Jason Collins: It's Worth the Test Drive

Updated: February 23, 2014



If you’ve been following the Brooklyn Nets closely it’s pretty apparent that when Kevin Garnett exits the court, any semblance of a defense vanishes as well.  The Nets are in desperate need of front court depth that can help stabilize their defense and protect the rim.

Many Net fans were intrigued and excited by the name Glen Davis but in reality Davis isn’t this elite defender that would have cured all of our woes.  As Mike Mazzeo of ESPN tweeted out last night, “Davis gives up 53.6 percent at the rim”.

So the Nets have decided to turn to the familiar face of Jason Collins.  I don’t buy into the nonsense that this is a publicity stunt to win the back pages of the local newspapers, which Mitch Lawrence recently suggested in the Daily News.  Signing Collins will attract some media attention initially, but let’s not get carried away here.  I wouldn’t expect a nationwide media bonanza scrutinizing every Net practice and game.  He just isn’t a big deal.  This isn’t Tim Tebow with the JetsMichael Sam, on the other hand, will be a different story.

It seems that many Net fans are adamantly against adding the 12 year veteran, and it is easy to see why.  It appears that there is no upside in bringing in a 35 year old whose points and rebounds per game the past few years conjure up memories of Yinka Dare.  Glen Davis and his 12 point, 6 rebound averages are much more appealing to look at in the box score.

After thinking it over, I believe that Collins can have a positive impact on this team and perhaps a 10-day trial is worth it.  If you recall, Collins never put up gaudy statistics on those great New Jersey teams, as anything over 3 points per night was considered gravy.  The canned line from players and coaches back then about Collins was that “he does the little things that don’t show up in the box score” such as: setting screens and boxing out his guy so that Jason Kidd could snatch the rebound and get the fast break started.

What do the Nets of now have to gain in bringing in Jason Collins, the player?  For one, he is an intelligent veteran that knows how to defend the post.  Although the game is much faster than it was years ago, Collins and his six fouls could come in handy against the likes of Roy Hibbert, Nene, Greg Monroe, and Jonas Valanciunas.  Those are the types of big guys that will feast on the Nets’ defense with the way it is configured now.

jason collins defense

Is Collins this “shutdown, rim-protecting” defender?  Of course he isn’t, but against those aforementioned centers, he could disrupt their rhythm and be a nuisance.  I clearly remember last season in which he did this exact thing as a member of the Celtics against Brook Lopez on Christmas Day.  If he can take Hibbert or Nene out their flow for a stretch of the game, then consider those minutes to be a success.

This is a respected member of the league who has always received great praise from his teammates.  This isn’t someone who will complain when he doesn’t play.  This is someone who will know his role and will understand when he doesn’t set foot on the court against smaller, quicker lineups such as Miami.  This is also an intelligent player who could be an asset in helping Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee develop defensively.

I am not naive in believing that Jason Collins is going to cure all of the Nets’ problems, because he won’t.  However, he would have been helpful last night defending Jermaine O’Neal. Did anyone else have nightmares thinking that they were watching the Pacers of 2002?

For a two week test run, it just may be worth it.  What else is there to lose?