Trading for John Collins is easily the biggest move of the Utah Jazz this offseason. After being involved in multiple trade rumors throughout the years, he was finally shipped for almost nothing, which makes this gamble by the Jazz worth a try. But the real question now is how will Collins be able to fit in a squad that has already a number of bigs in their roster?
Age/Season: 26 years old, seventh season
Measurements: 6’9”, 234 lbs, 6’9” wingspan
2022-23 Season Averages: 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.6 stocks (steals + blocks), on 51-29-80 shooting splits (59.3 true shooting percentage).
Note: Majority of Collins’ numbers last season were either a career-low or his worst mark since rookie year, with pretty much his shooting having the most dropoff in efficiency.
Unfortunately, Collins struggled mightily last season because of the issues the team had to face and his own personal health as well. Sustaining the finger injury back in March 2023, his shot was derailed, evidenced by the lowly shooting aforementioned. Factoring out the integration of new head coach Quin Snyder to the Hawks midseason, there was an emphasis to space the floor more by putting perimeter players on the court – which affected the touches and role of Collins on their offensive system.
At his best form, Collins has proven that he is a legitimate impact player on both ends of the floor for a contending playoff team. On offense, his partnership with Trae Young in the pick-and-roll clicked because of the elite roll threat he provided to make the play so effective. While the defensive aspect of Collins’ game is considerably a net positive, emphasized by his ability to deter shots at the rim. It should be interesting to see how Coach Hardy will utilize his talents.
Collins will bounce back from the shooting woes he had last season and return right around his career average of 35 to 37 percent on 3s for the year. Now with the assumption that he will be part of the starting lineup, the hope is that his shooting complements both Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler’s game.
Another intriguing wrinkle to look out for in Jazz games are Collins’ minutes at the five (center) position. If Coach Hardy rocks with that unit, they can use him in empty side pick-and-rolls, as a handoff hub, and can initiate early offense up top, where the 5-out offense of the Jazz can really flourish.
It’s somehow just the reverse of the best-case scenario, where Collins struggles to work with the 3-big lineup of the Jazz. This is also kind of the same nature to the issue he encountered playing alongside Clint Capela. It absolutely hinges on his ability to regain his shooting to work well with a similar type of big in Walker Kessler.
The early returns in some of the frontcourt continues to be in the work-in-progress stage and it’s evident that there are still times that Collins camps in the corner. Sample size is small and its preseason tune-ups so not the time to overreact yet, but just keep that in mind for now because we expect that to change come the regular season.
For what it’s worth, acquiring John Collins at that price is still a massive addition to this squad. His adept skill of finishing around the rim is something the team didn’t have last season, so if and when the outside shooting pops, he can be a vital contributor for the Jazz.