Collison 1-On-1: 'Quarterbacking' The Mavs
"I'm not trying to replace Jason Kidd," says Darren Collison, but of course, he's fibbing politely.
That is exactly what Collison is trying to do as he joins the Dallas Mavericks following a steal of a deal that brings him to town on the final year of his deal (along with Dahntay Jones) in a sign-and-trade for Ian Mahinmi to Indy. In terms of style, pace and skill set, DC might be superior or inferior to Kidd -- all that is yet to unfold, obviously -- but he IS trying to replace the future Hall-of-Famer Kidd.
He's simply being respectful as he goes about the process -- so much so that he's decided to wear jersey No. 4 rather than stick with his familiar No. 2 ... thus not trampling on the legend of Kidd, the last guy to wear No. 2 in Dallas, where he helped lead the Mavs to their first title.
"He was a great player for this organization, but I just plan to be myself,'' says Collison of Kidd, who jumped ship to the Knicks. "I was brought here for a reason. Some of the things that I want to bring are an up-tempo style, energy, defense, and whatever I can do to help out these guys."
And now we're talkin' -- as we do with Collison in our 1-on-1 DB.com Video Visit:
We're glad to hear DC talk about "flow''; it's a great part of coach Rick Carlisle's arsenal, and all it takes to run it is for the point guard to have earned the coach's faith. Collison is an offensive weapon -- the career 37-percent shooting from the arc speaks to that -- but he's also a quality decision-maker as a point guard.
Where has he fallen short in his early NBA career? Mostly, there's always been a PG on his team who is either superior to him (Chris Paul in New Orleans) or viewed as such for whatever reason (George Hill in Indy, the infatuation with him being such that the Pacers viewed Collison as expendable.
"I have a chip on my shoulder," says Collison. "I can't wait to play, to play the first game. I have a lot to prove to myself about who I am as a player. ... I have a lot to prove right now."
The chip-on-the-shoulder motivational tool is difficult to sustain. Bowing at the feet of greats? That's got to go, too, as Collison's job is now to beat Kidd and Paul and other PGs who are in his way. Really, all Collison has to do for Dallas is to match what he's traditionally done against the Mavs: When Collison was a rookie, his three-game averages against Dallas were 17.7 points, three rebounds, 4.3 assists, three turnovers and two steals. His totals against the Mavs, career: 15.9 points, 46.4 percent shooting, 3.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.3 turnovers and 1.7 steals.
He was a young leader on a young Hornets team that wasn't very good. He was a key contributor to a young Pacers team that is on the rise. Now he's going to be relied upon by Carlisle to be part of the glue that brings old and new together in Dallas.
"I've been on some different teams that always played hard,'' Collison says. "But some of those didn't have the experience. That's the difference between this team and other teams I've been on. We have the experience and we have the talent.''
And now it's a team that just needs a quarterback.
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