25-under-25: The best of the rest

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

28. John Collins, Atlanta Hawks

It’s fair to wonder whether or not right this second John Collins is the third best member of the 2017 draft class.

After Donovan Mitchell and Jason Tatum, Collins had arguably the best rookie season among players selected last June (sorry Ben Simmons, #notarookie). After inexplicably falling to the 19th pick behind guys like Justin Patton, D.J. Wilson and T.J. Leaf, the former Demon Deacon finished seventh in the league in field goal percentage and eighth in offensive rebound rate.

If that was all we had to look forward to from John Collins, he still might have made the honorable mention section here. Contrary to popular opinion, the classic big men traits of yesteryear aren’t useless quite yet, especially when they come in the package of a versatile athlete like Collins.

That not all though. Late last year, he started hoisting 3s – one per game in March, and then 16 over six games in April, making 35.7 percent over that span. It doesn’t sound like much, but if Collins even remotely resembles a floor-spacer in the near future, he’s going to become a serious problem for opposing defenses.

Best of all, he’ll get every opportunity to succeed in Atlanta moving forward. On a Hawks team that seems like a lock for the worst record in the league, Collins will have time to work on his game in all sorts of creative ways.

By the time the Hawks are actually good again, he figure to play a prominent role in the resurgence.