After the Trail Blazers traded up to select him 10th overall in the NBA Draft, former Gonzaga big man Zach Collins is looking forward to suffering a career-damaging injury in the immediate future.
Collins, who helped lead the Zags to their first-ever NCAA Tournament Championship appearance, is honored to follow in the lineage of famous big men drafted early by Portland, such as Sam Bowie and Greg Oden, whose careers were damaged early on due to injuries.
“I was caught off-guard by Portland selecting me 10th overall,” said Collins after he was picked. “I thought my career was going to fade away into obscurity in Sacramento. However, having my career ruined by suffering a career-damaging injury in my first season of playing for Portland is much more exciting. What will I get? Will it be a lower back injury? Foot issues? Knee problems? The possibilities are endless.”
Well aware of Portland’s history of ruining the careers of promising big man prospects, general manager Neil Olshey stated the team needed to keep the status quo intact and thus traded up to draft Collins early.
“Our Meyers Leonard selection a few seasons ago didn’t go as planned,” said Olshey. “Leonard hasn’t suffered a single career-threatening injury since being drafted by us. That isn’t the Portland way. It’s been awhile since we’ve ruined Oden’s career so it’s important that we ruin another big man’s career in order to keep the status quo. We’re hoping Zach Collins can be the next Greg Oden.”
Collins says that immediately after being drafted by Portland, Oden called Collins to tell him that when his career simmers out in four-to-five years, he will have a job lined up for him at his local Wells Fargo branch. “He called me to reassure me that I have a future after my rookie contract runs out and I play in China for a year or two.”