NBA summer league: Mixed results for Blazers rookie Zach Collins

KGW's Orlando Sanchez and John Canzano talk about Portland Trail Blazers rookies Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan after the first two games of the NBA summer league in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS -- By his own admission, Portland rookie center Zach Collins' performance has been "terrible" and "frustrating" during the Blazers' first two summer-league games in Las Vegas.

With the necessary disclaimer that judgments based on summer-league competition are nearly meaningless, it is a true statement that Collins' offense has been surprisingly inept.

The No. 10 overall pick out of Gonzaga is shooting 20 percent from the field (4 for 20) and 20 percent from the 3-point line (1 for 5) in the first two games. Collins also has six turnovers, though he improved in that area Sunday, coughing up the ball only once after five giveaways in his debut.

SUMMER LEAGUE COVERAGE

Collins is 19 and needs to add strength. He needs to protect the ball in the post better. Neither of those should shock anyone. Collins' slight build and his propensity for turnovers were well documented by scouts before the Blazers drafted him.

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His poor shooting is a surprise, considering his college pedigree. He was an efficient shooter at Gonzaga from everywhere on the court, making 65 percent of his field goals, 48 percent of his 3-point attempts and 74 percent of his free throws.

Collins' struggles on offense have hidden an impressive defensive performance by the rookie. Basketball is played on two ends of the court. To only focus on offense is to miss half the game.

He leads all summer league players in blocks with 3.0 per game and is tied for 10th in steals with 2.5 per game. Collins has altered numerous other shots and demonstrated an impressive understanding of verticality for a 19-year-old rookie. Collins has also shown that he can switch and effectively defend on the perimeter.

When Collins has been on the court, opponents have scored 71.5 points per 100 possessions, which ranks first among all summer league players.

Collins' defense was particulary impressive Sunday against the Celtics, a team that boasts this year's No. 3 overall pick, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown, the third pick from the 2016 draft.

Tatum and Brown finished with with a combined 24 points on 8-of-24 shooting against Portland.

A foul magnet in college (6.2 fouls per 40 minutes), Collins has avoided foul trouble in summer league, averaging 3.5 per game in about 30 minutes per game.

Avoiding fouls is even more impressive considering how freely officials call them during summer league competition, where players are allowed 10 before they foul out of a game.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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