Wt: 230 pounds
2016-17 Stats: 10.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.8 blocks
HOW HE OPERATES
There is a retro feel to Zach Collins, a classic center whose game has just enough of the new elements required for big men to survive in the current NBA. Simply, he is a post player who can step out and hit a 3-point jump shot. His jump-shooting ability, rim protection and upside is why he’s considered among the best prospects in the draft. A second team All-West Coast Conference and WCC All-Freshman Team selection, Collins made a big impression in a limited amount of time, playing just 17.4 minutes per game.
Against man-to-man defenses, Collins posted up 40 percent of the time – by far his most-used action. Being the roll man in pick-and-roll actions was second, at 16.1 percent. He was the backup to Gonzaga’s starting center, Przemek Karnowski, but the two were often on the court at the same time and formed a nice high-low big-to-big combo. Still, most of Collins’ activity during the season happened below the free throw line. On the block, Collins has a soft jump hook over his left shoulder. And he’s tough as nails in the paint. Collins takes the ball up strong to the rim. He can finish with either hand, and has good hands in catching the ball. In transition, he does run the court well. Collins’ ability to hit shots from just about anywhere is what catches scouts’ eyes. He’s deadly in pick-and-pop situations, and can fade all the way out to the 3-point line and knock down those shots with regularity. He hit 47 percent from the 3-point line, although it was a small sample size, just 10-of-21 on the season. Collins shooting efficiency is impressive: He averaged over 1.1 points per possession in every action he was involved in during the season. Every single one. He shot 51 percent on jump shots of all kinds, 74.6 percent around the basket and 62.2 percent specifically on post-ups. In screen-roll situations, Collins can put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim, but overall he’s not a ball-handler. He’ll work on that to further fit himself into the NBA. On the glass he’s strong, rebounds in traffic and is quick on his second jump. Offensive rebounding was a big part of his game.
Defensively, Collins profiles as a rim protector. He can certainly be a back line anchor in team defense. He’s got great timing in blocking shots and was solid using the rules of verticality as well. Collins can block the shot of the man he’s guarding as well as come over on help side and blocks those shots, too. He even had a couple of chase down blocks on his resume. Collins has good feet and can guard in space. He should be fine in guarding stretch fours and fives in the NBA. He did have a tendency to collect a lot of fouls – he fouled out of seven games — so he’ll need to work on defending without fouling.
HIS BEST FIT
A team that needs toughness on the block, embraces posting up and needs rim protecting is the ideal fit for Collins. He’s already shown he can have a big impact without playing a ton of minutes, so that will work in his favor as he gets acclimated to the NBA.