1. Based on what transpired against Memphis, has Nick Collison's game slipped?
Darnell Mayberry: I'm not ready to say that. I think he just had a bad series. It happens. He's still great at what he does. And he can still do that for years to come.
John Rohde: It was one of Collison's most productive seasons ever, setting or being near several career highs. However, his postseason performance left a bad taste in the mouth, primarily because of his limited playing time due to foul trouble. It's still somewhat astounding how many fouls were called on him against Memphis — 26 fouls in 88 minutes.
Berry Tramel: It's possible that Collison's game has slipped, but it's still solid. I mean, the guy will be 33 on opening day 2013. He might need to limit his minutes during the regular season. That's not what anyone wants to hear in this age of send-Perkins-to-Siberia, and even though the Thunder could play small, that doesn't really help limit Kevin Durant's minutes, which needs to happen, too. So I don't know.
2. Why aren't there more players like Collison?
Mayberry: Who wants to sign up for that? Scoring is sexy. Alley-oops are amazing. Defense and diving on the floor is dirty work. Very few players volunteer for that job.
Rohde: Because doing the dirty work and not caring about getting any credit is not a gig that appeals to many NBA players. It takes a special person, with special skills and a special mentality to pull it off.
Tramel: I think there are plenty of players like Collison. But many of them are stuck on mediocre teams and never noticed. I mean, the Spurs got Boris Diaw for a song, because Charlotte thought he was a bad egg. Let me tell you who's the bad egg. The Bobcats or the Hornets or the Jordanaires, whatever they call themselves.
3. What is Collison's greatest asset?
Mayberry: Knowing his role and staying in his lane. On the floor and in the locker room. Nick never tries to be something he's not, and that consistent attitude and approach is invaluable.
Rohde: His intelligence. You can't have a conversation with Collison without learning something, whether you're a coach, teammate, fan or writer. It's impossible.
Tramel: Interior defense. Getting in the way remains a major NBA asset. Not enough big guys do it. Collison does, even though Memphis wasn't a great defensive series for him. With Ibaka, Perk and Collison, the Thunder is tough in the middle. Not great. But tough.