In fact, it’s Carlisle’s intention to give the Mavs’ new point guard a lot of control from the get-go. Even after the unexpected departure of one of the smartest floor generals in NBA history, Carlisle wants the Mavs to continue operating out of the “flow” offense instead of set plays the majority of the time.
That means the coach will put his trust in the 25-year-old point guard.
“My continuing goal, my ongoing goal is to call less or no plays if we can,” Carlisle said. “I think that that’s better. We want our guys to make plays, not call plays.”
Collison, who enjoyed increased play-calling responsibilities in Indiana last season, relishes that opportunity.
Collison began his preparation moments after learning that the Pacers were sending him to Dallas in the Ian Mahinmi sign-and-trade deal, contacting the Mavs’ video staff to get game film of his teammates. He wanted to immediately start studying where and when Dirk Nowitzki and others liked getting the ball.
“I like to be in control of the game,” said Collison, who is known more as a penetrator than a distributor. “I like to make Coach’s job easier.”
Carlisle had a reputation as somewhat of a control freak when he was hired by the Mavs. His philosophy has changed since, preferring to call plays only in specific situations, such as coming out of timeouts in crunch time.
That’s especially important for a team that will have so many new faces in the rotation.
“I want our system to be based on simplicity and counters and guys knowing which counters are there are how to react and respond appropriately, not having 75 plays that each have five options,” Carlisle said. “That’s too confusing.”
The Mavs’ offense last season was too stagnant, tumbling to 22nd in offensive efficiency after ranking eighth in their title season. They should have a more diverse attack with the additions of post-up/mid-range threats Chris Kaman and Elton Brand and two guards (Collison and O.J. Mayo) capable of creating off the dribble.
The Mavs aren’t asking Collison to imitate Kidd, who didn’t pose much of a scoring threat last season except as an inconsistent spot-up shooter. They need Collison to add some flavor to their flow offense.
“No disrespect,” Collison said, “but I’m in my younger days and I can bring some quickness to the team and some energy.”
In some respects, Collison will be filling Kidd’s shoes. The feet will just be moving much faster.