Monday, September 10, 2012
Over/Under: Jason Collins
By Chris Forsberg
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty ImagesOur over/under series, where colleague Greg Payne and I attempt to project a Celtics player's production for the upcoming season, draws to a close this week. Today's target: veteran center Jason Collins, who inked a one-year deal at the veteran minimum this offseason.
Jason Collins can throw it to the guys in green in the upcoming season.
Minutes per game: 10
* Forsberg: Under. If we use Ryan Hollins as a guide here, last year's third center averaged 10.7 minutes per game in 15 appearances late in the season (and held at 10 per game in the postseason). Alas, injuries had depleted Boston's frontcourt depth and foul trouble for Greg Stiemsma opened some playing-time doors for Hollins. The guess here is that the Celtics will run with some smaller lineups this season, utilizing the versatility of Chris Wilcox and Jeff Green, which will further bite into the time needed for defensive-minded Collins. He'll see the floor, but even the 10.3 minutes per game he averaged last season might be tough to reach.
* Payne: Under. Collins will likely be ahead of Fab Melo should any personnel emergencies crop up, but otherwise, he'll be used sparingly. Collins is really here to help combat the Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynums of the world, and even that won't really matter until the postseason. The good thing about a veteran like Collins is he won't need a ton of burn to be productive in spot situations. He's here to be a big body and a big obstacle for opposing teams, and Doc Rivers won't need to play him every game for him to fill that role effectively when needed.
Field goal percentage: 41
* Forsberg: Over. Yes, three of his last four seasons have been below this number (including a mere 31.4 percent in limited appearances during the 2008-09 season), but the guess here is that Collins will only be firing away when it's a gimme. With all the weapons around him, there's no need for Collins to be putting up more than the 40 shots he took last season in 30 regular-season games for the Hawks.
* Payne: Over. Collins is a career 41.2 percent shooter, but never has he had a distributor like Rajon Rondo on his side. I'm not projecting any lofty numbers for Collins here, but, assuming the shots he does get (there won't be many) come right near the rim, he really should be able to post a figure above 41 percent.
Rebounds per game: 1.5
* Forsberg: Over. A 7-footer with good defensive instincts, the guess here is that Collins can pull down a couple rebounds even in short minutes. He averaged 1.6 per game last season and while his rebounding percentages are nothing to write home about, Boston's defense should force plenty of misses and that will create even more opportunities to clean the glass.
* Payne: Under. A lack of minutes, having superior rebounders around him, and the fact that he's just not a great rebounder to begin with will hinder Collins' impact in this area. With a career defensive rebounding percentage of 14.2, Collins has never established himself as a legitimate force on the glass, and it's unlikely he'll do much in this department this coming season.