Darren Collison was the guy. Indiana needed an up-tempo point guard to run Jim O’Brien’s up-tempo offense, so they went out and got the highly-coveted Collison out of New Orleans.
Except that during crunch time, T.J. Ford has been getting the minutes for the Pacers. Against the Hawks last Friday A.J. Price was the guy getting run. Pacers coach Jim O’Brien told the Indianapolis Star why that was.
“I thought our best chance of coming back was with A.J. in the game because he spaces the court, he shoots the 3 and he also needed playing time,” O’Brien said. “I also think he did a nice job.”
So far this season Collison is shooting 41.4 percent from three, Price 25 percent. I understand trying to get Price some run — he has earned it with his play — and he did help cut the Hawks’ lead in half at times. But when that run falters you need your best playmakers on the floor. Your best players finish games and Collison has sat. That has left Collison confused and unhappy.
“I don’t know why I didn’t play,” said Collison, who has started all 19 games he’s appeared in. “I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough. Right now, I’m not used to it. It is what it is.”
The Pacers have slowed it down some — by about 2.5 possessions per game this season — and in the half court Ford has some veteran savvy with execution. He is a little bit better defender than Collison.
Look at the five man rotations and you see that Collison does better with the regular starters (Mike Dunleavy, Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts and Roy Hibbert) but substitute Rush for Dunleavy (as O’Brien has done a lot recently) and Ford becomes the much better fit (by 16 points per 48 minutes).
Still the Pacers rotations seem to be a mix and match, which makes it hard to grasp a real identity for this team. They are better — Hibbert has made a huge leap — but we’ll see. Four games this week against the league’s elite will tell us a lot about just where they stand.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.
CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.
“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”
Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.
“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”
The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.
Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.