LAS VEGAS – Trail Blazers’ rookie Zach Collins didn’t mince words when it came to evaluating his Summer League debut on Saturday:
“Terrible,’’ the 7-footer said after the Blazers’ 72-63 win over Utah. “Terrible … I just didn’t play well.’’
Collins finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, but had six turnovers and shot 3-of-13 from the field. Many of his turnovers came when he was stripped inside or lost control of the ball in traffic.
“I was soft,’’ Collins said.
Inside the Blazers, the evaluation was much more measured.
Jim Moran, the Blazers’ assistant coach who is serving as Summer League head coach, said he could see Collins beating himself up in the locker room while looking at the boxscore, but he said the 19-year-old was probably obsessing about the wrong things.
“From a coaching standpoint … we are more concerned about the defense, and on defense he was good,’’ Moran said. “That’s the one thing when we watch film tomorrow, we will stress his defense. Just being in the right place, setting screens, getting guys open … it’s the little things first. He’s going to get his shots, and they are going to fall, but he can’t judge his play off the stat sheet.’’
Collins showed flashes offensively, particularly early. He threaded a nice bounce pass to a cutting Jake Layman that resulted in a dunk, then later hit a turnaround baseline jumper.
On defense, his four blocks were are the obvious highlight, but the coaching staff said he also stood out in the subtleties of the game, such as moving his feet, rotating to help and fighting through screens.
More than anything, Collins showed the fire and competitiveness that the organization touted when they traded up to take him with the 10th overall pick. Never was it more evident than his immediate postgame assessment of being “terrible,” a mood that didn’t subside 30 minutes after the game had ended.
“I’m my biggest critic, so right now I’m going to give you guys some pretty negative stuff about myself,’’ Collins said. “That’s just the way it is.’’