best counter

Your Ad Here
Just The Sports: Let's Just Wait And See

Just The Sports

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Let's Just Wait And See

Our expectations color the way in which we watch sports and perceive a player's worth or talent level. We, as humans, also have a tendency to overvalue the accuracy of our expectations and overly punish a player who falls short of our expectations while overly rewarding a player who exceeds them. Such a phenomenon is especially common in the way in which we regard players who have just been drafted. Even though everyone realizes that when a player is selected in a draft has little bearing on the course of his career, we still fall prey to such a logical fallacy of thinking simply because a player is drafted high, he will be greater than a player who is drafted lower. Therefore, when the player who was drafted lower ends up having a better than expected season, we want so much to correct our original hypothesis about the player's worth that we end up overrating him. This is what happened with everyone's perception of Darren Collison.

No one really thought much of Darren Collison leading up the 2009 NBA draft. Collison stayed four years at UCLA and played very well, but since UCLA struggled a bit his senior year, losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament, after going to three successive Final Fours, he fell off of most people's radars and ending up being selected twenty-first overall in the draft and the tenth point guard drafted.

Then Chris Paul suffered multiple injuries during the 2009-10 season, missing thirty-seven games, and Collison performed better than most people expected him to in Paul's stead. Collison's unexpected exploits led a majority to opine that should the Hornets ever lose Paul to free agency or a trade, then Collison would be able to step in and the Hornets would not miss a beat. Those people are grossly incorrect as it stands right now.

For everything positive Collison did on the court for the Hornets last season, there is one important thing he failed to do, which was to equal Chris Paul's overall rookie numbers. Looking only at the thirty-seven games in which Paul did not play, it is obvious Collison has a lot of work to do if he wants to follow the track of an elite point guard like Paul. Where he does already equal Paul, though, is in shooting prowess. Collison's 56.0% true shooting percentage is slightly better than the 54.6% true shooting percentage Paul shot as a rookie. However, there is more to being a point guard than the ability to shoot; a point guard must also distribute the ball to his teammates while avoiding turnovers.

In the ballhandling categories, Paul is clearly Collison's superior. Paul put up an assist percentage of 38.2 and a turnover percentage of 13.7 his rookie year for a ratio of almost three to one (2.8:1); Collison's assist percentage of 35.5 and turnover percentage of 19.6 leave him with a ratio that is not even two to one (1.8:1). The fact that Collison is lagging behind Paul now does not bode well for his future since Paul has only improved his assist to turnover percentages ratio to otherworldly numbers. Before we anoint Collison as Paul's successor, we should wait to see if he can make the same leap in his own ballhandling abilities.

Paul also bettered Collison in rebounding and steals. His rookie rebounding percentage of 8.5 and his steal percentage of 3.4 far surpass Collison's more meager 5.2 rebounding percentage and 1.9 steal percentage, making Collison the inferior defensive player in addition to being an inferior offensive player.

While Collison has proven himself adept at being a scoring point guard, he still has improvement he needs to make in other areas if he will ever be truly worthy of all the praise that has been heaped upon him. Everyone should exercise patience with him and wait to see where his career path takes him. Collison may already be better than several other starting point guards in the NBA, but he should not be mentioned as being one of the top point guards in the league, especially not as being on par with Chris Paul.



Post a Comment

<< Home