The Utah Jazz might be exactly what John Collins needs at this point in his career.
The Utah Jazz were able to facilitate a trade for John Collins, sending Rudy Gay and a 2nd round draft pick to the Atlanta Hawks in return. This trade will help the Jazz’s depth and will also give them a player who can come in and provide help immediately.
While many may feel like the Hawks gave up on Collins too early, a change of scenery and a new situation may be just what he needed. Collins did not live up to the expectations and the pressure of being the No. 2 option behind Trae Young and it was evident as his production decreased dramatically over the past few seasons.
During the 2019-20 season, Collins averaged career-high 21.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. The very next season, Collins’ averages dipped to 17.6 PPG with 7.4 RPG. The season after Collins’ numbers declined even further as he averaged 16.2 PPG and 7.8 RPG.
During his final season with the Hawks, he averaged 13.1 PPG and 6.5 RPG all while averaging 30 minutes per contest. Collins wasn’t being used much last season and it seemed like he wasn’t even in the rotation at times. It remains to be seen exactly how the Jazz plan on using Collins but he should be able to get more touches, become more involved and expand his game.
Why the Utah Jazz could be a good fit for John Collins
Even though Collins’ numbers were not quite where they should have been, the Hawks underperformed as a whole as they barely qualified for the play-in tournament. When he was at his peak, Collins was reliable, solid, and durable. Collins likely won’t emerge as a superstar in Salt Lake City but he could become to the Jazz what Aaron Gordon was to the Denver Nuggets.
The Jazz is getting a true professional and obtaining a player with heart, hustle, and a desire to win. Collins’s situation could also turn out similar to his new teammate Lauri Markkanen’s. We all could see the enormous potential Markkanen had upon entering the league but he wasn’t able to truly show what he could do in Chicago or Cleveland.
One season with the Jazz and he transformed himself into an All-Star. While Collins may not be on the same level of play as Markkanen, a spike in his production would not be surprising at all as he should fit right in with Will Hardy’s system. While it produced many highlights, the Hawks’ system just wasn’t a productive fit for Collins as he underwent two coaching changes during his tenure in Atlanta.
Young dominated the ball in the Hawks’ halfcourt sets and Collins struggled to find his way in the offenses implemented by the new coaching staff. With the Jazz, the offense should run smoothly for him as he should see better ball movement in an offensive system that gets everyone involved.
Collins could even serve as a mentor for rookie Taylor Hendricks and allow him to play behind Collins as his mentorship could become a major factor in his development. I must admit that while the Hawks overpaid for Collins, he was also undervalued and misused.
With Collins joining the Jazz, it gives them size and flexibility that they most definitely need to compete in the Western Conference.