The Pacers have one of the fastest point guards in the league. Both of Darren Collison’s parents were world-class track and field sprinters, and the acorn didn’t fall far, so to speak. The kid has wheels.
Since joining the Pacers, however, Darren has not always been able to turn his best physical asset into points for himself and others. We know that early in the year Collison was struggling to bring the ball up-court properly in accordance with Jim O’Brien’s fast break strategy. Other times it has seemed that he has been unsure when to push it in transition and when to slow it down to set up the offense, leading to hesitant decision-making. And even within the half-court scheme, he hasn’t been able to use his quickness with the ball to blow by defenders and finish or kick out to shooters as much as I figured he would.
To his credit, he has looked mightily improved in all these areas over the past month — something that should be expected to continue as he becomes more comfortable on this team and within this system. Further, it is probably something that DC will improve even more noticeably as he ages.
That’s a philosophy Doc Rivers and Ty Lawson subscribe to anyway. Lawson recently sat down to talk about it with Rashad Mobley of the Wizards blog Truth About It, which is not only perhaps the best blog in the TrueHoop Network but one of the very best on the whole information superhighway.
Rashad Mobley: When the Celtics were in town on Saturday, Doc Rivers talked about how difficult it is for young point guards to know when to use their speed to their advantage. That’s something you’ve seemingly had no trouble with since you’ve been in the league, and you used to your advantage tonight too, how have you been so effective with that?
Ty Lawson: I just take the time to read the defenses, and then decided what speed to use from there. You can’t just go full speed all the time, that’s how you get hurt and that’s how you get charging fouls. You have to know when someone is behind, are the shooters in place in front of you, and then decide what gear to use.
Mobley: How has Chauncey helped you with that?
Lawson: Well he plays slow as hell, so he’s helped me understand the benefit of doing that every now and then. That’s not really my game, but I have an appreciation for it, and I know it’s necessary, especially in the playoffs when the game slows. But I do see how he comes off screens, how he bumps the guard, and then gets off, so I’d definitely say he’s smart about his speed, but he likes it slow.
Mobley: Do you think staying at North Carolina three years helped you perfect how you use speed in your game?
Lawson: Actually the way Roy [Williams] wanted it at Carolina was just straight up speed. No slowing it down, no jogging, just straight speed all the time. That’s no knock on Roy, but I just learned more from Chauncey.
Mobley: What did you think of John Wall’s ability to switch speeds tonight?
Lawson: You know, honestly, he’s all one speed right now, and that speed is blinding. I mean, literally, I had to sprint a couple times to get back, and I still was behind him, and he had the ball and I didn’t. It’ll probably take him his whole rookie year and the summer to truly learn, because he’s not that far removed from high school. Next year, he’ll be killing folks.
Hopefully that “next year, he’ll be killing folks” line will also apply to Darren Collison.
Fast don’t lie, as you may have heard — and that would be Chang that Pacers fans could get behind.