Nick Collison is a player for the Oklahoma City Thunder who usually goes unnoticed when looking at the box score in games. This season he has only averaged 19.5 minutes and 5.3 points per game, but Collison is worth so much more to the Thunder than what his statistics show.
Collison is arguably the best defender for the Thunder, which speaks volumes since he has teammates such as Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.
In a recent game against Western Conference foe Memphis Grizzlies, Collison held Zach Randolph, 47 percent shooter, to just 6-of-23 from the field. Collison’s defensive effort in this game specifically brought national attention to the power forward’s defensive capabilities, but the truth is Collison has been playing this level of defense for the entire season.
In the past five games for the Thunder, Collison has averaged a plus-7.8 in point differential, which denotes the team’s net points while Collison is on the floor. The game against the Grizzlies stands out the most when he was a plus-15 in point differential.
The hustle from Collison is the attribute that Thunder fans appreciate the most. Collison is always the first person to hit the floor when there is a loose ball, and he is always willing to put his body in harm’s way by taking a charge on driving offenders.
Collison’s worth to the Thunder can not be measured in mere statistics because he is a player that does all of the gritty work that many players are not willing to do. Whether it is setting up a screen, pick and roll, diving on the floor, taking a charge or getting a rebound, Collison is doing whatever he can to help his team out.
Collison is the epitome of the type of player that every coach in the NBA desires. He leaves his mark in games without filling up the stats sheet, which helps make the foundation for a championship caliber team. His consistent unselfish play is key to the Thunder’s goal of making a deep playoff run to the NBA Finals.