Darren Collison was supposed to be Jason Kidd’s replacement as the Dallas Mavericks’ point guard. And it looked like the Mavs made the right call after they traded Ian Mahinmi to the Pacers for this speedster; he averaged 16.2 points and 7.2 assists in his first five games. During that stretch, the Mavs went 4-1. It was an early pleasant surprise for Dallas.
It hasn’t been pleasant since then. He had shooting performances of 2-10, 3-10, 2-11, and 1-10 in four of six games. In those games, the Mavs went 1-3. Coach Rick Carlisle had seen enough of his erratic play and horrible shooting; he moved Collison to the bench on the next game, which was Tuesday against the Sixers. Collison performed well then and had 12 points, six assists, and five steals. The Mavericks didn’t win the game but it was an encouraging performance by Collison.
Still, when the Mavs signed Derek Fisher, it wasn’t to back up the former UCLA Bruin. Fisher was going to start over Collison because Rick Carlisle believes that Collison can learn a lot from playing point guard under Fisher’s mentoring.
Darren Collison doesn’t think this is fair. From Jeff Caplan of NBA.Com’s Hang Time Blog:
Collison, benched Tuesday night after 14 games, said he didn’t receive a fair shot as the Dallas Mavericks’ starting point guard.
“I don’t think so, and we all know that; my teammates, they feel the same way, everybody feels the same way,” Collison said prior to Saturday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons. He made his first appearance midway through the first quarter and finished with five points and eight assists in 27 minutes.
“But, at the end of the day, coach, he makes the decision,” Collison said. “There’s nothing you can do about it but go out there and do your job.”
Meanwhile, Fisher did start at point guard against Detroit on Saturday. He shot 1-8 for two points and had three assists while turning the ball over three times. Collison didn’t turn the ball over once.
That was great mentoring, Fisher.
Look, I get that Derek Fisher is a great leader and all but Collison is right. As he said in the article, let him go through the growing pains of being a starting point guard. Fisher, at this point, has little to offer other than clutch three-point shooting and guarding players in tight spaces. And that has to be in limited minutes because he’s 38 years old. I didn’t like the signing then and I don’t like the signing now. Maybe Collison is better served off as a back-up point guard in this league but I’d like to, at least, see him get a fair shot as an NBA starter.
In the end, though, Carlisle makes the decision. And it looks like Collison will be the back-up to the five-time champion Fisher. At the very least, Collison can earn the playing time by putting on a good performance. Sometimes, it’s not how you start but how you finish.
Collison is averaging 12.4 points and 6.4 assists per game. Off the bench, he’s averaging 8.5 points and 7.0 assists in two contests.