John Collins suffered a left shoulder injury against the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night that will sideline him for 2-3 weeks. This was an unfortunate injury for the rookie as Collins had finally broken into the starting lineup for the Hawks. Atlanta will miss Collins for the next few weeks as the forward has provided a spark when coming into games this year. Currently, Collins is averaging 11.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game this season, even though he only averages 23 minutes per game.
With the move to the starting lineup, Collins was beginning to receive more minutes per game, often 30 or more. Though his minutes per game and traditional stats don’t look incredible, Collins’ per 36 minutes statistics are very impressive, as he averages 18.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Even better, Collins has the highest player efficiency rating (PER) of any rookie this year at 20.4. Collins is an efficient player, and even though the Hawks will miss him the next few weeks, other guys will get the opportunity to prove themselves as rotation players.
One of these guys who may benefit from Collins’ being absent is Tyler Cavanaugh, who went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft. Cavanaugh was signed to a contract by the Hawks on September 5, but he was placed on waivers by the Hawks on October 16. The Hawks later signed Cavanaugh again on November 5, however, but this time to a two-way contract.
A two-way contract is beneficial for the Hawks during their rebuilding phase. This is because a two-way contract allows a player to spend 45 days with the NBA team that signs them, and they play with their G League affiliate the rest of the season. Cavanaugh is technically not on Atlanta’s 15-man roster, but he is playing significant minutes off the bench while Collins recovers from his shoulder issue.
Cavanaugh may be a good rotation player someday in the NBA, and he is getting a great opportunity to prove himself with Collins out for the next few weeks. In his senior season, Cavanaugh averaged 18.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game at George Washington University, and if he could have one great game over the next few games that resembled his college dominance, Cavanaugh may earn himself a spot on Atlanta’s 15-man roster.
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