Hawks’ John Collins suspended 25 games for growth hormone

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Is the NBA facing a moment of reckoning with performance-enhancing drugs?

The previous three suspensions had come over four years, 2014-18.

Now, there have been three suspensions in just over two months

Hawks big John Collins follows Nets forward Wilson Chandler (late August) and Suns center Deandre Ayton (mid-October).

NBA release:

John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks has been suspended without pay for twenty-five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program by testing positive for Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2 (GHRP-2), it was announced today by the NBA.

Collins’ suspension will begin with tonight’s game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Atlanta Hawks.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Practically all athletes who test positive say they didn’t know they took a banned substance. Practically all appeals go nowhere.

At this point, Collins’ statement looks boilerplate and shouldn’t be taken seriously without far more evidence.

Unlike Ayton, who tested positive for a diuretic (a masking agent), Collins tested positive for the hard stuff. That definitely ought to raise more eyebrows. Jodie Meeks also got suspended for growth hormone last year.

This will cost Collins $610,582 of his $2,686,560 salary. That’s a significant setback for a former No. 19 pick still on his rookie-scale contract. Collins (No. 24 on our list of top 50 players in 5 years) will have a chance for a major payday with a contract extension next offseason. But he’ll have to reestablish himself after returning from this suspension.

In the meantime, Atlanta will rely more on Jabari Parker at power forward. Parker has shown nice early pick-and-roll chemistry with Trae Young, who’s driving the Hawks. But if Young and Collins invited defensive questions, Young and Parker practically scream for help on that.

Vince Carter and De'Andre Hunter can play behind Parker. However, both Carter and Hunter were already getting minutes at small forward. So, Collins’ absence will trickle up the depth chart and weaken Atlanta’s wing depth.