Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins has already produced his fair share of highlight reel plays in his young career, but a moment in Wednesday night’s preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers topped all the rest.
Halfway through the fourth quarter in a tight game, Hawks rookie Sharife Cooper used a screen and drove right toward the basket. Collins darted in from the left wing, giving his teammate a potential lob threat.
Cooper took advantage of the set-up and scooped the ball across the lane in the air to Collins, who leapt up over Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen and flushed the ball through the hoop. The dunk sent the Hawks players on the floor into a frenzy, while Cleveland’s bench looked on in disbelief.
Take a look, courtesy of Bally Sports:
EVERYBODY GO HOME WE ARE DONE HERE pic.twitter.com/rw15QbRFiH
— Bally Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnBally) October 7, 2021
The Collins alley-oop is already a candidate for dunk of the year and the regular season hasn’t even gotten underway. NBA Twitter could hardly believe what they witnessed from the Hawks big man, but tried to put the impressive slam into words.
what on earth john collins pic.twitter.com/tS9k9G61Yu
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) October 7, 2021
The bench reaction says it all
Wow John Collins 🤯🤯🤯
— Covers (@Covers) October 7, 2021
This is what spurred my previous John Collins tweet. Unreal! https://t.co/qJ2IyIDTBl
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) October 7, 2021
Sweet mother of god John Collins pic.twitter.com/VVlZHRiNMB
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) October 7, 2021
woooo John Collins FLIES pic.twitter.com/pOdjVAachU
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) October 7, 2021
Collins is known for making plays like the one he made on Wednesday night, but normally has Hawks All-Star point guard Trae Young throwing him lobs. Still, the league has never quite seen him throw down a dunk like the one he did on Allen.
Collins is far more than just a lob threat and he’s proved that through his steady development in Atlanta. Just last year, he averaged 17.6 points and 7.4 rebounds on 55.6 percent shooting from the floor and 39.9 percent from beyond the arc.
The Hawks took note of Collins’ steady output and his ability to pair with Young and the rest of the team’s core by awarding the 24-year-old with a five-year, $125 million deal this offseason. The contract will keep the skilled big man in Atlanta for the foreseeable future as the organization tries to compete for a championship.
So long as Collins continues to throw down dunks like the one he did on Wednesday, NBA fans everywhere will be thrilled to watch him on the court with the Hawks.
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