Ryan Hollins

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings

Report: Ryan Hollins receiving interest from Kings, Wizards, Clippers

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Two seasons ago, Ryan Hollins played a limited role as a backup center for the Clippers, and when Doc Rivers got the chance to upgrade to Glen Davis he jumped at it and gave Big Baby more minutes. Last season, Hollins was an end of the bench center for the Sacramento Kings, a team that went out this summer and added Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein to the front line. Hollins didn’t play 500 minutes total for either team the last two years.

He’s an end-of-the-bench big in the NBA, but this is the time of year teams round out the end of the bench. So there is some interest, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

As noted, the Kings are now relatively deep up front, especially with new coach George Karl wanting to go smaller at times with Rudy Gay at the four. The Clippers have a pretty stocked front line as well (and 14 guys under contract) but they are apparently still thinking about a big as they have talked to Big Baby’s people as well. The Wizards may be looking for depth after Kevin Seraphin left, but they also will likely play smaller this year with Otto Porter and Jared Dudley getting time at the four behind Nene.

Hollins certainly can work as a backup NBA center, but he has limitations. He has no range outside three feet. He sets a good screen but all he can do is roll, he’s not a threat any other way. There’s not a great post up game, nor is he a good rebounder for a big, and he’s not a great rim protector at the NBA level.

Still, a team will give him a shot. If not one of these three, someone likely will pick him up by early in the season.

Darren Collison, who went from hot-shot rookie to journeyman, may have found niche with Kings

Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings
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BOSTON – Darren Collison lost a job because he played well. He lost a job because he got hurt. And he lost a job because he played poorly.

The point guard has moved around the NBA at nearly an unprecedented rate for someone with his early career credentials, but maybe, just maybe, he has found a place he can stay for a while.

The Kings gave Collison a three-year, $16 million contract in free agency last summer – even though that meant casting aside incumbent starter Isaiah Thomas, a player many (myself included) thought was superior to Collison. Collison has rewarded their faith, posting career highs in points per game (16.4), assists per game (5.9) and PER (18.7).

There’s little stability in Sacramento – where the coach just got fired despite exceeding all reasonable expectations, the owner has his own crazy ideas and the franchise player is brooding – but Collison has potential to stick. His speed equips him to run the up-tempo, jazzy system Vivek Ranadivé wants, and Collison’s bond with DeMarcus Cousins gives him a powerful ally.

“The opportunity is definitely here,” Collison said last week. “It just seems like everything is all coming together. I’m more confident.”

Collison has long had reason to be confident in himself, though not always his fit with his team.

He broke in with the 2009-10 New Orleans Hornets, getting a huge opportunity when Chris Paul got hurt. In 37 starts, Collison averaged 18.8 points, shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 42.9 percent on 3-pointers, and 9.1 assists per game – All-Star-caliber numbers. Of course, no matter how well Collison played, the Hornets weren’t going to choose him over Paul.

They dealt him to Indiana, where he became a full-time starter and helped the Pacers end their longest playoff drought of his lifetime (four seasons). Reggie Miller comparisons didn’t seem outlandish. But Collison got hurt during his second season in Indiana, and George Hill Wally Pipped him in the starting lineup.

The Pacers sold low on Collison, trading him to the Mavericks. Dallas initially started Collison, but he lost the role to Dominique Jones, then Derek Fisher, then Mike James after Rick Carlisle expressed frustration with Collison’s defense. By the time the 2012-13 season ended, the Mavericks didn’t even extend Collison a qualifying offer.

He signed with the Clippers, taking a pay cut from his rookie-scale contract. Full circle, he was once again backing up and sometimes playing with Chris Paul. After the season, he opted out seeking a raise.

That’s when the Kings came calling, becoming Collison’s fifth team six seasons.

Just two other players have made an All-Rookie first team since the NBA-ABA merger and played for so many teams in their first six seasons:

  • Marc Jackson, 2001 (Warriors, Timberwolves, 76ers, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets)
  • Ron Mercer, 1998 (Celtics, Nuggets, Magic, Bulls, Pacers)

Jackson was out of the league one year later, and Mercer lasted only one more than that. The 27-year-old Collison certainly hopes he won’t suffer a similar fate.

That’s why Collison appreciates his opportunity in Sacramento.

“That’s all it is, really,” Collison said. “There’s a lot of good players in this league, but they don’t necessarily have the opportunity. Sometimes, they’re with a team, and they still don’t have an opportunity. They’re not going out there playing their games. I think, this year, I have a chance to do that.

“When I was with previous teams, it was hard to fit in. I couldn’t play my game, necessarily. So, this year, has been good for me.”

And good for the Kings’ offense.

They’re posting their best offensive rating relative to league average in a decade, and Collison is steering the ship.

Prior to this season, Collison has never had a dramatic effect on his teams’ offensive outputs. They’d all scored within two points per 100 possessions with him on the court as they did with him off.

But Sacramento’s offensive rating jumps from 95.6 with him off to 107.8 with him on.

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Some of that success can be chalked up to Collison spending most of his minutes with Cousins, Sacramento’s top player. But credit Collison for quickly learning how to play with the star center. Cousins scores better by volume (26.8 to 24.2 points per 36 minutes) and efficiency (51.7 to 46.4 field-goal percentage) when Collison is on the court rather than off.

The key to meshing with Cousins?

“Give him the ball, and let him work,” Collison said. “…It’s that easy.”

Collison’s deferential attitude aside, he’s not merely riding Cousins’ coattails. When the center missed 10 straight games with viral meningitis, the Kings still scored much better with Collison on the court than off (103.7 to 94.7 points per 100 possessions).

In fact, pair Collison with any teammate, and the Kings score better with Collison on the court. Here’s Sacramento’s offensive rating with each player and Collison on the court (purple) and off the court (black), sorted by minutes played with Collison:

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(Eric Moreland, who barely played before suffering a season-ending injury, is excluded from the visualization.)

Player Min. with Collison Min. without Collison Off. rating with Collison Off. rating without Collison Diff.
Rudy Gay 966 200 109.1 99.0 +10.1
Ben McLemore 874 254 108.5 95.5 +13.0
Jason Thompson 682 157 105.1 91.9 +13.2
DeMarcus Cousins 550 195 111.9 98.6 +13.3
Carl Landry 263 358 103.7 92.8 10.9
Reggie Evans 238 185 105.7 96.0 +9.7
Derrick Williams 206 243 111.3 98.4 +12.9
Omri Casspi 155 300 108.6 96.0 +12.6
Ryan Hollins 144 58 98.1 83.6 +14.5
Nik Stauskas 141 330 105.4 96.1 +9.3
Ray McCallum 71 205 110.7 91.7 +19
Ramon Sessions 33 394 107.4 97.4 +10
Eric Moreland 1 1 200.0 166.7 +33.3

At some point, the common denominator becomes clear: Collison.

He knocks down pull-up jumpers from mid-range, not exactly an analytical hotbed, but a part of the floor that opens thanks to his pick-and-roll probing. He has improved working off the ball, spotting up for corner 3s. And he keeps the ball moving.

In a conference where half the Kings’ opponents start a former All-Star at point guard, Collison doesn’t exactly stand out. But he’s brining credibility to the position in Sacramento.

“He’s comfortable,” Kings coach Tyrone Corbin said. “He’s gotten his confidence back. His speed, pushing the ball down the floor. He knows he’s going to be on the floor for a certain amount of minutes, so he’s relaxed and just playing at a pace that’s favorable to his style of play.”

It’d be foolish to say Collison, just 31 games into his Sacramento tenure, has found a home. His previous teams have struggled to determine whether he should start or come off the bench for fair reasons, and toeing that line has made him expendable.

But this season, Collison is showing he’s a quality starter.

“This year, I definitely proved that,” Collison said. “So, now, it’s not even about proving to be a good starter. It’s about leading the team now.”

Kings not happy with result of NBA’s protest decision

Toronto Raptors v Sacramento Kings
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When the Kings filed an official protest with the league over a last-second loss in Memphis earlier this season, there were two points of contention where Sacramento believed it had a case.

One was the (alleged) fact that Ryan Hollins tipped the ball while guarding the inbound pass that led to the last-second shot, which, if true, would have meant that the clock would have started right then and there, and time would have expired before the shot could have been gotten off.

The other was that, even if Hollins didn’t touch the ball, the clock started late, and the shot should not have counted because it was launched after the game’s time should have expired.

Neither were viewed to be valid by the league, and the protest was denied.

Predictably. those in Sacramento were less than pleased with the decision.

From Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

“The referees had a duty to count frames on the replay and they didn’t,” one Kings source said. “We felt and still feel strongly that there was significant error in this decision.”

Under NBA procedures, each team has an opportunity to make submissions in support of its position, and the protesting team is required to establish a misapplication of the official playing rules that had a clear impact on the game’s outcome. The Kings filed a protest and sent their own video and pictures to the NBA hoping to strengthen their case. Kings officials believe the referees misapplied the rules by not counting frames on Lee’s shot when analyzing the replay and not taking into account a late-starting clock, a source told Yahoo Sports. …

“I hit the ball,” Hollins told Yahoo Sports. “No question about it. You see the trajectory. You even see my reaction afterwards. Even if you can’t conclude that I hit the ball, the shot still didn’t get off with the correct call.”

In the league’s official release, the decision was explained in painstaking detail.

The basis for the Kings’ protest was that Courtney Lee’s game-winning shot should have been disqualified as having been made after time expired.  Under league procedures, each team has an opportunity to make submissions in support of its position, and the protesting team is required to establish a misapplication of the official playing rules that had a clear impact on the game’s outcome.

The Commissioner determined that the game officials’ call that Lee’s shot was timely was within their judgment and not a misapplication of the playing rules.  Sacramento’s protest therefore did not justify the extraordinary remedy of overturning the game’s result.

The bottom line here is that no rules were ignored or misinterpreted, and the way things ultimately played out was a judgment call by the officials. There wasn’t anywhere near enough evidence for the protest to be won in the Kings’ favor; maybe next time, they won’t allow an opposing team’s player to get loose so freely with the game hanging in the balance.

NBA denies Kings’ protest

Ben McLemore
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The Kings protested their loss to the Grizzlies on Courtney Lee’s buzzer-beating layup.

Today, Adam Silver gave his verdict.

NBA release:

The National Basketball Association announced today that Commissioner Adam Silver has denied the Sacramento Kings’ protest of their 111-110 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on November 13, 2014.

The basis for the Kings’ protest was that Courtney Lee’s game-winning shot should have been disqualified as having been made after time expired.  Under league procedures, each team has an opportunity to make submissions in support of its position, and the protesting team is required to establish a misapplication of the official playing rules that had a clear impact on the game’s outcome.

The Commissioner determined that the game officials’ call that Lee’s shot was timely was within their judgment and not a misapplication of the playing rules.  Sacramento’s protest therefore did not justify the extraordinary remedy of overturning the game’s result.

Key words: “extraordinary remedy.”

The referees might have missed the call – either because Ryan Hollins tipped the inbounds pass or Lee held the ball longer than 0.3 seconds – but everyone followed proper protocol. The referees made the call, and the review center upheld it. Any errors weren’t due to “a misapplication of the official playing rules.”

Protests, as frustrating as it is, aren’t designed to get the call right. They’re designed to ensure procedures were followed, whether or not the result was correct.

The procedures were followed here, and that’s why the Kings lost (again).

NBA will hear Kings’ protest of loss to Grizzlies on Courtney Lee buzzer-beater

Rudy Gay
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The Kings beat the Grizzlies, 111-110, last Thursday.

For now.

Memphis guard Courtney Lee made a layup on a play that began with 0.3 seconds remaining, but Sacramento center Ryan Hollins might have tipped the inbound pass, which would have started the clock and led to the game expiring before Lee’s attempt.

Also at issue, even if Hollins didn’t touch the ball, Lee might have held the ball for longer than 0.3 seconds.

So, the Kings want the NBA to take a second look.

NBA release:

The National Basketball Association announced today that the Sacramento Kings have protested the team’s 111-110 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on November 13 at FedExForum.  The basis for the Kings’ protest is that Courtney Lee’s game-winning shot should have been disqualified as having been made after time expired.  Under the protest procedures in the NBA Constitution, Memphis and Sacramento each will have an opportunity to submit evidence in support of its position and the protest will be decided by December 2.

I’m not sure why it could take so long to get a verdict. The Kings had to submit their protest within 48 hours of the game, and the NBA constitution states:

Upon receipt of a protest, the Commissioner shall at once notify the Member operating the opposing Team in the game protested and require both of said Members within five (5) days to file with him such evidence as he may desire bearing upon the issue. The Commissioner shall decide the question raised within five (5) days after receipt of such evidence.

It seems the league is giving itself an extra week, but if the Kings get the win (and the their $10,000 protest fee – kept by the league if the current ruling is upheld – returned), I don’t think they’ll mind the wait.

But Sacramento could have a tough time here. The play was reviewed and upheld. Unless the NBA finds something went amiss in the review process, rather than just the review result, it’s tough to see the Kings winning their protest.