Thunder Player Profile: Nick Collison


With the NBA season fast approaching, the Thunderous Intentions team breakdown the players on the Oklahoma City roster. Follow the series as we uncover a player each day from now until the start of the NBA season!

Name: Nick Collison

Number: 4

Height: 6’9″

Weight: 255lbs

Position: Power Forward

Last NBA season (2013-2014) stats: 4.2 ppg, 1.3 apg, 3.6 rpg.

Background: As a senior at Kansas in 2003, Collison won the Big 12 Player of the Year, NABC Player of the Year and was selected as a consensus first team All-American. As one of the most decorated college basketball players in the 2003 NBA Draft, Collison was selected 12th overall by the Seattle Supersonics, who would later become the Oklahoma City Thunder. Collison has played for the franchise for his entire 10-year career. Over that 10-year span, he has been the model of consistency.

Collison has played more than 70 games in eight of his 10 seasons. He has also been arguably the most consistent role player in the NBA, and even television analysts gush about how great it would be to play with a guy like him. It is not very often that a role player like Collison only play for one team in 10 years, and that is a tribute to Collison, who has always been a great teammate who has no problem sacrificing and playing the role he is asked for the betterment of the team. Here is a quote from Collison’s Guest Blog on GQ that sums up why he is the perfect role player.

“The players who can consistently help their teams win games are the ones who stick around, so every player has to figure out what it is he does well enough to help a team win.”

Offensive Breakdown: What Collison brings to the offense does not necessarily show up on the stat sheet. Even though he only averaged 4.2 ppg last season, the offense almost always flows better when he is on the court. Even though he does not have the mid-range shot of Serge Ibaka, he still provides good floor spacing because he is always in the right place on the court. He is a great passed, and has made a living the last few years throwing backdoor passes to his athletic teammates.

Defensive Breakdown: Much like offense, Collison isn’t what he once was defensively. In the 2011 Western Conference Conference Finals, he was the main defender on Dirk Nowitzki. Those days are probably over, but he can still step in and provide good defense when needed. His athletic ability has diminished some (not that he ever relied on athletic ability), but he is such smart player than he can make up for it. Just like offense, he is almost always at the right place on the court. You will not find many players better at rotating into position to take a charge.

X-Factor: As Collison enters the last year of his contract, for the first time in his career; there are some concerns about his health. Last summer, he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, and it is not clear how long played with the injury, which could explain his down season. Even though he is not the first big off the bench like he once was, there will be times where the Thunder will need him to come in and do what he does best- all of the little things. When he is not playing, he will be looked at to provide leadership for all of the young guys for the Thunder.

Overall: This year, expect Collison to play around 60 games because Scott Brooks will rest him more this season than in the past. His minutes could be even more sparatic this year than last, with more young talent than ever around him. He seemed very aware of his changing role in his exit interview last June, via The Oklahoman.

“I think my role on the court is going to change,” Collison said. “It’s changed over the years. Playoffs, it changed. It was an adjustment for me to be in and out more. But that’s something I’m going to have to adjust to, and if it’s similar next year I’ll adjust to that.”

With the addition of Mitch McGary, the Thunder will not be lacking depth in the post even Collison doesn’t play. He is a veteran who will always be ready when his number is called, you can just ask the Clippers what happened in Game 6 last year in the Western Conference semifinals. The best thing about Nick is when he is not playing; you can guarantee that he is doing everything in his power to help the young guys develop into better NBA players.

Expect similar statistics to what he had last year- 4 ppg and 4 rpg, but probably in less playing time.