NBA Draft 2017: Hawks take John Collins at No. 19

The Atlanta Hawks used their first round pick in the NBA Draft to select a potential Paul Milsap replacement in Wake Forest’s John Collins.

The Atlanta Hawks used the No. 19 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft to select Wake Forest’s John Collins, a 6-foot-10 power forward who delivered impressive numbers as a young sophomore.

Collins, who is essentially the age of a freshman, averaged 28.8 points and 14.4 rebounds per 40 minutes in one of the best conferences in the country last season. He has an impressive collection of post moves, can operate a bit out of the pick-and-roll and is a devastating offensive rebounder.

The key question is how Collins will fit in the modern NBA. He lacks much in the way of a jump shot and doesn’t really space the floor at all and his high energy style on the offensive glass is going out of style in the current NBA as teams opt to get back on defense instead.

Many pegged Collins as a potential lottery pick, but concerns about his defensive acumen may have caused him to slide a bit on draft night. His awareness on that end of the floor is significantly lacking, which may make it hard for a team to keep him on the floor in the playoffs when opponents are locked into exploiting any defensive liabilities available.

Overall, the selection of Collins may signal a changing of the guard in Atlanta. Power forward Paul Millsap is a free agent this offseason and the Hawks’ front office hasn’t exactly been forthcoming about their willingness to pay him a large sum of funny. Collins could provide a long-term solution at the position if he’s able to broaden his offensive skill set and make improvements on the defensive end.

Between this draft pick and the Dwight Howard trade, it seems like the Hawks are committed to getting younger and rebuilding both their roster and their culture in hopes of competing sometime in the future.

Check out Soaring Down South for more Atlanta Hawks NBA Draft analysis.