Leading up to the NBA Draft we will be analyzing scouting reports for various players who have entered their name in this year’s NBA Draft. The focus of these articles will be on prospects who we find most intriguing and feel readers need to become more familiar with. Please let us know if you want any players specifically @edupridepress. All stats and videos are via KenPom, ESPN, DraftExpress, and YouTube.
Weight: 230 lbs
Projected: 11 (CPP Big Board) 10 (CPP Mock Draft)
Background: It is very rare to see Mark Few have a one in done player. Few has built the Gonzaga program with international players, transfers, and four year guys that have developed over their time in Spokane. Zach Collins is the exception as he had a phenomenal freshman season before declaring for the NBA Draft. Everything fell into place for Collins as the veteran Zag team carried much of the load early allowing the freshman big man to ease his way into the flow of the game. Once Collins became acclimated he took off showing scouts and opponents his full repertoire of post move, deep jumpers, and elite rim protection. Collins’s stat line isn’t eye popping with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game in just 17 minutes per game. Collins was smart to depart for the NBA Draft after just his first year. Gonzaga is losing most of its core from last season and the increased spotlight and touches could show some holes in Collins’ game. As one of the fast rising prospects in the draft, there is not telling how early Collins could go. I fully expect Zach to be a Top 10 pick as one team will fall in love with his upside.
Strengths: Zach Collins only played 17 minutes a game last season but thats all he needed to show his stuff. The 6’11 big man can shoot. He is not quite in the Porzingis/Markkanen tier of big man shooting but just a tier below. Collins can be a catch and shoot big man right away and have great success.
Zach Collins also showed elite rim protection while at Gonzaga. He blocked 4 shots a game on a per 40 minute extrapolation. The WCC is not exactly the Western Conference of the NBA but none the less that is an impressive rate. The NBA sees great value in players that can block shots and hit threes, even if that all they provide. (See pro comp below).
The rest of Collins’s game is still in need of development. His post scoring ability will be negated until his body is ready to bang with NBA veterans. He did show a nice mix of moves with hook shots and turn around jumpers but bigger players will push him off the block in the next few years. If Collins can build his body properly and continue to develop his post moves, he could be a number one or two scoring option for a NBA team. The combination of post moves, deep shooting ability, and a nice midrange game could be extremely dangerous and result to (wait for it……..) Kevin Love back in Minnesota. That comparison is a ceiling for him on the offensive end of the court but he does have that potential.
Weaknesses: The weaknesses for Collins are no fault of Collins’s after his one year in college. Collins was behind senior center Przemek Karnowski and Jonathan Williams in the rotation for Gonzaga. His lack of playing time is very worrisome for teams who are looking to spend a top 10 pick on the big man. Collins also played in the WCC that only matched him up against one or two quality big men. Collins is relatively untested against major competition and much of the Gonzaga offense was not drawn up for Collins with Nigel Williams-Goss and Karnowski leading the way. Collins could come into the NBA and prove he is legit or he could show that his game needs more development than the flashes at Gonzaga showed.
Comparison: Serge Ibaka
Our NBA team needed very little discussion to settle on Serge Ibaka. Serge can shoot the ball in the mid range as well as deep. His catch and shoot ability make him a point guard’s best friend. On the defensive end, Ibaka makes his mark with emphatic dunks and excellent rim protection. Serge is the only player of his type that offers elite shooting and rim protection at the center position. Well that fraternity will double in size as Collins enters the league.
Be sure to check out our other Top 30 Breakdowns and NBA Draft Charts: