Kings Blog

Darren Collison leads Kings past former team, snaps 8-game skid

Indiana’s Solomon Hill, right, drives against Kings Ben McLemore during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, in Indianapolis. Kings won 99-94.
Indiana’s Solomon Hill, right, drives against Kings Ben McLemore during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, in Indianapolis. Kings won 99-94. AP

Bankers Life Fieldhouse is where Darren Collison had his first real chance to lead a team.

Collison was traded to Indiana from New Orleans before the 2010-11 season after backing up All-Star Chris Paul. He averaged a career-high 13.2 points.

The Kings are Collison’s second team since his stint with Indiana that lasted two seasons, and he’s flourishing as a leader with Sacramento, which ended an eight-game losing streak with a 99-94 win over the Pacers on Saturday at the Indianapolis arena.

Collison had 23 points and five assists as the steady leader that the Kings want him to be as a starter.

When the Kings signed Collison in the offseason to a three-year contract to replace Isaiah Thomas as their point guard, there were questions as to whether Collison could be a quality NBA starter.

Collison entered Saturday on pace to average a career high with 16.1 points and match his career best of 5.7 assists per game, set his rookie season.

But being a leader for the Kings hasn’t come stress-free as Sacramento hadn’t won since Jan. 11 until playing the Pacers.

Collison tried to do his part to lead the Kings out of their swoon on and off the court.

“Just continue to be positive,” Collison said. “I think a lot of times when you’re going through a losing streak, it’s easy to be negative, it’s easy to go your separate ways, but just continue to be positive. It’s not one man’s fault, it’s everybody. Everybody’s got to do better.”

Collison started 79 games for the Pacers in the 2010-11 season. The following season, Collison started 56 of 60 games and came off the bench after an injury during the playoffs. He was dealt to Dallas for the 2012-13 season and was Paul’s backup again for the Los Angeles Clippers last season.

The Kings offered a multi-year contract worth $16 million and a chance to be a full-time starter again after being replaced in Dallas.

Kings coach Tyrone Corbin said Collison has “taken ownership” of the position and is growing into a leadership role with the Kings.

“I think he’s getting a feel and he’s not trying to thrust himself into it,” Corbin said. “He’s trying to get a feel for the guys and let the guys get a feel for him to see where he can be a leader for the guys.”

Collison said it takes time to become a leader on a new team, especially one with a lot of new players like the Kings.

“You don’t always get it your first year, but I’m starting to get more comfortable,” he said. “This is relatively a new group playing together, but I think as the season progresses and into next season, we’ll be a lot more comfortable with each other.”

Still, Collison has received praise from teammates on how he’s handled himself this season, one that’s included a coaching change and missing center DeMarcus Cousins for 12 games because of illness and injury.

“I think he’s doing a great job leading the team and running the team,” Cousins said. “I think he learned a lot under CP (Paul) and he got a chance to show what he can do, and I think he’s taking advantage of his opportunity.”

One person not surprised by Collison’s growth is Indiana coach Frank Vogel, who was an assistant when Collison arrived before becoming head coach during Collison’s first season with the team.

Vogel said, “Not at all,” when asked if he was astonished to see how Collison has developed.

“He’s a loveable guy, a guy who cares about as much as anybody you’ll ever coach,” Vogel said. “He just approaches his business everyday the right way. He studies film, gets shots up before practice, after practice. Always trying to respectfully communicate on the court, try to be a leader, playing hard every possession. He’s everything you want.”

Those are some of the reasons the Kings wanted Collison. So far, he’s been everything Vogel said he is.

Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

KINGS 99, PACERS 94

Kings

MIN

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

F

Pt

Gay

43:57

10-22

11-11

0-5

3

5

31

Thompson

26:10

2-2

2-2

2-6

1

6

6

Cousins

38:46

6-24

8-8

5-19

3

6

20

Collison

39:43

9-15

2-4

0-5

5

2

23

McLemore

36:27

3-9

1-2

0-4

2

1

8

Landry

25:32

1-3

0-0

1-5

0

4

2

Sessions

9:29

2-4

0-0

0-1

1

1

4

Casspi

8:30

1-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

3

Stauskas

7:19

0-0

2-2

0-0

1

1

2

Hollins

4:07

0-0

0-0

1-1

0

1

0

Totals

240

34-80

26-29

9-46

16

27

99

Percentages: FG .425, FT .897. Three-Point Goals: 5-15, .333 (Collison 3-6, Casspi 1-1, McLemore 1-5, Sessions 0-1, Gay 0-2). Team Rebounds: 4. Team Turnovers: 14 (20 PTS). Blocked Shots: 1 (Gay). Turnovers: 12 (Cousins 4, Hollins 2, Sessions 2, Collison, Gay, Landry, Stauskas). Steals: 8 (Cousins 3, Collison, Landry, Sessions, Stauskas, Thompson).

Indiana

MIN

FG-A

FT-A

OR-TR

A

F

Pt

SHill

25:38

0-3

0-0

0-2

1

2

0

West

27:02

5-10

7-8

1-5

3

3

17

Hibbert

24:37

4-10

3-4

1-7

1

3

11

Watson

26:07

3-7

2-2

2-4

5

1

8

Stuckey

19:11

1-5

0-0

0-2

2

1

2

Miles

29:35

6-16

4-4

1-2

2

3

17

Mahinmi

23:16

3-5

0-0

3-6

1

3

6

GHill

22:06

6-15

0-0

0-6

4

2

14

Rudez

21:30

2-4

0-0

0-1

2

3

6

Scola

20:58

3-5

7-7

1-5

1

1

13

Totals

240

33-80

23-25

9-40

22

22

94

Percentages: FG .413, FT .920. Three-Point Goals: 5-25, .200 (Rudez 2-3, G.Hill 2-8, Miles 1-9, Stuckey 0-1, Watson 0-1, S.Hill 0-3). Team Rebounds: 8. Team Turnovers: 15 (22 PTS). Blocked Shots: 5 (West 3, Mahinmi, Miles). Turnovers: 14 (Watson 4, Stuckey 3, G.Hill 2, S.Hill, Mahinmi, Rudez, Scola, West). Steals: 8 (Mahinmi 2, Hibbert, G.Hill, S.Hill, Miles, Watson, West). Technical Fouls: Coach Vogel, 8:49 fourth.

Kings

34

30

15

20

99

Indiana

21

29

17

27

94

Att.—18,165 (18,165). T—2:21.

Officials—Scott Foster, Leroy Richardson, Derek Richardson.

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