When I first heard the news of this signing, two things entered my heard. One, that Isaiah Thomas was done as a member of the Kings. And two, that Darren Collison was going to be playing in a non-Chris Paul styled offense. That second thought had down on Collison as a fantasy prospect.
Collison was drafted as a first-round pick of the then-New Orleans Hornets in 2009 and was one of the stars of the fantasy season, filling in as the starter for an injured Chris Paul, putting up big, big numbers in his first year in the league. He almost single-handedly won my fantasy league that year, scooping him off the waiver-wire when Paul went down. With Paul healthy, Collison was traded to the Pacers at the end of that season and he became the starting point guard. The general perception, mine included, was that Collison sucked as a starter — both in Indiana and when he was subsequently traded to the Mavericks in 2012. BUt upon looking over the numbers, he has actually been fairly consistent throughout his stints as a starter or as Paul’s backup, either in New Orleans or Los Angeles. Let’s take a look at the numbers Collison put up last season, as the backup point guard, but also having stints starting at both guard slots due to injury.
For a guy who averaged under 30 minutes a game, it’s mighty impressive that Collison was almost a top 100 player. If you factor in how he played when Paul was missing throughout January, he was probably a top 60 guy during that stretch. His value, as it has done throughout his career, came from assists, steals, free throw percentage and his low turnover rate.
The Kings signed Collison at a reasonable price — a reported $16 million over three years and it’s been reported that they brought him in to be the starter. How does this effect his fantasy value? Well, first thing to look at is his playing time. When he was last the starter in Dallas and Indiana, he averaged 29, 31 and 30 minutes per game, so I’d be expecting him to play around 31-32 minutes in Sacramento, with Ray McCallum backing him up.
Sacramento and the Clippers both played at a high pace last season, so there won’t be much of a change from that perspective and I can see the extra minutes bringing his stat line to look something like this
If Collison was able to post stats in that range, he’d be a top 100 player, someone you’d look to target in the ninth or tenth round. Of course, all of this changes if for some reason Sacramento brings back Thomas, but that seems a long shot at this stage.