Jazz Offer John Collins ‘Refreshing’ New Environment
Oct 2, 2023, 1:41 PM | Updated: Oct 3, 2023, 1:12 pm
SALT LAKE CITY – Though he’s yet to officially take the floor with his new teammates, John Collins said he was excited for a fresh opportunity with the Utah Jazz.
Acquired by the organization in late June, Collins was the team’s most significant veteran acquisition over the summer.
And while the Jazz will be looking to the seventh-year veteran to bolster their frontcourt, Collins is excited about the opportunity to revitalize his career.
“It’s refreshing,” Collins admitted. “In some ways, I feel like a rookie again — getting to meet new staff, new teammates, a new environment. It’s just the process of setting up where to live and just getting myself together in a new city.”
John Collins said it’s been refreshing being in Utah.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) October 2, 2023
Collins Has New Team In Old Home
While he’ll be suiting up somewhere other than Atlanta for the first time in his NBA career, Utah isn’t completely foreign to Collins.
The bouncy forward was born in Layton, Utah, but as the son of military parents, Collins didn’t spend much time in the state.
“Being born here and now being able to, in a way, come back home and play for the Jazz, put the Jazz jersey on my chest, it’s special,” Collins said.
The Jazz now hope that familiarity can translate onto the floor in an effort to get Collins back to a point where he can play his best basketball.
JOHN COLLINS POSTER.
WOW. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/rAlziRrOoq
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 7, 2021
After averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds during the 2019-20 NBA season, Collins had seen a steady decrease in his production, largely coinciding with the arrival of center Clint Capela in Atlanta.
Like Collins, Capela got most of his touches in the pick and roll, which cut into the easy scoring opportunities for the forward with the Hawks.
Despite signing a five-year, $125 million deal with the Hawks in 2021, Collins has been one of the most popular names in trade rumors over the last several summers.
Having finally found a new landing spot in Utah, Collins said he was excited to redefine his role playing alongside Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler.
“Walker being so tall being so skilled and obviously being an elite shot blocker already, and Lauri, I mean, we’ve seen what he’s done,” Collins acknowledged. “[He’s a] proven All-Star, he can get a bucket, he can create, and be a focal point in this league.”
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Collins Looking Forward To New Jazz Frontcourt
Though the Jazz won’t play their first preseason game until Sunday when they face the Los Angeles Clippers in Hawaii, Collins is likely to start alongside Markkanen and Kessler in the role previously filled by Kelly Olynyk.
Where Olynyk excelled as a floor spacer and ball-mover in Will Hardy’s offense, the second-year head coach will have to find a way to keep Collins engaged offensively without taking shots away from his two most efficient returning starters.
“I have to be flexible in what I am willing to do or try with them in order to make that three-person group of Lauri, John, and Walker work to the best of their abilities,” Hardy said on Friday. “I can’t center it around John, and I also can’t just center it around those two and just say ‘John, figure it out as you go.’”
Collins could make Hardy’s job much easier if he can knock down threes at the 37 percent rate he had over his first five years in the NBA.
If he shoots at just 29 percent, the career-low number he converted at last year, those frontcourt pairings might be more difficult to solve.
Early JC 3 ball pic.twitter.com/Xpt1TfkoPB
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) March 28, 2023
“When your roll changes from not shooting as many threes to adjusting to shooting a lot more threes, there’s an adjustment period for that,” Collins explained.
“I went back into the lab and worked on my game and trying my best to be as effective as I can, but I’m definitely going to shoot the hell out of the ball.”
The Jazz will face the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday at 7 pm MST in Hawaii. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.
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.
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