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Zach Collins – 7’0″ Power Forward, Gonzaga University, 19 Years Old
Zach Collins is a power forward from Gonzaga University who is projected to be taken in the mid-late lottery. In his only college season he had 10.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. He shot 67.2% on two-point field goals and 47.6% on three-point field goals (per DraftExpress). His player efficiency rating was also 30.9. Collins led the West Coast Conference in two-point shooting percentage and true shooting percentage (per Sports Reference). He could become a very good stretch four at the NBA level with a solid inside-out game.
At just 19, he’s a player who has been flying up mock draft boards. At Gonzaga he only played 17.2 minutes per game, but made a big impact. He was a rim presence on both ends, and he played like a seven-footer should. He has a great feel for blocking shots and getting rebounds, which has always been a timeless attribute defensively. Offensively, there’s a lot of ability as well. Collins has a myriad of moves on the low block, and is a natural spot-up threat in the mid-range. He can step out to the three and knock down open looks, and he’s a tough cover out there for interior defenders. To combat ball-watching defense, he moves without the ball well to get putbacks jams and layups off cuts. Collins can also hurt defenses in the pick-and-pop game, and counter that by rolling hard to the rim on the catch. That said, he’s most comfortable right now down low.
Collins still has a ways to go in terms of playing in space. He’s not really just an old-school pure center, so he’s going to need to adapt more for today’s league. Often times in the NCAA season, he was in foul trouble, and especially in the NCAA tournament. This young kid is going to have to improve his quickness and lateral movement considerably. In the current pace-and-space NBA, bigs must be able to switch out and cover guards in screen-and-roll scenarios. Collins is not great at that skill set yet, and that will take time. Offensively, he seems hesitant to knock down open looks sometimes, and that may have to do with his post-preference to scoring. He also must improve his playmaking ability when doubled in the post and his handle can be too loose in traffic.
That “upside” word is the first one that comes to mind with Collins. NBA teams will love to have his versatility, as he has good dexterity with both hands on the block. When you couple that with his face-up jumper all the way to the three, and in the screen-and-roll, he has future All-Star traits. Collins is a great rebounder on the interior on both ends as well, and he blocks shots. If he improves his quickness and agility, he will be a productive stretch forward for a very long time in the NBA. This product of Bishop Gorman High School is more NBA-ready than most 19-year olds. He fits just about any system offensively, and could blossom into a top-tier 4-man in the Association. He should make a lot of money at the next level with how gifted he already is.
NBA Player Comparison
Collins does not have a clear-cut NBA comparison, as he’s a bit of a tweener. He has shown he’s more than capable of being a true center, but he projects more as a power forward. That doesn’t matter in today’s league, though. Offensively, I would compare him most to Marc Gasol, who has that forward and center versatility. Collins is clinical in the low post already, and is money in the mid-range spot-up area. If he keeps knocking down threes, he could grow into a Kevin Love type of player too, with ability to sit in the corner and use pump fakes. Defensively, with his shot-blocking and rebounding prowess, I could see him anchoring the paint as well as Andre Drummond and Kristaps Porzingis. It’s hard to have a projection for his skill set collectively on both ends, though. Although he isn’t as athletic someone like Porzingis right now, he has all the potential to be an All-NBA performer in his career.
Look for Zach Collins to land between 10-15 on draft night, and be sure to stay updated with our complete coverage of the 2017 NBA Draft!