The Boston Celtics did recently acquire a promising big man in Bol Bol earlier this month. However, that’s not to say they’ve reeled in the reins when it comes to their search for a boost in the frontcourt. The Athletic’s Jared Weiss reported on January 19 that the Cs continue to shop for center/power forward help ahead of the trade deadline, with Al Horford being the potential casualty were they to swing a trade — although names such as Marcus Smart, Dennis Schroder and Josh Richardson are also believed to be available.
One player in particular who Boston may have their eyes on is Hawks forward John Collins, who Atlanta has become “more active in searching for a new home for,” per Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer.
With a Collins trade growing increasingly more likely, Fischer’s colleague Greg Swartz believes the Celtics would be ecstatic to yield the services of the Utah Native, calling him Boston’s “dream target” at the deadline.
“The Celtics don’t need to split up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They do, however, need to inject this roster with a lot more shooting around their star duo,” wrote Swartz. “Collins has become one of the best three-point shooting big men in the NBA, one who can also play the pick-and-roll and throw down some devastating dunks… yet his future in Atlanta is in doubt… Putting Collins on the floor with Tatum, Brown and Robert Williams III would be a tremendously talented Big Four of players who are all 25 and under and can’t become free agents until 2024 or later.”
Celtics Have Been Linked to Collins in the Past
Collins, 24, is a familiar name in Celtics circles who was readily linked as a potential trade target for the Cs this time one year ago. Of course, Collins ultimately stayed put in Atlanta, the Hawks proceeded to make an unforeseen run to the Eastern Conference Finals and Collins went on to ink a $125 million contract with the team this offseason. All good in The A, right? Welp, not so fast.
The Hawks have struggled to build off their magic from a season ago, sitting at just 21-25 as we near the end of January. Collins, while continuously putting up solid numbers, has grown increasingly frustrated over his role in Atlanta, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
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Collins Still Delivering Despite Frustration
Collins is currently averaging 17.0 points per game. If the season ended today, it would mark the second consecutive year he’s seen his scoring output take a dip, which maxed out at 21.6 points per game back in 2019.
Having said that, he’s further established himself as one of the league’s most versatile big men and a legitimate threat from beyond the arc as a stretch-four. His 42.6% shooting percentage from 3-point range this season marks a new career-high for the Wake Forest product and ranks ninth-best league-wide. He’s now knocked down 40.9% of his 3-pointers over the last three years.
That type of consistency from deep would be paramount for a Celtics squad who ranks in the bottom-nine in team 3-point percentage (34.0%).