NBA Rumors: Toronto Raptors Could Sign Darren Collison For Backcourt Depth, ‘Bleacher Report’ Suggests
In recent weeks, rumors have been suggesting that point guard Darren Collison, who retired from the NBA ahead of the 2019-20 season to focus on his faith and family, might not be staying retired for long. The league’s two Los Angeles-based teams — the Lakers and the Clippers — have both stood out so far as the favorites to sign the 32-year-old, but as a new report suggests, the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors might also benefit from the veteran’s presence in the lead-up to this year’s playoffs.
As explained by Bleacher Report in a list of championship contenders and the veterans they should ideally pursue in order to improve their chances of winning a title, Preston Ellis suggested that the Raptors could target Collison as a free-agent signee. With their 30-14 record placing them third in the Eastern Conference behind the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat, Toronto has remained competitive despite the loss of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green via free agency but, as explained, might need some additional backcourt depth at this point in the season.
“The Raptors can afford to be patient with Collison,” Ellis explained. “Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry would run the first unit while Collison would direct the second.”
Talking about how the journeyman point guard could help Toronto off the bench, Ellis added that Collison is a better three-point shooter than erstwhile backup Terence Davis, a rookie who has shot 39.7 percent from beyond the arc on 3.2 attempts per game. During his last NBA season in 2018-19, which he spent with the Indiana Pacers, the former UCLA product shot an impressive 40.7 percent from three-point range while also averaging six assists per game.
Darren Collison announced his retirement on @TheUndefeated tonight, here is one of his best plays from last season ? pic.twitter.com/q3drqyISKd
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 29, 2019
As shown on the Raptors’ Basketball-Reference team page, erstwhile starting guards Lowry and VanVleet respectively rank second and third in scoring but have also averaged 37.1 and 35.9 minutes per game while missing several games due to injuries. This suggests that the backcourt duo, despite being reliable on the floor, may need an experienced hand to serve as a backup and allow them more time to rest. Aside from Davis, Toronto’s other reserve guards include Norman Powell, Patrick McCaw, and Matt Thomas.
While Collison’s playmaking and outside shooting off the bench could be a boon to the Raptors as they hope for another deep run in the 2020 playoffs, Bleacher Report’s Ellis cautioned that his defensive abilities may leave a little to be desired. He did, however, note that the former Pacers starter was most recently part of a team that had the third-best defensive rating for the 2018-19 campaign.