DALLAS -- When Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle decided to move Darren Collison from the starting point guard spot to being a key figure off the bench on Mar. 6, he figured it would make his bench that much more productive.
Consider the move productive.
Since Collison was relagated to the backup point guard position, the Mavs are 6-2 and playing their best basketball of the season. But Carlisle doesn't want anyone thinking that putting Collison on the bench was any sort of demotion.
"I think the things that are just as important is the fact that even though he’s an off
the bench guy at this point and time, I view him as one of our starters,'' Carlisle said after Wednesday morning's shoot around at American Airlines Center. "Much like Jason Terry was for four years here.
"Jet was one of our better players, but he came off the bench and gave us a lot in that role. We need Darren to do the same thing.''
Collison would rather start for the Mavs because he believes he's a bonafide starter in the NBA. But for now he just wants to contribute to this team's success, regardless of what his role has become.
"I just want to be able to help this team win in any way possible,'' Colliosn said. "We've been on a roll here lately, and any way I can help to contribute to that success, that's what I want to do.''
In the eight games he's played since moving into what looks like a permanent role off the bench, Collison has averaged 12 points and 4.4 assists in 25.1 minutes per contest. He's also given the Mavs' offense a new and refreshing look.
"I think coming off the bench he has a lot more energy,'' shooting guard OJ Mayo said. "He definitely gives us a switch in tempo.
"When he comes in the game he’s pushing it, he’s guarding 94 feet and he's just really being a hard-playing guard.''
Hard-playing guard play is precisely what the Mavs need at this juncture of the season. Especially tonight at 7 when the Mavs (32-35) host Brookyln (39-28) and Nets superstar point guard Deron Williams.
"He’s a starting caliber player that when he comes off the bench he can come in and impact the game immediately with his quickness and with his speed,'' Carlisle said of Collison. "He’s learned how we play, he’s learned about the guys around him, and defensively we need him to be aggressive.
"He can pressure the ball, he can disrupt rhythm that way. All those things are important.''
-- Dwain Price
Follow me on Twitter