Pacers Season Reviews: Darren Collison

Darren Collison of the Indiana Pacers
Darren Collison of the Indiana Pacers /
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Darren Collison of the Indiana Pacers
Darren Collison of the Indiana Pacers /

Darren Collison continued as an important factor in the Indiana Pacers offense and was a major contributor in the absence of Victor Oladipo.

October marked the beginning of Darren Collison‘s fourth season, over two stints, with the Indiana Pacers. At 32 years of age, he came into training camp as the oldest player on the roster and a veteran presence for the team’s young core. It was a vastly different outlook than his first spell with the Pacers, which came during the second and third seasons.

He was coming off the best season of his career, nearly missing the 50-40-90 club in 2017-18. His 46.8% shooting from three-point range last season was the best mark in the league. He shot an efficient 49.5% from the floor while also averaging the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the NBA.

Collison’s game changed over the years he was in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. Barely over sixteen percent of his shot attempts were three-pointers when he played here initially, as opposed to 30.8% of his attempts being threes over the previous two seasons.

In 2011, it was pretty common to see him drive into the lane after a screen for a layup. Now, you’re much more likely to see him take the open fifteen-foot jumper, or pass the ball out while attempting to run to an open spot.

While his shooting numbers weren’t as hot as his season, Collison remained a good shooter from the perimeter this year. He averaged 11.2 points per game, shooting 46.7% overall and 40.7% from deep. His six assists per game were the highest in his career, as well. His offensive role changed a bit, but he took it in stride.

The pairing of the Pacers starting point and Victor Oladipo was a nice combination. Each guard is above average at passing and can create their own shot off the dribble. Collison’s ability to do both was amplified when Oladipo wasn’t on the court. Given the underwhelming play of Tyreke Evans, Darren’s awareness was a major factor in creating shot attempts for himself and his teammates.

In many cases, Collison would be taken off the floor and the team would struggle to score. Joseph and Holiday were both solid guards in the rotation, but neither were considered reliable to score off the bench when the offense had become stagnant. Even when the statistics are inflated to per-36 minutes and per-100 possessions, Darren’s assist numbers are still marginally better. Simply put, he was the best option to handle the ball without Victor Oladipo on the floor.

Let’s look closer at his season.