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Is John Collins a fit for Sixers in a Ben Simmons trade?

Reports are the Hawks could have interest in a Ben Simmons trade, but would they part with John Collins?

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Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

Last week, Marc Stein reported that the Atlanta Hawks are an “emerging suitor” for Ben Simmons. On Monday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania speculated — but did not report — about the possibility of a package headlined by forward John Collins.

But would the Hawks have the appetite for such a deal? Would Collins even interest the Sixers? Would he fit here?

There’s a lot to unpack. In his piece, Charania essentially confirms Stein’s report that Atlanta is a team that could have interest in Simmons. Charania goes on to say that the team is not fining Simmons as he does everything asked of him aside from play games.

The part where Charania mentions Collins seems more like educated speculation than reporting. With that said, it does make you wonder if there’s a framework that could make sense for both sides. A package centered around Collins and Cam Reddish, whose name has been tossed around in recent rumors, could be enticing.

Collins likely doesn’t fit the top 25-30ish player profile the Sixers have been reportedly seeking, but he’s pretty damn close. He’s arguably a top-40 player and he’s still just 24 years old. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2018-19, Collins has averaged 19 points and 8.8 rebounds a game. He’s not an All-Star, but it’s feasible he could become one.

He’s not a perfect fit on the Sixers, but that’s not to say he wouldn’t be a fit at all. He’s potentially an outstanding frontcourt mate next to Joel Embiid. Collins has become an effective — albeit not high volume (3.3 attempts per game) — three-point shooter at over 40 percent the last three seasons. Collins’ ability on the offensive glass and freakish athleticism make him an ideal candidate to play in the dunker spot. He could also play backup five minutes and give Doc Rivers’ mostly-bench units a huge boost with his skills as a screener, roller and finisher.

The concern would be Collins playing the four and that bumping Tobias Harris out to the wing. Offensively, they’d likely be fine. If anything, it could benefit Harris, who would be forced to post up less and focus more on slashing from the perimeter. As we saw a couple years ago with Al Horford here, the concern would be how Harris holds up against quicker, scoring wings defensively — especially in a playoff series.

On a side note, Collins would be LOVED in Philadelphia. He plays with an absurd amount of energy and swagger. Remember when he had Embiid in a headlock while dunking on him and then proceeded to have a t-shirt printed of said dunk? Sure, it was hated here, but imagine if Collins was a Sixer and did something similar with a dunk on Giannis Antetokounmpo. Some serious “shut up and take my money” vibes would permeate in the Delaware Valley.

The possible addition of Reddish should grab Morey’s attention. The 10th overall pick in the 2019 draft has shown potential recently — including an 18-point performance against the Sixers. With the Hawks’ messy cap situation going forward, the team has reportedly been shopping Reddish. The Norristown native has flashed shot creation skills and defensive potential with his 7-foot-1 wingspan. He’s still just 22. The only downside is that extending Reddish could be tricky, but I’d bet on Morey finding a way to get it done if Reddish proved to be a major asset.

Neither player is in the top 30 in the league, but Collins could be. And it’s not crazy to suggest Reddish could creep up into the top 50 — and possibly higher.

Is that enough to sway Morey? Harris and his near-max deal make it murky, but Collins’ talent, along with the potential of Reddish, may be too good to pass up.

As of today, we’re a month away from the trade deadline. Buckle up!

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