At 25 years old, Darren Collison has already seen it all. He’s been drafted, traded, a starter and came off the bench. He’s shown signs of being a potential top 10 point guard, but has never fully put it together. Next season will be the year he reaches his full potential with the Dallas Mavericks.
Many people forget that he started his career with the New Orleans Hornets, where he averaged 12.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1 steal in 27 minutes a game. Those are decent numbers for a rookie point guard playing on the same team as Chris Paul. But if you look at his numbers as a starter you start to see the potential Collison has. In 37 starts in his rookie season, Collison averaged 18.8 points, 9 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 40 minutes a game. Those are All-Star caliber numbers. In New Orleans he mostly ran pick and roll, which Darren thrives in.
When he was traded to the Indiana Pacers, Collison’s career looked very bright. In his first year he put up similar numbers to his rookie season. He averaged 13 points, 5 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1 steal in 29 minutes a game. He started all 79 games he played. Those numbers put up against his starting numbers in New Orleans are very disappointing. In his second season in Indiana, his numbers continued to decline. He averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1 steal in 31 minutes a game. Once again well off from his starting numbers with the Hornets.
The reasoning behind Collison’s declining numbers as a starter are from the different styles of play. New Orleans ran pick and roll with Collison at point. With the Pacers the offense ran through the big men who pass it back out to the open shooters or go to work down low. Collison and the other two backcourt players would stand around the three-point line while Roy Hibbert and David West went to work. Collison’s shooting percentage declined from shooting mostly jumpers. His assists declined due to the offense being more team oriented.
Collison is more effective with the ball in his hand. He is a master in the pick and roll. Rick Carlisle is the type of coach that will get everything he can out of Collison. He is great at driving to the basket. He’s a very willing passer, but will attack the basket with no hesitation. The Mavericks can use Chris Kaman, Dirk Nowitzki and Elton Brand in the pick and roll with Collison. He will get more open shots, open space to the basket and open shooter’s like O.j Mayo standing on the perimeter. It will be a feeding frenzy for Collison running the point. I can see him getting 8-9 assists a game to along with 16-17 points. With so many options in the paint and on the perimeter, Darren will have his best year yet.