Everyone Loves Darren; Bird's Not Done Dealing

Be sure to check out a good statistical analysis of Darren Collison’s rookie season from Levy2725 over at Indy Cornrows. Here’s a taste:

Offensively, Collison’s strengths are clear. He’s a respectable spot-up shooter, which will be a new addition for the Pacers at point guard. In addition his speed and quickness make him dangerous in transition and isolation. Last season in New Orleans Collison had limited opportunities to work off the ball. He was very effective off cuts and hand offs, plays which he should see more of in Indiana’s offense.

The one troubling area here is his lack of effectiveness in the pick and roll. Although this is not a large part of the Pacer’s offense, it would be nice to see some improvement in this area next season. Watching video of these possessions on Synergy, Collison seems to suffer from a lack of patience, often making his move before the screener is completely set. It’s difficult to project much change next season, as none of the Pacers’ front court players, other than Jeff Foster, can be considered accomplished or experienced setting screens.

In addition Collison’s problems with turnovers are obvious across possession type. Hopefully, a year of experience and the confidence his success in New Orleans built will allow Collison to play a more calm and under control offensive game next season.

He goes on to talk about Darren’s shot selection, finishing ability at the cup and defense.

Tom Lewis, also of Indy Cornrows, has some nice insight of his own in another post on the trade.

Darren Collison is a young and vibrant point guard who instantly energizes the backcourt and fits in well with the other young core pieces the Pacers have assembled.

Plus, the risk on Collison is minimal since he has three years remaining on his rookie contract. If things work out as planned, he’s extremely valuable from a production per dollar view. If the worst case situation plays out and Collison doesn’t pan out, his minimal salary doesn’t become an anchor on the salary cap for the Pacers to move on.

Mike Wells also tracked down Larry Bird to get his thoughts on the move.

“Obviously, we got the point guard we’ve been look for a while, and I think we got a good one,” Bird said.

Bird said he didn’t get frustrated as the point guards went off the market via trades and free agency.

“Believe it or not, I’m pretty patient,” he said. “With all the conversations we had with other teams, you never know if anything is going to materialize but the one thing about it is I’ve been very patient.

“I know this is a process and I’m going to do exactly what I said I’m going to do … I know a lot of people get frustrated at times, but you have to be patient in this situation.”

That was definitely the best part about the deal from my perspective. The Pacers have been sitting on their hands for a long, long time now waiting for burdensome salaries to become less so. Next summer is when true flexibility will open up, but even now, the team is starting to gain some wiggle room to change things for the better.

In similar situations, we have seen many GMs make a move just to make a move. It wasn’t targeted; it was just an opportunity that they jumped on cause they could. And it worked out poorly. (See Corey Maggette’s GSW deal, the Suns trading for Shaq and thousands of franchise-altering mistakes over the past decade.)

So far, Larry has not done that. The team needed a point guard. He waited out all the 2010 free agency madness, found an inexpensive guy with a lot of upside who he expects to succeed and made a very reasonable deal to acquire him.

And the best part?

He’s not done.

“We’re not done with the summer,” Bird said. “We’ve got some work to do…We’ll take it a piece at a time. We’ve got expiring contracts, some veterans here. It’s just a piece at a time. We’re going to get this job done and we’re going to do it on time.”

Next up … a power forward.

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