Minnesota Timberwolves select John Collins in 2017 NBA Redraft

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Given a second chance at the 2017 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves have picked John Collins, giving the Wolves a formidable frontcourt for years to come.

As part of FanSided’s 2017 NBA Redraft, the Minnesota Timberwolves have selected forward John Collins out of Wake Forest.

In real life, of course, the Wolves completed a draft night trade with the Chicago Bulls, sending the No. 7 pick out along with Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine in exchange for the No. 16 pick and Jimmy Butler.

Back in 2017, Minnesota picked Creighton’s Justin Patton at No.16, which was originally the Bulls pick. Patton only played one game for the Wolves before he was sent to Philadelphia along with Butler in the fall of 2018.

All draft trades were reversed for the purpose of this redraft. Given a second chance, we’ve opted to go with Collins, who is in the midst of blossoming into a star with the Atlanta Hawks.

First, let’s talk about the players on the board.

The only other players who even received consideration from the Dunking With Wolves draft war room were OG Anunoby, Kyle Kuzma, and Lonzo Ball.

Anunoby was the runner-up in our minds, as the actual No. 23 pick blossomed into a lockdown defender for the NBA Champion Toronto Raptors in his second season and has now added a valuable outside shot to the Kawhi Leonard-less Raptors.

Kuzma is a theoretical great fit next Towns, but has failed to fully and consistently realize his potential as a switchable stretch-4, arguably regressing over the past couple of seasons. Collins is simply the better player, and it isn’t all that close.

At the time of this draft, the Wolves still had Ricky Rubio and Kris Dunn on the roster, though they were only days away from jettisoning him for a draft pick and signing Jeff Teague to a three-year deal. Ball could have been seen as a future starter or perhaps as a backup to either Rubio or Teague had Dunn been moved in a separate deal.

Now, let’s talk about Collins.

John Collins was actually the No. 19 pick by Atlanta, coming out of Wake Forest following a sophomore season in which he averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game while shooting 62.2 percent from the floor. He had attempted exactly one 3-point shot over two years of play at the collegiate level, so it was fair to assume he didn’t have much of an outside shot in his arsenal.

Collins forced his way into Mike Budenholzer’s rotation for the 24-win Hawks in 2017-18, averaging 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in only 24.1 minutes per contest and playing fantastic defense for a rookie big man. He showed the ability early on to be extremely mobile in the pick-and-roll and protect the rim while playing primarily as a power forward.

For good measure, Collins attempted 47 3-pointers as a rookie, making 16 of them. That 34 percent mark in limited attempts was a sign of things to come for the 20-year-old big man.

In Year Two, Collins broke out to the tune of 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game while averaging 30 minutes per game over 61 games. He attempted 2.6 3-pointers per game, making 34.8 percent of them while still playing solid defense for another bad Hawks team, although Atlanta improved to 29 wins in their first year under new head coach Lloyd Pierce.

Collins took a leap during the first part of the now-suspended 2019-20 campaign. Through 41 appearances, Collins is averaging 21.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting 40.1 percent on 3.6 3-point attempts per game.

There have been some defensive hiccups, but he isn’t exactly playing with Gary Payton and Scottie Pippen on the perimeter; Trae Young and Kevin Huerter leave something to be desired on that end of the floor, to put it lightly.

Overall, his switchability, athleticism, and long-range shooting stroke would make him a perfect fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns. It’s almost the ideal profile for KAT’s frontcourt mate, and to be able to pick up a guy like Collins on a similar timeline (he’s still just 22 years old) would be an absolute steal.

Naz Reid can be a rotational player for the Wolves. dark. Next

Next on the clock: the always-entertaining New York Knicks…check out the full redraft.