At noon, I was hoping the Pacers would be able to re-sign Earl Watson. By 2 pm, I was absolutely giddy over the fact that Darren Collison was going to be a Pacer, and all it cost us was Troy Murphy and the willingness to absorb the last two years of James Posey’s contract.
Collison had been a target for the Pacers most of the summer, and prior to the draft I had contacted Ryan Schwan of Hornets247 to get his take on the rookie PG from UCLA. Here’s what he had to say:
The Good: Collison is a cold-blooded killer. He doesn’t get flustered, doesn’t make mistakes at the end of games, and he leads his team vocally. Put him in a pick and roll, and you’d be hardpressed to find a guy as good as him at getting to the hoop and finishing or dumping off to bigs in the paint. Early in the season, he was a turnover waiting to happen as he drove into trouble and lost the ball a lot, but then he started to use a mid-range pull-up in march and april – and his shot was golden off of that. He’s an excellent shooter from anywhere, and Chris Paul calls him the fastest man in the NBA. As you’d expect, in transition he can’t be caught.
The Bad: Outside of pick and rolls, he’s not the best at improvising, frequently making a decision before his drive, and then not adapting well when something unexpected occurs. His defense is abysmal. He’s fast, and he gets some steals while staying in front of his man, but he can be outmuscled easily, shot over, and it’s not hard to rub him off with a solid screen.
Summary: Collison is exciting as hell, and just based on what I saw over the course of last year, I expect him to become a major offensive wrecking ball – his FG% essentially increased every month as he figured things out. In fact, I tend to refer to him with my friends as a team-oriented version of Allen Iverson. I also fully expect him to be exploited defensively by the other team every game – and I’m not sure there’s anything anyone will be able to do about it.
So, plenty to be excited about offensively, and some to be concerned about defensively. Still, he’s young, and we got him for a great price. His overall Synergy defensive numbers are comparable to guys like Ty Lawson and Eric Maynor, and I suspect Pacer fans will find him an improvement at the defensive end over all of the Point Guards we’ve played over the last three years – with the exception of Earl Watson.
Thanks again to Ryan for his input.