After Vanquishing Magic, Can Hawks Retire Jason Collins?

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Jason Collins might be the MVP of the Atlanta Hawks' NBA Playoffs victory over the Orlando Magic. When Collins was on the floor, according to StatsCube, the Magic scored just 80 points per 100 possessions, a dreadfully low figure, worse than the worst offenses in the league. When Collins was on the bench, Orlando scored 110 points per 100 possessions, which is quite good.

But Dwight Howard is, in all likelihood, the last elite center the Hawks will face, with Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls up next. Is it time to put Collins in mothball until next season?

It's worth noting that Orlando's offense wasn't the only one Collins killed in the first round: he's a magnificent drain on Atlanta's own attack, with the Hawks scoring 83 points per 100 possessions against Orlando with Collins on the floor and 104 without. To judge whether Collins' defense is worth it given the Bulls' guard-focused attack and lacking meaningful data on Collins vs. Chicago, we need to sort out whether Collins' defensive impact was solely on Howard or the entire Magic attack.

Of course, it's impossible to separate Howard from the Magic attack, because he is the fulcrum of that attack. But note that when Collins was on the floor, Howard averaged 16.1 points per 36 minutes on 56 percent shooting. With Collins on the bench, Howard averaged 26.9 points per 36 minutes on 66 percent shooting. And if you're looking for hints as to which way Larry Drew will go? Collins played zero minutes in the first round when Howard was on the bench.

For the record, Collins had extremely limited opportunity, just 23 minutes, against Chicago in the regular season.

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