RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The role of the big man has changed in the NBA, and that’s evident in the way teams pick centers and post players entering Thursday’s draft.

The style of play favors versatile players who can space the floor, or play inside and out. And that means players who spend more time in the post — such as Gonzaga’s Zach Collins or Wake Forest’s John Collins — have become harder to project for the NBA and lack the top-of-the-lottery value as in years past.

Still, both players offer plenty of potential when it comes to interior scoring and rebounding, and they headline this year’s crop of post players and centers:



The 7-footer was Gonzaga’s first McDonald’s All-American and was a key reserve during the Bulldogs’ run to the NCAA championship game.

STRENGTHS: The freshman averaged 10 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting a conference-best 65 percent, showing nice touch around the paint, mobility and athleticism . He’s a possible lottery pick.

CONCERNS: Collins has a small sample size for teams to evaluate. He’s also had issues with foul trouble.



The 6-10 sophomore made a rapid rise to become a candidate for Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year with his efficient offensive game.

STRENGTHS: Collins is a good athlete with a soft shooting touch (62 percent). He often proved nearly unstoppable in the post (19.2 points, 9.8…