Mardy Collins ● 6 feet, 6 inches ● 220 pounds ● GuardOver the final 96 minutes of the 2011-12 NBA D-League season, as the Los Angeles D-Fenders watched the Austin Toros rip the championship trophy from their hands, Mardy Collins was one of the few D-Fenders to make it tough on them.
The veteran of four NBA seasons – and former Temple standout – had spent most of the year working his way back from injuries. First, he sprained his MCL and spent a month rehabbing that. Then, as he got himself back into game shape and tried to crack into an L.A. lineup that was doing just fine without him thank-you-very-much, he pulled his hamstring and missed some more time.
So it wasn’t until the postseason that a truly healthy Collins took the floor. And when he did, he dominated.
His regular-season scoring average of 10 ppg ballooned up to 17.4 in the postseason, including a 31-point effort in Game 3 of the NBA D-League Finals to serve as, basically, L.A.’s only offense. He used his size to muscle through smaller guards and create space on the inside as well as a fine-tuned shot to force the defense out on him. All in all, few players shined as bright as he did during the championship series.
His performance harkened back to his 2008-09 run with the Clippers, when Collins averaged 5.9 points, 2.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 20 minutes a night for LA (after coming over from the Knicks, who drafted him in 2006) to hint at what kind of player he could be, given the time to show it. Collins, who started 14 of the 39 games he played for the Clips that year, had one particularly hot stretch where he scored in double-figures in nine of 12 games (playing 35 minutes or more in 10 of those games), including a 12-point, 11-assist night against the Bucks on Jan. 17, 2009.