OKC Thunder: How Nick Collison turned drawing a charge into an art form
ART OF THE CHARGE — Thunder forward Nick Collison came into the NBA as a collegiate national player of the year who was rarely asked to take a charge. It took an ankle injury to make him a nemesis to all attempting to drive on the Thunder.
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Collison's signature ‘take'
Thunder forward Nick Collison was asked to pick his most memorable charging call based on its execution, timing and importance. He offered one that comes with video evidence. The YouTube moment is entitled “Darrell Arthur AMAZING dunk over Nick Collison (May 13, 2011).”
It was intended to be a highlight for Arthur. Instead, it's classic Collison.
Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals between OKC and the Memphis Grizzlies was tied at 68 and 1:42 remained in the third quarter when Arthur took a bounce pass while slashing in from the right wing and threw down a right-handed tomahawk dunk over Collison, who was positioned an inch outside the semi-circle restricted area underneath the basket.
Charging was called against Arthur in this instantaneous collision between two Kansas products, and the basket was waved off.
“It was an unbelievable highlight (for Arthur), but it was a charge,” Collison recalled. “That was a big one because it was two points off the board. If they had called a block, it would have been bad news for me.”
The Thunder lost that game in Memphis, but won the series 4-3 two nights later in OKC.
In the 2009-10 season, when Collison first set out to take charge(s), he finished second in the NBA with 57 offensive fouls drawn. Only Jared Jeffries finished with more at 59 (44 with New York; 15 with Houston). In 2010-11, Collison took 51 charges. In the shortened 2011-12 season, he drew 28 offensive fouls in 63 games.
The top requirement in drawing a charge presumably is courage. However, Collison shrugs off being courageous and adds he never has been seriously hurt while standing his ground while others plow into him.
To Collison, anticipation is the top requirement.
“I try to have just a little bit quicker anticipation when the drive is coming over,” Collison said. “It's about anticipation and getting there quickly.”
Though Collison ranks among the league's elite in hustle stats, he downplays the numerical significance of taking charges. Taking a charge probably carries more significance mentally and emotionally for a player and his team.
“I draw a lot of charges, but it's only like 30-40 possessions for the entire season,” Collison said. “And how many possessions are in a game? 80?”
Reminded he took 57 charges in his “debut” season, Collison smiled and admitted, “Yeah, I guess 57 is a lot of charges, but you've got be able to do a lot of other things. That's what I've gotten better at — my positioning, seeing things happen, communicating, things like that. If you can make your whole team play better, you're going to be more valuable as a player.”
With the NBA cracking down on flopping this season, Collison's no-nonsense manner in drawing offensive fouls might become even more valuable.
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