Darren Collison: “I want to make the playoffs this year”

August 20, 2010 – 9:50 am by Chris Fedor

When Chris Paul got injured last season in New Orleans it opened up the door for Darren Collison to get his chance at starting. He took the job and ran with it. Collison quickly became one of the best rookies in the NBA and showed that he can be legitimate starting point guard in the league. After the Hornets talked with Chris Paul and seemingly worked out a way to keep him in the Big Easy, it made Collison more expendable.

The Hornets dealt away the promising young point guard in a four-team trade that brought Trevor Ariza to New Orleans to play on the wing with Chris Paul and Collison landed in Indiana. The Pacers have been looking for a promising, young starting point guard to match up with guys like Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Jameer Nelson, and some of the top point guards in the Eastern Conference and now it looks like Indiana has their point guard for the next decade or so. Collison is still relatively unproven and will have to build on his rookie season, but he’s still going to be just 23 years old when the season starts and has the look of a top point guard in the league.

Darren Collison joined 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis with the Ride and JMV to talk about how he feels to be a Pacer right now, how healthy he is right now, whether or not he was motivated last year by being passed up a number of times in the NBA Draft, whether or not he thought he would get traded to Indiana, what he learned from Chris Paul during his time in New Orleans, and what his goals are for this season.

On what is it that he injured and how significant it is:

“It’s nothing broken. It’s just fractured. I will be ready to go before training camp. It’s just a slow process right now. It’s not a real cast over it. It’s just a cautionary thing over it that keeps me healing the right way.”

On whether or not he was motivated because he slid in the NBA Draft:

“Yeah definitely it was a motivation tool for me. Anytime you get to play against teams that pass you up, you definitely want to take it personal. That’s something I thrive on, that’s something that fuels me, and it fueled me for my first year to prove to people that I can play this game.”

On whether he thought he would be traded to Indiana and when he first heard about them having an interest:

“I actually thought I got traded there earlier in the summer, but I guess my GM told me it was a rumor or something like that. I thought I got traded to Indiana. Indiana was in great talks to try and get me there. I really didn’t pay too much attention to it because at the end of the day it was just rumors and you really don’t know too much about it until it actually goes through.”

On how much it helped him being in New Orleans with Chris Paul:

“Yeah. You know when I first got there playing against Chris who is one of the best players in the NBA in my eyes, in order to get better I knew I had to compete against him so I could thrive on that. I knew I was going to get better myself in years to come. I definitely had that experience to come with me and little did I know I would get traded to a team that I got to eventually take control and have those same qualities that Chris had with his team and try to develop those qualities myself too. I can never be like Chris Paul, I can never be like Deron Williams, or Steve Nash. I can have my own experience but definitely is a learning tool to learn from those guys.”

On what he has to do to get Indiana going back in the right direction:

“I think it starts with me and the other core players of this team. I think we have to understand what our goals are for this team and it starts in training camp. We all have to be on the same page, we all have to make sure we’re gelling together, and we all got to compete in practice and make sure whatever coach is asking for it gets done. Once that’s happening, as the season goes on, it will take care of itself. I think we have a lot of good things to look forward to, but I want to make the playoffs this year. I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to do none of that. I don’t want to talk about it, and I wanna work hard to make the playoffs this year. I think this city and this organization deserves it.”

Listen to Darren Collison on 1070 the Fan in Indy here

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