (5 offensive), and even recorded a steal in 33 minutes of game action. The Demon Deacons fell to the Blue Devils by 5 in a high scoring 99-94 game; however, John Collins proved he can be a big time player on a big time stage.

In the next five games following the Duke loss, Collins was only one rebound shy of recording five more consecutive double-doubles to close out the ACC schedule.

John Collins’ last stretch of games heading into 2017 NCAA Tournament (via. ESPN)

22 and 13. 25 and 11. 13 and 9. 19 and 12. 15 and 10.

This stretch of games accurately shows just how elite of a player John Collins can be. His scoring is a force, he battles on the boards, and he is has one of the better offensive games at his position in the 2017 NBA Draft. With Hassan Whiteside leading the defense, John Collins’ offense could be a welcomed sight to the Miami Heat.

Offensive Game

In his second season in Winston Salem, John Collins quickly developed into an elite offensive force under Wake Forest coach Danny Manning. With a true shooting percentage of 67%, Collins has the offensive game to score and hit shots at a high level. In fact, according to Hollinger’s College Basketball Stats, the Wake Forest star recorded the highest PER (36.52) of any collegiate hoops player in the nation last season. Collins is not the longest player, but his offensive repitore allows him to make a big impact on the offensive game. With the way Spo loves to use his forwards, Collins would have the opportunity to excel in South Beach. As he continues to develop post moves and control himself in the paint, expect Collins to continue developing as a reliable scorer down low.


As a sophomore, Collins is just scratching the surface of what he can possibly be. The two-year star became one of the nation’s best at his performance, but still has a lot of room to grow. He played the small-ball center position for the Demon Deacons, but he is better suited to play the true 4. He has ways to go on learning how to defend bigger bodies, but Collins possesses the offensive game needed to be a big time contributor right out of the gate. In the Miami Heat culture and in Spo’s system, Collins has the potential to be an awesome match in Miami.



Standing at 6-foot-9, Collins’ wingspan is measured at 6’11”. This may not seem like too big of a concern, but as the league continues to evolve into a game meant for length and shooting, this could cause problems for a big man that is still learning how to polish his game. Collins was able to overcome his wingspan and length, or lack thereof, to become a dominant force on the collegiate level, but can he do the same on the biggest stage of the world? It remains to be seen.

Defensive Game

John Collins has one of the best offensive games of any big man entering the draft, but his defensive game still needs a lot of polishing. Some of this is due to his size, but some of it also has to do with his basketball IQ and the feel he has for the defensive side of the game.

DraftExpress notes Collins’ struggles on the defensive floor is due to his awareness on that side of the court:

The biggest hurdles Collins will have to overcome in carving out an important niche at the NBA level will likely come on the defensive side of the ball, where he has some major strides to make with his feel and awareness. He looked hopelessly lost at times while struggling to read the floor, which led to him giving up bucket after bucket. He had a tough time moving in space to stay in front of dribble penetration or his man cutting to the rim and didn't always fight hard to get back into the play after he was beat, an issue that plagued Wake Forest's entire team last season.

Collins was able to make an impact on the defensive side through his rebounding, but the Wake Forest big man has ways to go in order to become a reliable player in defensive situations. Collins has lots of potential, but it will need to be brought completely out for him to excel on the NBA level.

If still there when the Heat are expected to make their selection at 14, John Collins would be a prospect that has the ability to fit in Miami. He has an extremely high ceiling that GMs and scouts should be drooling over, and I believe Spo is the correct coach to bring it out of him. While he does need to work on the defensive side of the court, Collins’ offensive game and talent is too much to pass up that late in the lottery.

Stay tuned to HotHotHoops for more player profiles as the NBA Draft nears.