When talking about the big men for the Oklahoma City Thunder, most people will want to talk about Serge Ibaka and his potential in the NBA. That’s fair considering Ibaka’s elite physical tools and noticeable improvement year-by-year since he entered the league. Other people, myself included, will focus on Kendrick Perkins and how atrocious he is offensively.
More of the Thunder big man talk should concern Nick Collison, though. Collison is really a do-it-all big man off of the bench for the Thunder, splitting time at the power forward and center positions. However, it’s more than just his versatility in the post that gives him value to this OKC team.
Collison played in 81 games for the Thunder last season, averaging 5.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19.5 minutes per game. Collison also shot an impressive 59.5 percent from the floor last season and shot a solid 76.9 percent from the charity stripe.
The obvious things when it comes to Collison is that there isn’t much flash to his game. After all, this is a guy who tried to pull out a Eurostep this past season and looked like a baby trying to walk for the first time. However, Collison gets the job done without the flair and gets it done well for a guy playing reserve minutes.
Last year, Collison averaged 0.99 points per possession, the 83rd best rate in the league. Moreover, he was one of the best pick-and-roll men in the league, averaging 1.13 points per possession as the screener. Defensively, he wasn’t as bad as you might think, either. Collison allowed 0.85 points per possession, but was the 67th best defender in terms of defending post-ups, allowing only 0.75 points per possession.
It’s very rare when Collison wows the crowd or audience with the things he does. However, he’s incredibly active on both ends of the floor, has a high basketball IQ, and helps solidify the Thunder’s second unit in the frontcourt. Talk all you want about Ibaka and Perkins, but Collison deserves more credit than he gets.