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Keeping Up With Darren Collison: Mid December Edition

This should be a recurring feature. Collison was a favorite here last season, and we can still root for him since Indiana is like 700 miles away. Tonight's matchup with the Pacers expedites the arrival of the first in this series.. but it also means we can't root for him. A classic Catch-22 paradoxical syollogistic anachronism if I've ever seen one! 

Collison's single most valuable skill last year was his ability to get into the paint. It was from this that all other contributions derived- his passing, his high eFG% for a guard, and so forth.

This year, he's in a system that has taken the ball out of his hands some. The Pacers run a good bit of their offense through Roy Hibbert (really one of the best passing bigs in the NBA right now). Hibbert has responded with an 18% assist rate. But that also means that Collison's opportunities to create have diminished. He's averaging an assist every four possessions, about 8% less than last year in New Orleans. But he has slashed his turnover rate by almost 4% as well.

If we take a look at some overall statistics, Collison's putting up a 15.6 PER versus a 16.5 PER last season. His usage has stayed essentially constant (23.1% to 23.0%) as has his Offensive Rating (105 to 104). Overall, it's fair to say that Collison hasn't developed much this season; if anything, he's regressed.

He still has 60+ games to go this year, but the early indications are that he isn't the best fit for Jim O'Brien's system. On top of that, O'Brien has benched him for seemingly lesser options- the equally inexperienced A.J. Price who Indiana took with the 52nd overall selection in 2009 (more than 30 spots after Collison) and the terri-awful T.J. Ford. Ford is currently creating 91 points per 100 possessions. That's tied with you-know-who for the second worst mark in the league for players that have logged at least 500 minutes. All of that factors into Collison's lack of minutes. DC averaged 28 minutes a night for New Orleans in 2009-2010; he's at the exact same mark for Indiana in 2010-2011.