Portland Trail Blazers: Who should be part of the long-term core?

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

3. Zach Collins

Zach Collins just finished his second season in the NBA and is still only 21. He played one year at Gonzaga before declaring for the draft and being selected by the Blazers with the 10th overall pick in 2017. He made a name for himself during the playoffs and showed flashes of why people around Rip City are excited about his future.

Collins is under contract with the team till the end of the 2020-21 season, and after that, the Blazers have the option to offer him a long-term deal or give him a one-year qualifying offer for the 2021-22 season, after which point he’d be able to hit free agency as an unrestricted free agent.

Collins will be around 23-24 when it’s time for him to get a new deal and hopefully by then, he’ll have proved to the Blazers that he is worth the long-term commitment and is ready to be an consistent contributor. He can play power forward alongside Jusuf Nurkic and can thrive playing with guards like McCollum, Lillard and eventually Anfernee Simons.

Collins is a talented offensive player. He can shoot the ball from all over the court, score in the post, is a good passer and is aggressive setting screens and grabbing rebounds. On defense, he can be an elite rim-protecting, shot-blocking center who can switch out onto guards and wings and defend them well.

In today’s style of the NBA, Collins is an ideal big man to have on both ends of the court. He should be in a Trail Blazers uniform for a long time and it would not be surprising to see him make some All-Defensive NBA teams and even be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year one day like he hopes to do.