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Nick Collison shores up OKC Thunder's second unit

Forward has taken a bigger role in the offense, helping the Thunder's bench become more efficient
by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 2, 2013

Collison's contributions have been a boost to a bench unit that, for much of the season, has struggled to consistently keep up with its counterparts in the wake of almost wholesale changes that included the loss of reigning Sixth Man of the Year James Harden. The Thunder's bench went from outscoring opposing benches by 5.1 points on average to getting outscored by a tenth of a point.

But thanks in large part to Martin's renowned efficiency, as well as Collison's emergence as a scorer and passer, the Thunder's bench is quietly more efficient than ever. Last year, the bench shot 45.5 percent. This year, in fewer minutes and shot attempts, OKC's bench is shooting 46.5 percent.

“We've kind of changed the way we do things,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks of the bench. “We have a different group of players, but (Collison) has stepped up a lot with his part of the offense and helped us transition.”

Collison said both at the end of last year and the start of this year that he wanted to look for his shot more this season. His 3.7 attempts per game aren't much, but it's the most he's averaged since the 2009-10 season. He's also connecting on a career-high 61.2 percent of those attempts, making the most of the opportunities he does get.

“I think a lot of my opportunities come and go a little bit just based on the way the game goes,” Collison said. “But what I don't want to do is get to the point where I'm passing up good shots because I think that's bad for our team. When you pass up a good shot sometimes you don't ever get a better one. I want to be able to be (a threat) where teams have to guard me so I can play with Kevin (Durant) and Russell (Westbrook) and those guys late in games. I want to be able to be out there and be a threat.”

Brooks was asked if Collison is playing his best ball of the season.

“It's hard to say because he's so consistent,” Brooks said. “He's always so consistent that I don't know if it's his best ball but he's playing good basketball.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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