Darren Collison Is The Future Of The Dallas Mavericks.
He speaks in a mild, unassuming voice. His eyes dart around the room and rarely focus on any point for longer than necessary.
This is especially true when taking questions. He simply offers monotonous platitudes in interview settings. He stares at times — almost blankly — as he responds.
His task, as it should be, is on the court.
On the court, Darren Collison is a different person. He forgoes the drab, almost robotic, persona of the interview and takes on a new character. Here, he transforms in to a beautiful shark, moving, gliding and never relenting.
In just a few short weeks, Darren Collison has transformed the Mavericks' offense and laid waste to the dogma established by his predecessor, leading this team into a promising unknown.
Again, credit head coach Rick Carlisle for having the foresight here. When Collison came to the Mavericks, Rick Carlisle instantly gave him the reins to freelance the offense.
The team was to be run on the fly, with only a few set plays. They were to utilize speed to their advantage, racing down the court in a dynamic manner. This, of course, is where Collison shines. In the open court, where the brevity of transition hosts a range of possibilities, he can exploit them all.
There are your New Mavericks.
The old roster has been cast out, relegated elsewhere. Some of these former beacons will, of course, one day be enshrined into a Hall to grow old. But they're no longer with us and dwelling on the past serves no purpose when it segregates the present.
Still, Collison's time in Dallas is haunted by the past — both his own and those of others. And comparisons will continue to be made where none should be.
In Dallas, the grandiose guides our narrative. Collison has everything to prove while the monolith of history works against him. How can he compare to the names that already have been, or one day will be, immortalized in the rafters? The Mavericks have an NBA championship under their belt. Until they do so again, no player can ever be so bold as to tread on the names of the enshrined.
The Dallas Cowboys are a perfect example of Dallas' reluctance to unchain ourselves from the past. It has been 20 years since the Cowboys dismantled the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII. Yet, this team (and the subsequent championship teams of the 1990s) remains the foundation for all comparisons that the Cowboys receive.
Taking pride in past achievements is one thing. Forgoing reason to hold onto an ideal that can never be replicated is another. It alters perception.
Why should we look back when there is victory in the mystery of the present and future?
Darren Collison represents that future. He will never embody the Neoclassicism of Jason Kidd — nor should he. Collison leaves in his wake a bevy of lines, thrusting in unison, as he builds speed, hurling himself towards the rim. His body and uniform merge into one, channeling Giacomo Balla and Umberto Boccioni as his speed builds and he gathers himself to rise.
He is completely new in that regard. The Mavericks have never had a point guard with his skill set. He is an artist. Whereas Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is a Cubist, Darren Collison is a Futurist. He embraces movement.
Only during his crossover, which is underrated, does Collisonâ€™s defender sense that his movement has ceased, if only for a moment. The reality is that he has only shifted gears. Once the ball switches from one of his hands to the other, he has fully prepared an attack. He lurches backwards — ever so slightly — then roars forward once an avenue has presented itself.
It is almost Westbrookian in its simplicity. And yet it's more refined. It's violent.
Whether finishing with a dunk or a pull-up jumper in transition, Collison is leading the Mavericks forward in Dirk Nowitzki's absence. As the injuries pile up, though, Collison's penchant for speed becomes hampered as the team plays more in the half-court, where the team generally struggles.
Fortunately, though, thank to Collison, there is beauty in this struggle. Embrace it.
It's a better fate than continuing a futile worship of the past, for sure.