Atlanta Hawks rookie John Collins is one of the building blocks of the team’s rebuilding project. He’s an old school power forward who feasts on drives into the paint, dunks, put-backs, alley-oops and the souls of defenders he’s posterized. In Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Collins did what he does best by claiming the dignity of Cavs forward Cedi Osman.
Veteran Hawks forward Kent Bazemore later posted a snapshot of Collins’ dunk and found a way to knock the rookie on his Instagram page for failing to make the extra pass to an open teammate:
Let’s play devil’s advocate and avoid laughing this off as lighthearted ribbing by Bazemore. As one of the oldest contributors on a young Hawks team, Bazemore is being counted on for leadership. This could be a teachable moment. Collins is averaging fewer than one assist per game in an offense that is fueled by ball movement. Luke Babbitt, the teammate still hollering for the ball as Collins elevated, is a 43 percent 3-point shooter.
Dunks are an inefficiency in this 3-point economy, and Bazemore is a vet dispensing wisdom through Instagram. It’s tough love right out of LeBron James’ social media playbook, but somebody’s gotta do it.
Of course, there could also be a hint of jealousy and player hatin’ at play here. A few minutes earlier, Bazemore attempted to deliver what would have been an epic statement dunk over Jeff Green, but met resistance at the rim and got leveled.
Jeff Green was given a flagrant 1 foul after contesting this Kent Bazemore dunk attempt…. pic.twitter.com/rpRngVIx9N
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) November 5, 2017
Collins has a steep learning curve, but he also has 34 pounds on Bazemore. Clearly, the rookie can show him a little something about finishing through contact.