UTAH JAZZ

John Collins Discusses New Start With Jazz, Finger Injury

Jul 9, 2023, 11:27 AM | Updated: 11:29 am

SALT LAKE CITY –  The Utah Jazz made a big splash before NBA free agency began, acquiring Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins in a trade for Rudy Gay and a second round pick.

Collins had been engulfed in trade rumors over the last few seasons after signing a five-year, $125 million contract with the Hawks before finally finding a new home in Utah.

“It was a big stress relief, obviously my name has been in a lot of rumors and whatnot and it hasn’t been easy,” Collins admitted. “So it’s good to finally get it over with and obviously start anew in Utah.”

Are you on Threads? Follow us at @KSLSports!

John Collins Returns To Utah With Jazz

The son of military parents, Collins was born at Hill Air Force Base near Layton, Utah but was raised in Florida. After being underrecruited coming out of high school, Collins broke out during his sophomore season at Wake Forrest and was selected by the Hawks with the 19th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

The bouncy forward quickly became a full-time starter in Atlanta, averaging 20.3 points and 9.9 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from the three-point line during his second and third seasons in the league.

However, with the emergence of high-scoring guard Trae Young, a series of coaching changes, and an injury to the ring finger on his shooting hand, Collins’ numbers steadily dipped in recent seasons.

“Basketball is a big numbers game so I understand people being used to me playing one way and then obviously not playing up to the standards that are expected,” Collins said.

Last season the forward averaged just 13.1 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting a difficult 29 percent from the three-point line, the least efficient of his career.

“It’s definitely on me to just get back into the gym and really just tighten my game up,” Collins said. “I’ve never felt like I just woke up and lost how to play the game of basketball.”

Collins Addresses Gruesome Finger Injury

Much has been made of Collins’ finger since a photo of the injured digit emerged online. The 25-year-old played with a wrap on his finger last year and offered clarification on the injury after joining the Jazz.

“I feel like there’s always room for it to get better — it’s like an arm sprain, if I sprain my arm it’s never going to be 100 percent until I stop playing the game, right?” Collins said. “It’s just sort of that mentality of playing through it, rehabbing it, and treating it as such.”

Since coming to Utah, Collins has met with the Jazz team doctors to look at the finger and has a positive outlook moving forward.

“We have a great staff, a great medical staff here in Utah as well that I feel like has my back already and we’ve had great conversations,” Collins said. “I feel like all rumors about my finger or this and that numbers, once I get on the court and play, that’s what I like to let do the talking.”

What Does Collins Offer The Jazz?

Beyond his finger, the Jazz coaching staff must figure out how to best utilize Collins to get him back to his early career production.

Despite his poor three-point shooting numbers, Collins remained a dangerous pick-and-roll scorer last season and developed into one of the Hawks more reliable defenders.

“I’m working on my game, working at scoring at all three leaves,” Collins said. “But I feel like people underrate my defensive ability to guard multiple positions and protect the rim.”

Even with dwindling numbers last season, Collins remained one of the most respected voices in the Hawks locker room helping guide Atlanta to the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“You’re going to get a leader, somebody who is holding others accountable, and is willing to be held accountable as well,” Collins said. “I just try to be me, and bring positive energy to the group whenever I can.”

Collins has three years and roughly $75 million remaining on his contract, including a player option in the final year of his deal. The forward will wear number 20 with the Jazz.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings

Utah Jazz

Dalton Knecht #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Draft Prospect: Tennessee F Dalton Knecht

Tennessee forward Dalton Knecht is projected to be selected in the lottery of the 2024 NBA Draft where the Utah Jazz own a top-ten pick.

2 days ago

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson celebrates an in-season tournament win highlights...

Chandler Holt

Jazz Notes Player Highlights: Utah’s Other Veterans In 2023-24 Season

Although Lauri Markkanen and Collin Sexton stole the show for Utah, some other Jazz veterans played key roles in the 2023-24 season.

2 days ago

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers...

Ben Anderson

Donovan Mitchell Denies Frustration With Cavaliers Teammates

It's been a rough 24 hours for Donovan Mitchell and his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates after being eliminated from the playoffs.

3 days ago

Bronny James Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Draft...

Chandler Holt

Utah Jazz Reportedly Have Interest In Working Out, Drafting Bronny James

According to Yahoo Sports, the Utah Jazz have expressed interest in working out Bronny James and selecting him in the 2024 NBA Draft.

3 days ago

Ron Holland #0 of G League Ignite...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz Mailbag: Which Wing Fits Jazz Best In Draft?

Welcome to the Utah Jazz mailbag where every week our NBA insiders answer your questions on social media about your favorite team.

5 days ago

Dalton Knecht #3 of the Tennessee Volunteers...

Ben Anderson

Utah Jazz 2024 NBA Mock Draft Round-Up: Post Lottery

The NBA Draft is just over six weeks away and with the lottery in the rearview mirror, it's officially mock draft season for the Utah Jazz.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!

ksl-sports-newsletter...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

...

KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

John Collins Discusses New Start With Jazz, Finger Injury