Seems like some here don't see what all the fuss is about Mardy Collins, so I thought I'd break down what I saw in last night's game. Maybe I can make more people Mardy fans or at least get him a little more respect among CN readers.
On the surface, Mardy looks slow and offensively sucky. For fans looking for "exciting" basketball, Mardy's a dud.
But I believe that it's not always to a team's advantage to put all your shooters or offensively skilled players out there at the same time. At certain points in a game, you need someone out there who is not thinking shoot first. You need a steady player to play defense, get stops, control tempo and get the ball to the right guy in the right spot. On the Clippers, that guy is first and foremost ERIC GORDON.
Why not Baron? Because Baron takes bad shots and sometimes he dribbles too much, wasting clock. Baron can quickly initiate a 4 point swing in the wrong direction and four points can mean the difference between winning and losing. If he does that two possessions in a row, a good opponent will blow them out after that.
So obviously, with EJ being injured, all of a sudden Mardy is important. He's not anywhere near as good as EJ but he gives the Clippers something that none of the other players like to do. Be invisible. Play good defense and not care at all about filling the stat sheet.
Why I Like Mardy's Play So Far This Season
1. Two Games of 12+ Minutes - Two Wins (Overly simplistic, but a fact)
2. He doesn't need to shoot, plays solid defense
3. He likes to handle the ball, lets the PG play off the ball and rest a little
4. He's a solid passer
5. He hustles (you just don't notice it because he looks so slow!)
[Know your bball? Skip this.]
(I'm going to mention a 4 point swing quite a bit. What is it? Why is it important? Very simply a four point swing is when you don't score on your posession while your opponent then proceeds to score on their possession. Not only did you miss out on your two points, but they scored two so it's a total of four points in that way. It is always bad, but even more so if you're losing and/or there's not much time left in the game.
If you're on the other side of it, it's basically "getting a stop" and scoring on your ensuing possession - a scenario which is also called closing out a game, if accomplished towards the end.)
Monday vs. The TWolves
1st Quarter - on the bench
+ 2nd Quarter 7:55 - Mardy, showing great fundamentals, leans down and throws a perfect bounce pass to Kaman. He throws it, not too hard, not in a lazy way, but in a way where Chris can easily catch, turn and shoot in his sweet spot.
What's so great about that? If you've been watching the Clippers at all this season, you know that every opponent knows Dunleavy wants to go to Chris. I don't know how many times Baron, Bassy, Gordon, Rasual, Thornton and even Camby have tried to FORCE an entry pass into Chris only to have it knocked away or stolen.
NBA defenses are built around denial and preventing passes to preferred scorers. Being able to get the ball to whom you want, when you want is extremely valuable.
+ 2nd Quarter 7:45 - Back on D, 10 seconds later he cuts off a pass and takes it all the way for a layup but misses. Dunleavy and I are pissed. Not at Mardy, but because none of his teammates trailed the play for the putback. I GUARANTEE you that if Blake was in the game, he would have been right behind Mardy for a follow SLAM!
So are you mad at Mardy for missing? Sure, but REMEMBER he stole the ball. He just took one posession away from the opponents. So in theory he still might have saved you another two point differential. Again, a positive even though he missed!
+ 2nd Quarter 6:23 - Mardy takes a fall away jumper (if you can even call it jumping, haha) with 2 seconds left on the shot clock. He makes it! Lucky? Maybe, but again it saves a possible 4 point swing (shot clock violation).
Again, what's the big deal? Have you not seen how many times other guys have not been aware of the clock and looked utterly embarrassed as the clock goes off? Yeah it's happened quite a bit this season.
+ 2nd Quarter 6:00 - On the Wolves very next possession, Mardy is guarding a Wolve on the perimeter (looks like Brewer). He sees the ball going into Jefferson and he helps Chris by doubling. He floats back out toward Brewer but then sees that Jefferson wants to take Chris one on one (he blew by Camby twice for layups at the beginning of the game). Jefferson gives Chris a good head fake and is about to go around him, but Mardy has been tracking him, going under Kaman and pops out right in front of Jefferson (all the way baseline side) and forces a tough shot. Jefferson misses.
- 2nd Quarter 5:50 - Mardy makes a great cut to the basket and blows a gimme. The Wolves rebound and run back and score before the Clips can setup their D. Mardy was under the basket on his end so was trailing the play, unable to be involved defensively. Bad. 4 point swing for the Wolves.
2nd Quarter 5:23 - Mardy Out
+ 3rd Quarter 0:04 - Dunleavy inserts Mardy with just 4 seconds left in the 3rd. He guards Wilkens as he brings the ball up. Wilkens is whistled for a carry over and the Wolves don't get a last shot to end the quarter. Did Mardy force the turnover? Maybe not. But he did what he was supposed to. He guarded without fouling. Simple but good.
+ 4th Quarter 11:21 - Mardy establishes good position under the basket and fights Ryan Gomes (listed at an inch taller and 20 pounds heavier) for the rebound. Gomes is called for an over the back violation. Mardy does not get credit for a rebound but basically he got one and kept another possession and possible score from the Wolves.
+ 4th Quarter 11:05 - Mardy runs the point! This is an important part of the game. They have not led by more than one point in the entire game and they finally now lead 74-73.
Mardy passes with his left hand directly off the dribble to Novak first, but Steve quickly gets doubled beyond the arc. Mardy wisely tracks sideline so Steve can safely pass out of the double team. He quickly centers and spots Bassy open on the right wing (and Bassy was hot all night. Bassy dribbles around a screen and nails a jumper. So technically - no assist for Mardy. But again, nothing spectacular but solid execution.
+ 4th Quarter 09:11 - Mardy again plays the top of the arc and facilitates swinging the ball from one side to the other. He catches and passes in one smooth motion. Al nails it, Mardy gets an assist.
+ 4th Quarter 08:00 - Mardy keeps his body between the ball and the basket. Brewer is bringing the ball up. Mardy gets up on him. Brewer passes to Flynn. Mardy gets up on him. Flynn passes to Hollins. Mardy gets up on him!
What's so special about that? Some guys would lay off the 7 foot Hollins - especially way out there. It would be easy to think he's not a threat from that distance and play off a little. But Mardy gets just close enough to Hollins to force him into trying to do something he's not comfortable doing and he travels. Did Mardy cause it? Maybe not. But again he played solid defense.
+ 4th Quarter 07:39 - Mardy's best play of the night. The score is 79-77 Clips. The Clips offense had stalled the last two possessions. Bassy ran the point and the last time they had the ball, Kaman was called for a three second violation - turnover. The possession before that, Bassy got it to Craig Smith who proceeded to try a standing jumpshot that Al Jefferson completely snuffed out and pushed out front to Flynn for a layup.
So now Mardy is at point and brings the ball up. They need a bucket badly to keep the Wolves from tying it up and regaining momentum.
At 6'6" he can probably see what's going on a bit better than Bassy from the top of the arc. He gives a slight pass fake to the right and turns it into the world's slowest crossover move.
He actually fakes out his defender and drives into the lane. He sucks in Craig Smith's defender, stops and reaches down low with his left hand and passes it around TWO defenders to Smith for a slam dunk!
The lead goes up to four (the biggest Clipper lead of the night), and the crowd is back into it - energized by the emphatic jam by Craig.
Mike Smith then comments on Mardy, "You don't expect him to do much but he makes those plays in critical moments. That was a perfect delivery."
+ 4th Quarter 07:18 - The very next play, the Wolves go to their star Jefferson and Mardy comes to help Chris. Mardy gets in there trying to swat the ball away. Jefferson stumbles and Mardy tries even harder until they fall to the ground. Mardy reaches CAREFULLY to get his hands on the ball and not foul Jefferson. Jump ball!
Ralph "They'll jump it up at the Minnesota foul line and the first seeds of doubt are sown here for the Minnesota Timberwolves."
Mardy obviously does not win the jump, but Al steals it, runs and gets fouled on the layup. Two made free throws. Who made it all happen? I say Mardy.
Clippers get another stop, they get a fastbreak and Baron goes to Al for a slam dunk. The Wolves call a time out after the Clips have put together a 16-4 run.
+ 4th Quarter 06:10 - The Wolves come back with a new plan and go to their second option as Jefferson has not played well against the Clips double team. They go to Flynn who is super quick and pretty talented. Mardy is all over him with and without the ball. Mardy goes under a screen but pops out in time to get in his grill and effectively contest his shot. He has his hand right near the ball but DOES NOT FOUL. Flynn misses.
- 4th Quarter 03:35 - Mardy gets the ball with 6 seconds left in the shot clock. He airballs a 3 pt attempt from the weakside sideline corner. Disappointing BUT (1) he was open and (2) he knew the clock was winding down and (3) he could probably see that Kaman had good position under the rim for a rebound. In fact Kaman catches Mardy's "pass" but fails to make a jumpshot himself. So Mardy airballed a bailout, but Kaman missed one he usually makes too.
- 4th Quarter 02:35 - This time Mardy gets the ball with 7 seconds left but he is way out, almost at half court. With the clock ticking down to 6 and 5 seconds he works his way towards Chris. No one guards him tight so he takes a fairly uncontested shot. It hits the rim but bounces off for a Wolves rebound. Good shot? Maybe not. But by the time he got the ball - there really was only about 5.5 seconds to try to work it into Kaman (who was working hard to get it). But let's face it - Chris is a shot clock violation waiting to happen so I'm ok with at least getting a shot up (Plus it almost went in).
+ 4th Quarter 02:24 - Mardy is pretty much in zone defense mode and collapses when it looks like Flynn is going to penetrate. Flynn kicks it out to Brewer behind the arc. Mardy recovers and runs out to the three point line and puts a hand in his face BUT DOES NOT FOUL. Brewer misses. Did Mardy make him miss? Maybe not. But once again Mardy hustled to get out there and at least contest it. As seemingly unimportant as that may seem to most people, it could have been the difference in the game. At the very least, another solid defensive effort.
- 4th Quarter 02:05 - Mardy is called for a travel because he is actually taking a step as he catches the ball. When he pivots on the second foot that came down as he was catching the ball, they blow the whistle. Ticky tack, if you ask me - and all of a sudden fans are frustrated with Mardy.
At this point, the only things Mardy detractors remember is the airball 3, a missed jumper and now this turnover at a crucial point in the game. Why is he even in the game??
- 4th Quarter 02:05 - Mardy taken out of game
Final Evaluation Total: 13 (+)Good Plays to 4 (-)Not Good Plays
I can see how fans might casually think Mardy sucks but what they fail to realize is that he invisibly does much more good than harm. Without him in the game, they might not have even been close at the end of the game.
In the five HORRIBLE losses to the Hornets(twice), OKC, Memphis, & Toronto - Mardy only played for 15 minutes TOTAL - most of those were garbage because the Clips were getting blown out. The defense was awful, post entry was horrible and Baron and Bassy were the only ones bringing up the ball.
So in this game, for all the good Mardy did, were his 4 mistakes bad enough to put him behind Ricky Davis on the depth chart next game?
He missed two layups and two jumpshots. Like that doesn't happen to anyone else? And you can't give him a break since this was basically his second game of the year with any kind of meaningful minutes? Doesn't he get some games to round into form?
Plus he probably wouldn't have even taken those jumpshots if they got him the ball earlier in the shot clock.
And the travel? I doubt any refs would have called that same play on Kobe, Bron or any other player the refs recognize. I know I have seen DWade do the same exact catch and turn around and pivot move plenty of times. Clips fans should be mad at the refs and not Mardy on that one.
So there it is. My one game analysis of Mardy Collins and why I like him playing in games for around 12 minutes or more. I think when EJ comes back, Dunleavy should use Mardy when Eric takes breathers. That'll probably mean less minutes but I say he should still come in the game ahead of Ricky.