The Los Angeles Clippers have been ravaged by injuries all season, but they have been able to stay afloat thanks to the steady play of Chris Paul. Now they must venture on without Paul, who will miss 3-5 weeks with a separated shoulder. Veteran point guard Darren Collison will take over as the starter in a position he is very familiar with.
Paul and Collison were teammates on the New Orleans Hornets back in 2009. Paul was coming off one of his best seasons, and Collison was an intriguing prospect out of UCLA. Paul suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee halfway through the season, forcing Collison into the starting role early on in his rookie campaign. He averaged 18.8 points and 9.1 assists per game in 37 starts and finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.
Since his breakout rookie season, Collison has been disappointing. He was traded to the Indiana Pacers who were hoping he would be their point guard of the future. After two subpar seasons he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks where he continued to struggle as the team’s starting point guard. Looking for a fresh start, he signed with the Clippers this past offseason to once again serve as Paul’s backup.
The Clippers are hoping Collison reverts to his days in New Orleans. He’s been steady in a backup role so far this season, but the Clippers will need more from him if they want to stay competitive in the the tough Western Conference. Second-year guard Maalik Wayns was recently activated, providing much needed backcourt depth. Still, all eyes will be on Collison.