Technically speaking, Zach Collins has been in the NBA since 2017, when he debuted for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Since then, Collins has appeared in 182 regular-season games, including 20 playoff contests. He made 28 appearances last season, his first with the Spurs.
The way the 24-year-old big man sees it, the real Collins has appeared in precisely zero.
“I don’t think you guys have seen the best of me yet,” Collins.
Completely healthy for training camp for the first time since 2019, Collins is aiming to resuscitate a once-promising career hijacked by a series of shoulder and(mostly) ankle injuries.
The versatile 6-foot-11 forward/center spent the first half of last season completing rehab on his third left ankle surgery in a 10-month span.
Collins did not make his Spurs debut until Feb. 4 against Houston. It was his first NBA action since August 2020.
With a clean bill of health this offseason, Collins was glad to be able to focus on basketball — and not the daily stock-taking of his ailing ankle.
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“It’s been great being able to focus on the skills of the game and thinking the game and not rehabbing an ankle,” Collins said. “I wish I could get those summers back but I can’t, so I tried to make it up this summer.”
The Spurs signed Collins in the summer of 2021 understanding it would take a…