The Washington Wizards are off to a better start than what most NBA fans expected. Bradley Beal continues to be the franchise cornerstone of this squad, but it is the duo of Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma who have been magnificent this season. Injuries hindered the progress of Porzingis last year, but his production of scoring over 20 PPG along with 8.8 RPG and 1.5 BPG has been phenomenal for Washington.
The Porzingis trade was a shock from the NBA pundits, and it seemed like the Wizards were invested in him from the beginning, and it is paying off so far. For Kuzma, he continues his outstanding play as the starting wing of the Washington frontcourt. One of the primary question marks is the third piece on that first unit, but the most realistic trade target for this franchise is Atlanta Hawks’ John Collins.
With this name presented, Washington may feel that acquiring John Collins from Atlanta could be repetitive in the rotation of the Wizards. The roster still has Deni Avdija and Rui Hachimura as two lottery picks who are both forwards who are waiting for the organization to offer them a contract extension. Conversely, signing Daniel Gafford to an extension was dealt a massive blow to their roster flexibility as he is still signed until 2026.
These percolating issues of Washington could be mitigated by adding a disgruntled John Collins, who has been amid the trade rumors for many years now. Pairing him with Kristaps Porzingis gives coach Wes Unseld Jr. a contrasting look when it comes to what they can contribute on the court. Porzingis is more of a finesse big who is an elite outside shooter and midrange sniper, while Collins is a pick-and-roll maestro who is a fantastic finisher near the rim.
On the offensive side, Bradley Beal will have more options to swing the ball around or even lob the ball to his bigs if his frontcourt will be composed of Kuzma, Porzingis, and Collins. The Collins addition gives a different dynamic rather than having Kuzma, Hachimura, and Avdija all thrive at the three position, which makes it tougher for Unseld Jr. in balancing their playing time.
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Either Hachimura or Avdija possesses a substantial amount of value in the trade market, so the Wizards will be able to tinker with their roster. The addition of John Collins gives them a more able body to play physically in the paint as a significant upgrade from Daniel Gafford or Taj Gibson. The problem could be on the defensive end because guards would search for the mismatch and force either Porzingis or Collins to defend in the perimeter.
Being eighth in defense means Washington has the assets to mitigate the holes that could open up with a Porzingis and Collins combination. On the offensive end, they are at 25th, so they need Collins to step up and score 15-20 PPG on a given night. Collins’ numbers have unfortunately plummeted this year because the plays of Atlanta rely on Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, so he has only been tallying 12 PPG and 7 RPG.
Buying low on Collins is a brilliant approach for the Hawks, especially with the lack of draft capital they have for the next years. John Collins has proven he can contribute over 20 points and 10 rebounds, so this welcome edition will be an enormous advantage for the whole organization.