Posts Tagged ‘Darren Collison’

Adding to the Darren Collison Intrigue

June 27th, 2010 3 comments
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With free agency set to begin next week, the New Orleans Hornets’ ownership transfer delay could hamper the team’s ability to improve its roster, even though George Shinn has continued to reassure fans of his commitment toward winning.

What else is he going to say? The cash strapped owner needs to sell season tickets.

But the situation in the Big Easy has led to widespread speculation that more than half of the league’s general managers have taken great interest in. The Hornets remain a league-wide curiosity because, even after last season’s virtual giveaways of Rasual Butler and Devin Brown to avoid paying luxury tax, New Orleans is back in tax territory with a projected payroll of more than $73 million in 2010/11.

What do you do when your loss-making team’s two best players play the same position?

One answer, and the easiest, is to trade one of them this summer. There are only 48 minutes available to a point guard, and the Hornets have more pressing needs at hand. Both Chris Paul and Darren Collison would demand a major return on the trade market. The Hornets could move Paul in return for a bevy of solid, young talent and draft picks that could shore up several positions of need. They could also move Collison with a bigger contract to pad his outgoing salary. The Hornets unfortunately have multiple overpaid declining parts still locked up for at least another season.

Rival executives continue to try to convince the Hornets to make Paul available in trades, pointing to the fact that new head coach Monty Williams can simply slide the promising Collison and his modest $1.4 million salary into that spot. When those teams get shot down, they come right back and suggest the Hornets’ make Collison available, conditioned upon a willingness to take back the cap-clogging contracts of Emeka Okafor, James Posey or Peja Stojakovic.

It has always been assumed that the Hornets will trade away one of their two star point guards to get under the tax threshold. Recent history suggests that smaller market teams will do just about anything – even the decidedly stupid – to drop below that magic line. Last season, the salary-dumping Utah Jazz jettisoned the promising rookie point guard Eric Maynor to Sam Presti, perhaps the best young general manager in the league today, and his Oklahoma City Thunder, in a package deal that included the retiring Matt Harpring. Read more…

Should a Collison Package Tempt the Heat?

June 14th, 2010 1 comment
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The Heat are in desperate need of a playmaking point guard like Darren Collison

The National Basketball Association has truly become a point guard driven league.

The bulk of the power teams in the league are currently employing point guards of the highest caliber. Brandon Jennings, Chauncey Billups, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Jameer Nelson, Jason Kidd, Mo Williams, Rajon Rondo, Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash and Tony Parker and were all playing in the playoffs this season, while names like John Wall, Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans are poised to become the future faces of the association.

The point is that it seems much easier to make your way in this league with a top flight point guard than to try to make a go of it with an average one like Mario Chalmers. Still, perhaps you are not convinced that Darren Collison – the 21st overall pick in last year’s NBA draft – can really insert himself into the conversation with the list above. Let’s take a closer look.

While maybe his 12.4 points and 5.7 assists per game last year weren’t particularly eye-popping, his 18.8 points and 9.1 assists per game as a starter were just that. Especially since, due to the injury to Chris Paul, he actually started 37 games for the Hornets last season, making the sample size significantly more relevant than had he simply blown up in a few meaningless garbage-time minutes . As a starter, he shot 49% from the field, 43% from behind the arc, and had better overall averages than the more highly-touted Stephen Curry (17.9ppg, 6.1apg, .461 FG%, .436% 3PFG), Tyreke Evans (20.1ppg, 5.8apg, .458 FG%, .255 3PFG%) and Brandon Jennings (17.1ppg, 6.3apg, .371 FG%, .374 3PFG%). This is a guy that had fourteen 10+ assist games last season (which is eight more than Derrick Rose had), including one 18 assist and one 20 assist game. He scored over 30 points twice, and over 20 points sixteen times (two more than Rajon Rondo). He even had a triple-double (18-12-13) back on February 19 against Indiana. Not too shabby.

Collison is a lightening-quick guard, and he saw more than one-third of his offense come from inside the paint, despite his diminutive six-foot frame. That means that not only does Collision have the tools to create his own offense, something the Heat could desperately use alongside Wade in the backcourt, but he also has the quickness to beat the opposition off of the dribble, get to the basket and collapse defenses, opening up the floor for his teammates. Read more…