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2017 NBA Draft Profile: Wake Forest Forward/Center John Collins

Wake Forest sophomore should go mid first round

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Duke Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

In thinking about Wake Forest big men in the NBA, the first name that should come to everyone’s mind is Tim Duncan, considered by most to be the Greatest Power Forward of All Time.

John Collins is not Tim Duncan, and no one in their right mind should expect him to be. While Collins only stayed two years at Wake and Duncan stayed all four, don’t sleep on Wake’s latest dominant big man. Collins played an instrumental role in bringing Wake Forest out of the basement of the ACC and leading them back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010; a team that featured current NBA players Ish Smith and Al-Farouq Aminu.

John Collins Intangibles:

Position: Power forward/Center

Height: 6-10

Weight: 235

Hometown: West Palm Beach, Florida

Draft Projections:

My guess would be that Collins falls no lower than Indiana at 18, however several of the major mock drafts have him going higher:

I would ultimately expect Collins to go to a team that needs a high energy guy capable of providing an inside-out game with the ability to rebound the ball well.

Strengths:

All Wake fans know of Collins’ capability as a rebounder and inside scorer, as he became one of the greatest in Demon Deacon history and ranked among the leaders in ACC play all year long. He set the record for most consecutive double-doubles in Wake Forest history with 12 in a row during conference play.

John is also a pretty good free throw shooter, shooting 75% his senior season. This is crucial in an age where so many stretch fours are coming in shooting 80+% from the line.

But one thing that Wake fans may not be as familiar with is that Collins has also shown at the NBA Combine that he has the ability to step out and knock down three pointers. This wasn’t his role at Wake, nor should it have been, but it seems to solidify the fact that Collins will be more of a four than a five in the NBA.

Another strength is his motor, to use a basketball term, or his ability to run the floor. John was able to consistently get out on breaks and finish at the rim on these breaks. With the high tempo offense that Wake played, this bodes well for his ability to get up and down the floor and score in transition on players who may not be used to a player with his conditioning and ability to run the floor at the four or five.

Weaknesses:

Everyone has harped on this, and probably ad nauseam, but John’s greatest weaknesses are his defense and his inability to stay out of foul trouble in college.

John did seem to have some trouble guarding opposing bigs without creating too much contact and being whistled for a foul in college. In fact, this often kept his numbers from being lower than they could have been because he would sit on the bench for long periods in foul trouble.

But the NBA is different. Low post play is much more physical, and much more contact is allowed without a foul being called. As Jeff Van Gundy said in ABC’s broadcast of the NBA Finals, post players are being allowed to do pretty much anything without being called for a foul. You practically have to draw blood to get a foul in the post.

This physical play should benefit John, and allow him to be much more aggressive on defense without being whistled for fouls. And by staying out of foul trouble he can be more aggressive on the offensive end, go for more rebounds, and do what he does best to excel as a productive player on an NBA team.

One other weakness for John is that he is a little undersized for the typical NBA big man.

This is part of why I see him as more of a four than a five. At 235 pounds, he doesn’t have the strength to play in the post against the elite big men of the league. Expect him to put on another 20 pounds or so in order to be a really dominant force in the post, while still being able to stretch the floor.

Tidbits:

  • Wake Forest coach Danny Manning was a former #1 pick in the NBA Draft, and should be able to give John plenty of advice about what it is like to be an NBA post player.
  • Collins is Wake’s first draftee since Al-Farouq Aminu in 2010.
  • If Collins were taken in the lottery, he would be only the fifth Wake Forest player taken in the lottery since it started, joining Rodney Rogers, Tim Duncan, Chris Paul, and Al-Farouq Aminu.