As the Sacramento Kings return to the Golden One Center following a five game east-coast road trip, they will have the services of point guard Darren Collison who will be returning from an eight game suspension for a domestic violence issue over the summer.
There is no arguing that the Kings have struggled offensively without the seven-year veteran in their lineup. However, although his scoring is certainly needed, it is in the best interest of the Kings to have Collison provide his production off the bench.
It is important to note that starting a game and finishing it are two very different things. While it is most common to see players in a team’s starting lineup on the court at the end of games, many teams will use a 6th or 7th option if the opportunity presents itself.
That being said, Collison should and will be the one on the floor to close out games for the Sacramento Kings. But he can do that just fine without starting.
Is Collison a better player than Ty Lawson? Yes. Is he much more versatile as a point guard than Lawson? Yes. Is he a better scorer? Absolutely. And that’s why he should be coming off of the bench to start the game.
While his numbers won’t blow you away, Lawson has been a bright spot for the Sacramento Kings through their first eight games of the season (with the exception of his horrible performance in Atlanta).
No, his shooting numbers aren’t fantastic, but the Kings don’t need them to be when he is a part of the starting unit. The ball goes through the hands of DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, and even Arron Afflalo before Lawson puts up a shot. Where he has been good is using his speed to break down defenses and give those three teammates good looks at the basket.
This season, Lawson is averaging just shy of seven assists a night. Along with a steal and six points, the 5-foot-11 point guard does enough to remain the starter. But again, that does not solidify his spot as the “best” point guard on the roster. He certainly can be on any given night, but expect Collison to be the one with the bigger chunk of minutes, despite coming off the bench.
Collison is a scoring guard. He always has been. Sure he is capable of running an offense, and has good skill as a distributer, but scoring the ball has always been his forte. Which is great, because that’s what the Kings need, especially in that 2nd unit.
With the starters, Collison is at best the 3rd scoring option. With the bench unit, he is right at the top. Moving Garrett Temple to the shooting guard position, where both Temple and head coach Dave Joerger say he is more comfortable, gives Collison a lot of room to work.
Therefore, make him the leader of that 2nd unit. Alongside Temple, Matt Barnes, Anthony Tolliver and either Omri Casspi or Willie Cauley-Stein, Collison can be the difference by bringing in more scoring without sacrificing defense.
Last season in his 59 games coming off the bench, he shot 49 percent from the field, the highest shooting percentage of his career as a King. As long as he takes care of the basketball and is not a defensive liability, he will find himself as the go-to guard in crunch time.
Fans and even players are so infatuated with the concept of being a starter in the NBA. Yet all it guarantees is that you will be on the floor for tip off and your name will show up on the jumbo-tron during the pre-game festivities.
It’s basically meaningless when it comes to the game itself. Collison is both smart and humble enough to recognize how effective he can be as the 6th man for the Sacramento Kings. It’s up to coach Joerger to implement him properly into the system. We will get our first glimpse tomorrow night against New Orleans.