The Washington Wizards' quest to find a backup point guard rolls on. The team already reached out to Portland's Eric Maynor earlier Monday, and they're also reportedly looking at Orlando's Beno Udrih and Toronto's John Lucas III. Now, you can add another intriguing name to the list: former Mavericks point guard Darren Collison.
Count the #wizards among the teams that have expressed an interest in PG Darren Collison.— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) July 1, 2013
However, in a blog post, Lee noted that Collison is "likely" out of Washington's price range.
Collison was once one of the league's rising young point guards after a sparkling debut season in New Orleans, but his career has fallen off the rails since. New Orleans dealt him to Indiana after that season, where he stagnated for two years before losing his starting spot to George Hill in 2011-12. Collison was actually fantastic off the bench in the 2012 playoffs, but he wanted to start, so the Pacers traded him to the Mavericks for Ian Mahinmi.
However, Collison put together a poor 2012-13 season, losing his starting job to the immortal Mike James in large part because of his inability to run crunch-time offense or get the ball to Dirk Nowitzki properly. This blurb from Mavs Moneyball's player grades describes the frustration Dallas fans had with him.
As excellent and prevalent as statistics have become in the NBA, this is one example where they don't tell the whole story. Just looking at his statline, Darren Collison was an average to slightly above average starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. He shot well from the field and was capable behind the line, and though his assist-to-turnover ratio was lower than you'd like from a starting point guard, he kept it over 2-to-1. His PER of 16.3 seemed to mostly validate this analysis.
But what the statistics don't show is that Collison played a dumb brand of basketball -- ESPECIALLY in the fourth quarter of close games. After watching Jason Kidd play the position for five years, the drop-off was so painful it hurt to watch.
Occasionally throughout the season, we would see comments from national writers wondering why Collison seemed to lack Carlisle's trust. Watching the games, the problem was that Collison wasn't a steady hand.
Of course, that disappointment was weighed against expectations that Collison would be a starter-level player. As a backup, his strengths may make him too tough to pass up.
It's hard to figure out what Collison's price would be, though. Can the Wizards split the mid-level exception between Collison and Martell Webster? That would be possible, maybe, but ambitious, depending on how low Collison's value is around the league. Marcus Thompson of the Contra Coast Times reports the Warriors are looking at Collison for the mini mid-level exception of three years and $9.97 million as a backup plan if they can't afford Jarrett Jack, and even that seems cheap.
But hey, you never know until you ask. If Collison can come cheaply, he could bring a lot to the table as a second-string point guard.