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A Closer Look at Darren Collison's Alleged 20-Assist Night

Mar 9, 2010 – 11:55 AM
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Brett Pollakoff

Brett Pollakoff %BloggerTitle%

Darren CollisonMonday night against Golden State, Hornets' rookie point guard Darren Collison had himself one heck of a game. In addition to putting up 16 points on just 12 shots, he dished out a whopping 20 assists in leading his team to a tight, 135-131 victory over the D-League team formerly known as the Warriors.

Forgetting the fact that just about anyone can put up big numbers in the offensive category of their choosing against this Warriors team (just ask Brandon Jennings), 20 assists seemed like a lot for anyone -- even in a high-possession game that saw the teams put up a combined 266 points in regulation. And many, including the announcing team for the Warriors, questioned the generosity of the statisticians in New Orleans.
They have him with 20 assists tonight... And this is a Hornet's rookie record of 20 assists. I'm going to say this politely. They need to watch the video of this game because Darren Collison has about 13 assists in the game, not 20. The person keeping assists tonight is a little unclear on the rule.
Sound like sour grapes from the guy whose team was on the losing end of a winnable game, right? Until you go to the replay and see that some of these assists were absolutely given to Collison when they shouldn't have been.

Zach Harper did the heavy lifting over at Hardwood Paroxysm, painstakingly breaking down every single play where an assist was awarded to Collison. The summary of his findings was that one of the assists was questionable, and that four should simply not have been called assists.

Letting the so-called "questionable" assist slide, that still leaves the rookie with a very impressive total of 16 on the night. So if you're the Hornets' stat people, why needlessly cook the books here? It could be laziness, or it could be intentional; either way, someone who is seemingly without a dog in this fight -- Cavs' beat writer Brian Windhorst -- tweeted last night that the stat crew in New Orleans has been "VERY loose with dimes in [the] Chris Paul era."

One could argue that if the crew is doing this on purpose, they're not increasing the value of Collison's play, but instead, are decreasing the value of Paul's play. If anyone running the point for the Hornets can get their assist total padded by 20 percent when playing at home, then it calls into question the numbers of a guy like Paul, who is legitimately a top-two point guard in the league.

Now, to be clear, things like this don't just happen in New Orleans. There are crews all over the league who, intentionally or not, give an extra assist, rebound, steal, or blocked shot to players on the home team. That's just the way it is. But with League Pass replay available to anyone who cares to take a closer look, it's time they begin to strive for accuracy of the numbers, instead of inflation of them.
Filed under: Sports