No move from power forward for Hawks’ Collins

The general manager and coach spoke to the media Thursday in advance of training camp.

John Collins has been a power forward much of his basketball career. It appears he will remain in the role as he begins his second NBA season with the Hawks.

Under head coach Mike Budenholzer, the power forward and center were described as interchangeable positions as there was an emphasis on spacing and the 3-point shot. With new head coach Lloyd Pierce, it appears Collins will play at power forward – while still expected to guard the 3-point line.

“The biggest thing, with any player, is you keep them in their natural position,” Pierce said Thursday in advance of the opening of training camp next week. “He’s been a 4 his entire career. Just because the game is changing, doesn’t mean he just has to drastically jump and be a 5.”

Collins appeared in 74 games as a rookie last season. He averaged 10.5 points and 7.3 rebounds. The 6-foot-10 Collins attempted 47 3-pointers, making 16. In two seasons at Wake Forest, Collins attempted one 3-pointer.

While power forward is his natural position, Pierce indicated that he would play center in certain matchups to create an advantage.

“That is part of the excitement for next week,” Pierce said of the start of training camp. “You want to be able to look at your roster and evaluated different styles, different matchups. We are going to play teams that have (Kevin Durant) at the 5, Dirk (Nowitzki) at the 5. Dirk is at a stage now where he is just behind the 3-point line. He is still very lethal and we have to be able to guard guys like that. Regardless of what position they are, we’ve got to be able to balance and create advantages for ourselves. Guys like John, Omari (Spellman), the ability to play the 5 and create advantages for us where he can not only roll but he can space the floor. Some point, it will come into play. It’s definitely come into play in this gym but to put in on the floor from a matchup perspective, we’ll find out soon enough.”

Collins told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month that he has spent much time in the offseason working on his long-distance shot. He hopes to improve on his .340 percentage for the shot.

“I think it’s paying off,” Collins said. “I’m going to have confidence shooting my shot.”

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