Buy or Bye: Darren Collison

April, 23, 2013
4/23/13
11:30
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Darren Collison


Darren Collison has made it clear he considers himself a starting point guard. The Mavericks have made it clear they see him as an off-the-bench sparkplug.

That difference of opinion doesn’t necessarily ruin any chances of Collison returning to Dallas, particularly if the rest of the NBA agrees with the Mavs’ evaluation of him.

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“We’ll see,” Collison said. “I’m not going to say no because I definitely experienced it and I’m capable of playing off the bench. At the same time, I just know who I am as a person and as a player. I know I’m capable of playing for any team as a starter.”

If Collison gets paid starter money, it won’t be from the Mavs, whose top offseason priority is upgrading at point guard.

Nevertheless, coach Rick Carlisle called Collison “definitely a guy going forward who is one of the pieces of the puzzle here, potentially.” The Mavs appreciated Collison’s positive attitude while he dealt with being demoted behind geezer point guards Derek Fisher and Mike James. They’re also enamored with the speed and quickness that can make Collison a threat, especially against second units.

There could be a place for Collison in Dallas. It’d be coming off the bench, preferably behind a starting point guard who has proven capable of closing games.

Ranking among the league’s best backup point guards isn’t Collison’s goal. It’s just his reality as he enters free agency after finishing up his rookie contract.

2012-13 stats: Averaged 12.0 points, 5.1 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 2.1 turnovers while shooting 47.1 percent from the floor and 35.3 percent from 3-point range in 29.3 minutes per game.

Age: 25

Comps:

J.J. Barea – Averaged 11.3 points, 4.0 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 0.4 steals and 2.0 turnovers while shooting 41.7 percent from the floor and 34.6 percent from 3-point range in 23.1 minutes per game. Signed a four-year, $18 million deal in 2011.

Luke Ridnour – Averaged 11.5 points, 3.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.6 turnovers while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor and 31.1 percent from 3-point range in 30.2 minutes per game. Signed a four-year, $16 million deal in 2010.

Nate Robinson – Averaged 13.1 points, 4.4 assists, 2.2 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 1.8 turnovers while shooting 43.3 percent from the floor and 40.5 percent from 3-point range in 25.4 minutes per game. Played this season on a one-year, $1.15 million deal (veteran minimum).

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Jerryd Bayless – Averaged 8.7 points, 3.3 assists, 2.2 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 1.5 turnovers while shooting 41.9 percent from the floor and 35.3 percent from 3-point range in 22.1 minutes per game. Signed two-year, $6.14 million deal (taxpayer exception) last offseason.

Isaiah Thomas – Averaged 13.9 points, 4.0 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 1.8 turnovers while shooting 44.0 percent from the floor and 35.8 percent from 3-point range in 26.9 minutes per game. Entering final year of rookie contract that pays him the league minimum salary ($884,293 next season).

Estimated contract: Collison should be one of the NBA’s best-paid backup point guards. Figure he gets a four-year deal in the $15 million range.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
20.6 4.7 1.5 33.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.5
AssistsM. Ellis 4.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.5
BlocksB. Wright 1.6