Darren Collison vs. George Hill

A few weeks before the playoffs Geroge Hill got the chance to start at point guard due to an injury to Darren Collison. George Hill played well enough that Frank Vogel declared him starter the rest of the way. A few were questioning the decision to tamper with the lineup right before the playoffs but the decision has proven to be worthy and is a good fit for both players.

Collison and Hill are both point guards but they are very different players. Collison is more of a pure point guard (he was on the same team as Chris Paul, remember, coincidence? I think not), Hill is a score-first point guard; Collison is great defensively, Hill struggles on the pick and roll (Hill isn’t horrible defensively but he’s nowhere near the level of DC); Collison scores more by driving to the basket, Hill scores more by spotting up.

George Hill has taken full advantage of getting the nod as the starting point guard. During the regular season he averaged 8.7 points per game when coming off the bench. In the playoffs so far he has bounced that up to 14.5 per game. That’s almost 4 points more than Darren Collison was giving you as a starter (10.8 per game).

But Darren Collison hasn’t just given up while coming off the bench, he’s been even better as a bench player than Hill was. In fact, Collison has been much better coming off the bench than he was as a starter. In the playoffs he’s nearly equaled his points per game as a starter (10.8 as a starter, 8.4 off the bench). Also in the playoffs he’s made a major leap in points per 48 minutes; 16.2 as a starter during the regular season and a crazy jump to 21.9 in the playoffs.

As George Hill has been the better scorer during the playoffs, Darren Collison has been the better field general (like I mentioned earlier, he’s a better pure point guard). George Hill is only supplying 2.8 assists per game while Collison has 3.6 despite averaging more than 10 minutes less than Hill. Collison is also 6th in the playoffs (minimum of 15 minutes per game) in assists per 48 minutes with 9.5.

While I’ve just thrown a bunch of stats at you the main difference is something that can’t be measured by statistics. Darren Collison brings a boat load of energy off the bench, something that George Hill didn’t supply as much. Sure George Hill was a good bench scorer and is an even better scorer as a starter but one of the main things teams look for in bench players is energy, which Darren Collison is great at. The second he enters the game the defense intensifies and he plays lock down D on the other team’s ball handler. This energy is infectious (one of the reasons bench energy is so important) and inspires his other teammates to put in the extra effort. (Also, on a totally unrelated topic about Lance Stephenson’s choke gesture Vogel said ” But I fully support the energy he brings from the bench. That’s what I want from my bench, bringing enthusiasm.”)

So there may still be people who question Vogel’s decision but, hey, it’s worked out great in more ways than one. As Vogel said when he made the decision, they’re both top ten point guards (arguable) which is a good problem to have.

Tags: Darren Collison George Hill

  • Macho Man Randy

    I have to disagree with the fact that Collison is better defensively than Hill. I think that Hill is much better due in large part to him just being “thicker” than DC. I thought that was one of the reasons Hill was able to lock down the starting job for the last stretch of the regular season and the playoffs. While looking lost his first couple of games, Collison has come out and been a monster both running the team and defensively so I am happy it seems coming off the bench lit a fire under him, but I still consider Hill to be the guy that needs to start just to add another punch out their with the starters.

  • tom cox

    The advantage in this present scenario for Collison though…he’s cat-like quick. Coming off the bench to defend starting point guard who has already played 7-10 minutes> advantage Collison, both offensively and defensively. Hill doesn’t carry that same advantage off the bench.

  • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com JT’s Hoops Blog

    Hill is more of a shoot first PG, but whatever works, right? I never really liked Collison. He never seemed as much of a facilitator as his assist numbers are rather weak for a starting PG (just 4.8 per game).

  • dwain

    DC has been a huge asset coming off the bench, but i still hate his dribble away the clock propensity and the terrible passing he still seems to deliver. I have never seen him do a real pick and roll pass, and Hill makes some great passes down low to the bigs or anyone cutting and open. it may be Hill’s size compared to DC, he can simply see the openings better.
    while Hill has slow stretches as a play runner(and they hurt) he never seems to be as lost as DC gets at times, he always knows he can get a shot. granted at times DC comes in on fire and drives the lane and makes some great shots, but that hesitation of his…like i am not sure i am good enough to do this…leaving the ball short on the rim time after time. i think i am happy the way things are now, to ride this set up through the playoffs and hope in the off season Larry sees fit to find us a stellar point guard, allowing Hill to drop to his normal slot(where he is killer) and let DC come off the bench to fill in. i still see Nash as the best fit for this team, West and Nash together will put these guys in the late rounds of the playoffs, mentoring DC, Hibbert, and Paul George into the stars they really can be. Roy will add 10 points to his game once Nash groks his skill and teaches him how to take an excellent pass down low…and delivers it.

  • PG

    Yea, sorry Avi, but you are way off point about Collison’s defensive skills. He’s very quick, but he can’t even use that quickness to stay in front of penetrating guards. He also just isn’t able to body anyone up, largely due to his small stature. Hill is great at positioning his body to make the offensive player he’s guarding uncomfortable. He’s not a stellar defender but he works hard and he positions himself much better than Collison. The next time I see Collison fight through a tough screen will be the first.

    As for the their court vision, Collison does have an edge in finding creases, but unfortunately he’s just not a very adept passer. When he comes off of screens he’s got the screener/roller open more often than not, but he just can’t figure out a way to get him the ball. That’s the reason he takes so many mid-range pull up jumpers. If he’s hitting those (which he’s been doing at a pretty good clip lately) it’s fine, but he needs to do a better job of getting the big man the ball while he’s rolling to the paint.

  • …Nnnnope!

    I have to disagree with the whole premise period. It falls flat is all areas in my opinion. Yes Collison has been good as of late and actually even last year has show a propensity to step up with the right competitive energy in the playoffs, but it isn’t close to compare the two. I agree they are both starters on any team but Hill possesses a number of superior talents in comparison to Collison. First being able to comfortably play both guard positions with a rhythm and gets all starters involved. Look how many times the starting lineup has lead after the first quarter. I can remember countless times when Collision was the starter and the starting line up would be down big after the first only for the bench to bring this back. We use to always get off to bad starts. Secondly, Hill is clearly the better passer, on the pick and roll and getting the ball in the paint. His wingspan allows him to recover easier and sneak in a hand or two on a opposing slasher to the basket. He’s a better three point and mid range shooter and can get to the basket just the same. His frame allows him to finish at the rim. Remember this guard was not too far removed from guarding Kobe, Durant, even Dirk at times in San Antonio. Battling Parker and Ginobli in practice daily. His poise in big games is obvious and of course not perfect he can at times have lapses but all in all George Hill stays in control mostly through all 4 quarters. He’s usually not going to hurt you in the plus/minus. His brings most dynamics to the position. A true combo guard. I don’t see Collision being the better bench player. I just think one is better than the other and cant compare the two. Collision is a good point guard but I can argue even Hill being the best pure guard out of the two because all I mentioned above. He kind of reminds me of Gary Payton. Whatever the case. I think the floor general argument has resolved when Vogel placed Hill as the starter. He runs that offense well.

  • Avi Friedman

    @nnnoppe! This article isn’t really about comparing DC and Hill it’s more a look back on whether it was a good decision to start Hill over DC, which I think it was a great decision.
    Yes Hill is a much better starter but DC is averaging more points off the bench than Hill was (per 48 min).
    While Hill definitely has better passing skills, DC has a better feel for the court and finds team mates better than Hill. DC is averaging 3.6 assists this playoffs compared to Hill’s 2.8, despite playing 10 minutes less per game.

  • Avi, you kidding?

    DC is “great” defensively? He’s not bad, but to call him “great” and imply he is a considerable defense upgrade over hill is strange. Please justify this point. Give us a few stats or anecdotes to illustrate that DC is “great” defensively.

  • Avi Friedman

    Well defense isn’t something really you can base off stats but for what it’s worth DC’s defensive rating was 95 compared to Hill’s 105 this past season.

  • NoLookPass

    The reason DC is doing better on the bench than Hill did is because we shorten the bench and by doing so others don’t shoot as much so he’s taken more shots than he did as a starter. Tyler got 7.3 FG a game with tons of FT but come playoffs he at 4.4 a game with next to no FTA and most of that 4.4 was due to 9 shots in game one as its just 3.7 FGA and 1.0 FTA since.

    When Hill was on the bench he had to share shots with Tyler come playoffs Tyler has been put on the back burner. Hill took 7.0 shots a game in 23:53 off the bench this year while DC is at 6.75 shots a game in 18.3 min per game with that is drug down with a 2 shot game. So in the other 7 games he’s taking 7.43 shots a game in far less time than Hill played in same role.

  • RehmelJL

    Hill is LIGHT years better than DC defensively. No clue what you are smoking, but you need to stop. Collison gets used by bigger PGs and left in the dirt by many smaller but quicker guards. I like Collison, has played great off the bench, but you have to want to believe he is a good defensive player. Data doesn’t make that argument for you.

  • RehmelJL

    And I’m HIGHLY skeptical about “defensive ratings”. I think most of the numbers that used to prove points are simply reorganized descriptive statistics that really do not mean what they are intended to. I work with statistics on a daily basis, that isn’t some random opinion.

    Bottom line: I’ve watched Collison and Hill play all year and have witnessed Hill play better than Collison all year. Collison has played well recently in limited minutes, not a coincidence.

  • Realist

    DC gets a raw deal – he was the one who piloted this team to earlier season wins such as @LAL, @DAL, @CHI etc. BUT, I think we’re all fine with how this has turned out – with Hill as the starter now.

    Either way, they’re both capable of beating Mario Chalmers, which is the main thing. And I love seeing DC come off the bench and bust his gut with that Avery-Bradley-type defensive effort. We’re gonna need every bit of it against Rondo/Westbrook/Parker if we go anywhere with this thing.

    Who’s as nervous as ever about Game 4? *raises hand* GO INDY


  • Realist

    Oh, and they’re both nowhere near the top 10 in this currently point guard heavy league, but that’s just Vogel being Vogel, and we love it. =)

    [ Paul, Rose, Williams]
    [ Westbrook, Rondo, Parker, Nash ]
    [ Lin, Lawson, Wall, Irving, Rubio, Lowry, Conley, Kidd, Curry ] etc… and then maybe, maybe they figure into the discussion? Meh, no big deal. (Although I’m sure there’s plenty who would take Hill over a few of those guys, but not many)

  • Realist Guard list

    I like the list but i would take Hill right aft Nash maybe after Lawson. Its crazy how a 13 game burst can place Lin so high. His was exposed before his injury. He will be exposed next year again. Kidd and Nash too old but I give them the edge for their veteran savvy especially Nash. Hill is top ten if not knocking at the door at 11.