Analyzing Darren Collison’s 21 games this season
After missing the first eight games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension, Darren Collison has been that consistent third scorer the Kings were desperately looking for to play alongside DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay this season.
When the Kings received word of Collison’s domestic violence case in the offseason, the team knew that another point guard signing was necessary. Not knowing the immediate repercussions or suspension that the NBA was going to hand out, Sacramento explored free agency and signed Ty Lawson.
Although Lawson was not the most premiere signee in what could replace Collison’s 14 points a game from last season, he was the best available point guard on the market at the time. Adding Lawson to the roster allowed coach Dave Joerger to have some flexibility at point guard.
In his third year in with the Kings, Collison has proven himself as a starting point guard in the league. Not being the number one guy at point in his previous four teams, Collison has proved that he is able to control the tempo of a game and get his teammates settled into the offense here in Sacramento.
Collison averaged a career best 16.1 points per game in his first year with the Kings (14’-15’) and saw improvements in certain areas in his second season as well. In Collison’s second season, he averaged 14 points per game while playing 30 minutes a game, which was down four minutes from the previous season.
But his offensive efficiency improved from the year prior by shooting 49 percent from the field, 40 percent from beyond the arc and 85 percent from the charity stripe.
With the domestic battery case behind him, Collison has improved with each game and is trying to be as efficient as he was last season. Currently, he is averaging 12.5 points per game, making that third best on the roster. Collison’s contributions and efforts do not go unnoticed, as Sacramento’s overall play is much better when Collison is in the lineup.
Collison’s ability to take care of the basketball and orchestrate an offense is his biggest attribute resulting in increased possessions and points.
With Collison in the lineup, the Kings average 104.1 points per game compared to 98.1 points per game when he is not. The Kings average 100.2 possessions a game and when he is out, they average 96.7.
Not only is the offense more effective with Collison on the court, Sacramento’s defensive efficiency skyrockets with him in the lineup. With Collison, the Kings steals per game increases from 6.5 to 8.8 per game. Collison has proved that he is quick enough to stay with any guard in the league, resulting in key victories against teams such as (Toronto, Oklahoma City, Portland, Memphis).
Collison’s ability to convert good defense into offense is what serves as one of his most viable traits for the Kings. Collison improves Sacramento’s fast break and transition opportunities tremendously by his cool, calm and collective attitude when gathering his team on a possession.
With Collison in the lineup, the Kings points off turnovers sits at 20 points per game, which is almost a fifth of the total point average the Kings score with him. With Collison out of the lineup, the Kings points off turnovers slips to 15.5 points per game, which could easily be fixed with a cool persona at the point.
Coach Joerger’s trust in Collison is very apparent, as he is the most played guard on the team at 29.9 minutes per game. Despite having a 14.8 player efficiency rating, which is his worst in the last five seasons, Joerger trusts Collison’s capability to run his offense.
As the season progresses, Collison’s role will continue to grow and his scoring will need to go back up to a minimum of 15 points a night if they plan on making a push for the playoffs. The recent outstanding performances from Lawson gives Collison the veteran competitor he needs to insure that the flame doesn’t burn to early during the course of an 82-game season.