John Collins has a lot in common this season with Keyonte George, Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh.

The last time he was a new guy on an NBA team, needing to learn the tendencies of every player and build chemistry with 14 other guys, was in 2017, when he was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks.

“Obviously, I want to do as best as I can every game. I’m a perfectionist and I want to fulfill my potential. But, you know, I’m in a new environment, so I’m just trying to take in all the factors and not force it.” — Jazz forward John Collins

“It’s pretty difficult in the sense of feeling like a rookie again,” Collins said after the Jazz practiced at home Thursday. “Not in terms of obviously my experience in the NBA, but it’s a new home, new coaches, new everything, new teammates, and it’s hard to adjust to new.

“I have to adapt to a bunch of things that I wasn’t used to doing in Atlanta, and that’s part of the game, and I’m embracing it because it’s a new chapter for me and it also allows my game to grow.”

The Jazz don’t have any doubts about Collins’ abilities or his talent and they know that he’s going to be an important part of the team. They also know that Collins is going to need time to acclimate.

Through two preseason games, the Jazz have seemed a little clunky, especially on the offensive end. There have been spacing issues, miscommunications, broken plays and breakdowns in execution. And as much as Collins hates it, he knows he’s been a part of those early struggles. But, he’s trying his best to push through the struggles and keep in mind that it will all get better with time.

“Obviously, I want to do as best as I can every game,” Collins said. “I’m a perfectionist and I want to fulfill my potential. But, you know, I’m in a new environment, so I’m just trying to take in all the factors and not force it.”

To that end, Jazz coach Will Hardy has made a point of reassuring Collins. Following the Jazz’s preseason loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in Seattle on Tuesday, Hardy had a long conversation with Collins.

Not only did Hardy want to let him know he had the full support of the coaching staff and team, but he also wanted to make sure that Collins feels comfortable bringing ideas, observations and concerns directly to the head coach.

“His input is valuable,” Hardy said. “And it’s for John to understand too that we want to help him but we’re also not going to make our team and the game about him. It’s a work in progress. Today was a big step in the right direction. We were able to — after the conversation he and I had and after our staff meeting and watching the film — sort of iron some things out. I think we refined a few things today.”

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Collins is aware that it’s going to take time to gain the kind of chemistry on the court that is going to make things fall into place and that it might take longer to build some relationships compared to others. But that’s not something that concerns Collins. He wants to allow all of that to happen organically.

The most important things in Collins’ mind, as he continues to try to adapt to all of the new in his basketball life, is having open, transparent and honest dialogue with his teammates and making sure that everyone feels comfortable talking, and continuing to feel supported by the coaching staff.

“It’s great for me mentally,” Collins said of the conversations he’s had with Hardy. “Physically it’s on me to go out there and do what I do. But mentally — thinking about the game, going home and watching film — having coach give me that support and knowing that he has my back and that it’s OK for me to have some struggles early … it’s amazing. For me, mentally to have that, it’s just giving me a lot of confidence.”

It’s not just new teammates and new personalities. There’s a lot of stuff between the lines that feels very new for Collins. Hardy’s system calls for a lot more movement and read actions than Collins is used to. Coming from a team where he was largely playing in pick-and-roll or stationed in the corners, he’s having to learn a fairly new way of playing the game. But again, everyone involved is confident that in time, everything will work.

So the Jazz might have to navigate through some kinks and they might feel a little disjointed for a while, but so long as Collins can find a place where he’s OK with fumbling a bit as he learns this new system, he has everything he needs to be successful.

Utah Jazz coach Will Hardy speaks at a press conference at the Zions Bank Basketball Campus in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 29, 2023. | Megan Nielsen, Deseret News