KnickerBlogger: Mardy Collins’ first season was almost a disaster. As late as mid-February it seemed as if Collins would be remembered as a seldom used rookie that triggered the fight with the Nuggets. However injuries down the stretch ravaged the Knicks backcourt, and Collins was thrown into the fire. He was the starting point guard for the Knicks last 9 games, averaging 44 minutes per game in that stint. The 6-6 guard earns his keep on defense, where his size allows him to defend both point guards and shooting guards. Collins was second on the team with 1.6 steals per 40 minutes, and was the best rebounding guard, grabbing 5.4 rebounds per 40 minutes. According to 82games, the Knicks were 2.5 points per 100 possessions better on defense with Collins on the floor.
Unfortunately that’s where the positives end. Mardy Collins is a poor shooter. His shooting percentages (41% eFG, 44.5% TS%, 27.7% 3P%, and 58% FT%) were dreadful for a guard. Collins is able to run the offense, but the problem is when the ball comes back to a wide open Mardy who is unable to connect from outside. Additionally he was a bit careless with the ball, as Collins turned the ball over 2.9 times per 40 minutes, which is too high for a player that scores only 12.1 points per 40 minutes. Turnover rates are usually higher for rookie point guards trying to adjust to NBA offenses, so it’s something that’s likely to improve as he matures.
KnickerBlogger’s Grade: C
2008 Outlook: Like Collins’ draftmate Renaldo Balkman, Collins is a strong defender who struggles in the half court set. His three point percentage is almost passable, but he wasn’t a strong bombardier in college (29%), so it’s unclear if he can actually develop that shot in the NBA. Collins’ poor free throw shooting doesn’t bode well for his potential to develop a midrange shot. Like Balkman, if Collins can’t find a way to contribute on offense he’ll be nothing more than a bench player for the remainder of his career. Being the Knicks’ best defensive guard, he does have value in that capacity. Unless Isiah makes a big shake-up at either guard position, Collins will likely find time as a part time defender and injury substitute.
Michael Zannettis: The hope of developing a jump shot seems to me to be the holy grail of basketball player development. Off the top of my head I’m hard pressed to think of one productive professional athlete who entered the league incompetent at shooting, then developed a reliable game. As such, I’m fairly down on Collins. It’s not like his athleticism shoots through the roof. That being said, can anyone think of a poor shooter when they entered the NBA that then developed their shooting skills?
Brian Cronin: If you want to know why we won’t love him so – it’s there in his misses!
(Is it in his D?)
Oh no! You need to see!
(Is it in his size?)
Oh no! You make believe!
If you wanna know
Why we won’t love him so
Its in his misses
(That’s where it is!)
Seriously, Collins’ problem is just extremely straightforward. The guy doesn’t have an outside shot. Imagine if he DID, though? How awesome would he be? Good defender, nice size for a guard, if he could shoot, he’d have the total package.
As it is, Collins had a month of counting stats convince a lot of sportswriters that he was actually a good player. At the moment, he is not. And since, as Michael mentions, it is unlikely that he will suddenly become a good shooter, Collins is probably never going to be more than a good defensive back-up guard. That, to me, is worth a C, so I agree with KB’s grade.