They Smell Like the Future: Sherron Collins

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 20, 2010 under Commentary | 3 Comments to Read

Photo by John Gress/Reuters.

Kansas Senior
5’11.75”, 217 lbs (Combine measurements)
23 years old
Point guard/shooting guard
Projection: Second rounder/undrafted

If the Mavs end up picking Sherron Collins in this week’s draft, it means something went wrong. For one, it signifies that the Mavs were unable to move up in the draft from No. 50, despite Donnie Nelson’s indicated interest in nabbing an earlier pick. In addition, it means that the other point guard prospects — be they scorers or more conventional pass-first types — were snatched up by other teams, leaving Dallas holding the bag.

Simply put, despite Collins’ somewhat impressive overall college line, I fail to see his advantage over other PG prospects or what he’s going to bring to an NBA team on the offensive end. He was an inefficient scorer and sub-par playmaker at Kansas, and his lack of height and athleticism are going to be serious problems in the pros. Super serious.

Unless an NBA team can wipe Sherron’s brain clean of all of his shooting tendencies and start from scratch using him as a spot-up shooter and distributor, you’re ultimately looking at a less efficient, slower, and shorter Ben Gordon. In theory, that may not sound all that bad. Then consider that the only reason Gordon is able to get off his jumper is due to his quickness, and the difficulties start to become a bit more apparent. If you look at shorter point guards that are able to create shots in the NBA, nearly all of them have incredible burst speed in half-court sets or end-to-end speed on the break. Collins doesn’t really have either, as evidenced by his sub-par showings in the agility and sprint tests at the combine.

On the agility test, which measures a player’s ability to move laterally around the lane, Collins clocked in as the sixth slowest prospect measured at the combine (he ranked between bigs Daniel Orton and Greg Monroe, for reference). He performed slightly better on the 3/4 court sprint test, but Collins’ time of 3.24 seconds is right in line with the times of Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal. He’s safely removed from the quicker prospects at his position and otherwise, which is unfortunate considering that speed and quickness are exactly what Collins needs to be an effective NBA player.

If you look at any of the NBA’s recent midgets of varying success, they share one trait: they’re pretty much all quicker than Sherron Collins. It’s not easy to get a shot off in the paint or on the perimeter when playing with such a considerable height disadvantage, and its those guards’ speed that affords them the space they need to fire. Here are a few recent draftees of comparable height and their times on those same combine drills:

PlayerHeight (w/o shoes)AgilitySprint
Sherron Collins5'10.25''12.313.24
Jameer Nelson5'10.25''10.663.16
Will Bynum5'10.5''11.123.00
Aaron Brooks5'10.5''10.573.20
D.J. Augustin5'10''11.273.07

Without it, you’re looking at a less efficient Salim Stoudamire with better passing skills. That’s something, I guess, and teams could probably do worse in the second round, but Collins’ offensive game will be locked up in a box upon his departure from Lawrence, chained tight, weighted down, and thrown into the ocean. Or maybe a volcano.

Collins’ redeeming NBA value lies in his defense. Sherron was a fine perimeter defender at the collegiate level, which does at least hint that his on-court mobility surpasses his combine measurables. However, shorter point guards generally have a rough go of it defensively across the board, and Collins figures to be no exception. Still, there’s a lot to like about Sherron’s defensive abilities. If Collins can show that he can defend in the NBA at anywhere near the level he was able to defend in college, there could be hope for him yet.

A lot of that depends Sherron’s weight and conditioning. Multiple reports (and the visual evidence in video form) assert that Collins has trimmed down since the combine. It’s tough to judge exactly what that will mean for his game, and I refuse to throw four years of tape and stats out the window because of dropped waist size and a six pack. If that turns out to make all the difference for Sherron, and he lights up his rookie year as a combo scorer/playmaker playing tenacious defense? I’ll gladly eat crow. In the meantime, I’ll continue to insist that the bad offensive habits are already in place, and that Collins isn’t quite quick enough to be a shot-creator against NBA competition.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

PTSREBASTTOSTLFG%3FG%
Per Game15.52.14.52.41.1.426.370
Per 4018.82.55.42.91.3------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
55.850.60.817.624.331.723.2

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
1.80.15.6

Other People:

Eamonn Brennan, ESPN.com: “Collins is undersized and not very athletic. He can’t create separation from defenders, certainly not in the NBA, and when he gets to the rim his size can make it difficult for him to finish. But there’s no denying he has a collegiate résumé most players would kill for. Over four years, Collins never averaged fewer than 22 minutes per game. He won a national title with the Jayhawks in 2008. He played smothering defense, led his teams on both ends of the floor and ran Kansas’ break with gusto. If you were starting a college hoops team right now, and you had to pick one point guard — well, you’d probably pick Wall. But Collins would be hard to pass up.”

Joe Treutlein, Draft Express: “Where Collins impressed the most in the scrimmages, however, was on the defensive end, where he played extremely tough, especially on the pick-and-roll, as he fought through screens pretty easily, benefitted greatly by his incredibly strong build and low center of gravity, which allows him to change directions easily and get right up into his man on these types of plays. While Collins’ size will have some defensive drawbacks in the pros, he also is showing he understands how to make use of his size’s benefits, and he has the potential to be a very tough pick-and-roll defender at the next level if he keeps playing like this.”

Matt Kamalsky, Draft Express: “Sherron Collins is the second worst pull up shooter in our group (.62 PPP), but is the second best spot up shooter when left open (1.38 PPP). That could help him considerably in a smaller role on the next level.”

Supplementary Materials:

Also, sweet tat, Sherron. (Via Ben Golliver of Blazers Edge)

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.