With NBA Draft smokescreen season in full swing, draft workouts were back at Talking Stick Resort Arena Tuesday featuring Zach Collins of Gonzaga in an individual workout. Collins, who I have ranked as the No. 10 prospect in this year’s loaded draft class, matches up as one of the top two or three best rosters fits alongside an already youthful frontcourt.
Unlike Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss, Collins has some of the best post work with fast-twitch instincts on the run on both ends. Out of the three, I think Collins has the best shot of being a consistent three-level scorer once he fills out to a five-like frame.
The former Gonzaga Bulldog did not have many opportunities to display his perimeter skills but on his workout tour, he feels more than comfortable from out there. Assistant general manager Tim Connelly agreed with his potential from beyond three-point range as a stretch-5 — much like you see with Myles Turner in Indiana.
"(Collins) didn't show his three ball much at Gonzaga. He didn't take a ton of them but he was really effective,” Connelly said. “He kind of continued to show his stroke from NBA range, it looked pretty comfortable. It's nice to see a guy who has great touch, not afraid to go and mix it up.
During his one college season, Collins played a reserve role behind senior Preczmek Karnowski but was one of the most effective pro-ready prospects as a post-up scorer alongside a budding face-up skill set. Not only could he play alongside Karnowski on the floor, but his high BBIQ (in terms of verticality and fundamentals) made it capable for him to handle both roles in both the first and second unit.
Once Collins develops a consistent perimeter jumper, his already advanced post work back to the basket will help round-out his potential on offense as a scorer.
"I can play both," Collins said. "I think my ability to shoot and put the ball on the floor it'll help me out at the four. At the five I think I can block shots, I can post up. I can face-up go around other big men guys. I think I can be a threat at either position."
After watching the Golden State Warriors win off small-ball and a roster built marksman shooting and 3-and-D wings, Connelly believes Collins would be able to handle his own at the five. However, much like many lineups, it will all be dependent upon matchups for each night. Phoenix seems to be building a roster though based on versatility, especially on the defensive end. This draft will help see that vision much clearer if they go the route of someone like Collins in a trade-up scenario for a late lottery pick.
"I don't know, the leagues have gone differently where I think he'll be able to play the five,” Connelly said. “Obviously, he has to get stronger but that's true for every single center prospect in this draft. Long-term, five, four, it's kind of interchangeable now. It's based on what you can guard. I can see him guarding both depending on the matchup.