John Collins’ previous season high in blocked shots was one. Can you believe that? As a young, athletic power forward who is near the basket on defense at least some of the time, one would expect at least one instance of Collins recording more than one block in a game. But he hasn’t. Not until last night, anyway.
The only reason Collins blocked some shots in this game is because Pelicans players were throwing up really weak stuff right into his arms. It’s not like he was coming over from the weakside to obliterate shots out of nowhere. The ball was literally being thrown into him and all he had to do was swing at it. This isn’t the turning of a new leaf for Collins where he now understands his own defensive potential and will be blocking shots like crazy until the end of the season.
The strange thing is, Collins had five games in his rookie season where he got four blocks. Did his emergence as a high-efficiency, nightly 20/10 threat turn him off the idea of playing defense? Or was he being played more at the center position last year, where it’s nominally easier to record blocked shots? I could watch more Hawks game film to try to find out, but I don’t really feel like doing that. So I’m just going with the hypothesis that Collins expends too much energy on offense to be expected to play any defense at all, ever.