NBA Finals: Despite Nick Collison's success, don't expect change in starting lineup
Collison has the highest plus/minus total than any player in the finals, Thunder or Heat.
MIAMI — The plus/minus stat in basketball is considered little more than a snapshot. Nonetheless, Thunder reserve forward Nick Collison has been the most photogenic player so far in the NBA Finals.
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Plus/minus measures a team's point differential when certain players are in the game.
OKC is plus-21 against the Miami Heat in the 36 combined minutes Collison played in Games 1 and 2, a higher total than any player on either team.
Meanwhile, Thunder starters Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka are both at minus-18.
With the best-of-7 series tied at 1 after the Thunder's 100-96 loss at home Thursday night, more playing time for Collison seems a reasonable request with the next three games at American Airlines Arena, starting with Game 3 on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Why not start Collison? Because it's not happening, that's why.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks is all about maintaining a consistent approach to business, so don't expect any radical changes.
Asked on Saturday if his mind was racing with an extra day to prepare for Game 3, Brooks defiantly said: “My mind is not racing that I'm going to throw everything out that we've worked on all year that we've got to this point with. I just want to do things better, and I think that's always been our battle cry. Every time we have a tough stretch of the season, just get back to what we do and let's just do it better, and I think that's what we're going to do into (Sunday) night's game.”
Those who incessantly crunch NBA data – Thunder general manager Sam Presti among them – stress the plus/minus becomes far more telling when it's evaluated over a few seasons rather than a few games.
After Collison comes Derek Fisher at plus-19 and James Harden at plus-15. That's three non-starters leading the way.
Then again, given OKC's horrendous starts in Games 1 and 2 (being outscored 56-37), it stands to reason why a starter's plus/minus would suffer.
Guard Thabo Sefolosha leads Thunder starters at plus-11, while Kevin Durant is at plus-6 and Russell Westbrook is plus-3.