If Chris Paul is an MVP candidate who needed two years before posting stats that really started blowing people away, how is it that late-first round draft pick Darren Collison could put up numbers that mirrored the great CP3, all in his rookie season? It’s a very plausible question, one that’s been asked the past few weeks as Collison’s filled in admirably for the injured All-Star. As a starter, Collison has averaged 8.8 assists per game, to go along with 18.9 ppg, 1.6 spg, and a 48% FG% — all superb numbers across the board by any means. His stats were boosted by the eye-popping 20 assist mark posted on Monday night against the Warriors. While the stat line does come with the caveat that it was produced against the Warriors where defense is optional and career nights are had, it was nonetheless highly impressive. But would 16 assists have stood out quite as much as the 20 for which Collison received credit? Probably not as much.
Much like Deadspin’s story suggested last year, scorekeepers can take certain liberties with their judgment calls. The website Hardwood Paroxysm decided to review the entire Warriors/Hornets game‘ to see how legitimate Collison’s assist total was. Their findings were quite telling, so I urge you to read it on your own. I don’t think it would be unfair to say the New Orleans scorekeepers are generous in doling out assists for their point guards and that that is the reason Collison had 20 assists instead of say 16 against Golden State. Collison may have been lucky enough to be drafted onto the perfect team for his skill set and he is definitely seizing his opportunity, but he’s also getting some help. And maybe it’s not much of a coincidence that Chris Paul has averaged an extra assist per game at home than on the road for his career.
Assisting Darren Collison’s Assists [Hardwood Paroxysm]
A Closer Look at Darren Collison’s Alleged 20-Assist Night [FanHouse]
An Assist For Nick Van Exel: How An NBA Scorekeeper Cooked The Books [Deadspin]