The Weight is Over - By Jon Cooper
The Weight Is Over
The start of training camp for the 2010-11 season means it's officially time to say goodbye to everything 2009-10.
For Jason Collins that includes the media guide, game notes, web pages — in short, everything — that had him listed at 7-0, 265 pounds.
While he'll still stand 7-0, making him the tallest member of the team by an inch over Zaza Pachulia and by two over Al Horford and new Hawk Etan Thomas, he'll happily shed the 265-pound label, which made him the second-heaviest Hawk to Pachulia — although NBA.com and some other sites did have him listed at 255.
Looking for the skinny on Collins? It's not hard to find. Just take a look at Collins himself.
"I've worked very hard this off-season to put myself in good position to help my team," said the 31-year-old center, who begins his 10th NBA season and second with the Hawks. "I'm looking forward to an opportunity to being very successful here with the Hawks this year."
Shedding some weight was crucial to his returning to Atlanta and being included in new Head Coach Larry Drew's plans.
"After I got the job, I told [General Manager Rick Sund] right away, that as far as bigs, because we were talking about bigs to bring in and possibly sign, I just told him, 'Let's not exclude Jason Collins,'" said Drew. "He has some knowledge about the offense I want to run and his body does not have a lot of wear and tear on it from the last couple of years.
"I called him up and told him, I'm considering bringing you back, but you're going to have to lose weight,'" Drew continued. "He did a great job this summer in trimming down and eating right and running and lifting weights and he's at a weight now, it may be his lowest, and I'm excited that we do have him."
Collins credited Hawks strength and conditioning coach Chattin Hill for developing an off-season program for him and his own discipline in following those guidelines.
"It was a combination of everything," he said. "It's hard work, it's diet, it's exercise, a lot of cardio and a lot of watching what you eat and just working hard."
The results speak for themselves, as he has brought a sleeker body to camp.
Collins is excited to get on the floor and show that he can contribute more than he did last season, when he played a career-low 24 games and, for the first time in his career, averaged single-digit minutes and less than a point and a rebound per game.
"I feel good," said Collins, who has career averages of 4.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 22.7 minutes. "Anytime you lose a lot of weight you're going to feel lighter on your feet. It's just one of those things where you feel like you're in great shape. Hopefully I'll get an opportunity to help my team win.
"I feel I'm a little more versatile," he added. "Last year I probably would have just gone in there with bigger guys, but now I feel I can guard the quicker guys off the ground and on the move. I'll be able to move my feet and slide and get in good position to play good defense."
Getting in the air will help Collins once again become the shot-blocking threat he's been in years past as until last season he'd never blocked fewer than 10 shots in a season.
While he wouldn't reveal just how much weight he'd lost over the summer (training camp rosters still list him at 265), Collins said there has been another unexpected benefit.
"I know I look a lot more like my brother (Jarron, his twin, who is listed at 6-11, 249 with the L.A. Clippers)," he said with a laugh. "Last year, my teammates were saying, 'Are you sure you guys are twins?' But now looking at us, we definitely look a lot alike. That's kind of cool, again."