2003-04 Sonics Preview: Nick Collison
Nathaniel S. Butler/ NBAE/Getty
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“The guy who has impressed me the most is Nick Collison. … That's my pick for Rookie of the Year.”
- Allen Iverson

Position: Forward/Center
Height: 6-9
Weight: 255

2002-03 Stats (at Kansas)
G MPG PPG RPG APG FG% FT% 3P%
38 32.4 18.5 10.0 2.2 .554 .635 .342

Role:
Injured List. Following surgery on his shoulders, Nick Collison will miss the entire 2003-04 season. Between now and his return to the court, hopefully as soon as next June, Collison’s focus will be on rehabbing his shoulders and coming back stronger than ever.

Outlook:
A season-ending injury is always disappointing, but it was doubly so for Collison because of how excited everyone in the organization was to get him on the court in regular-season games. With the experience of four years of college, playing for the Sonics summer-league squad and playing for Team USA in the FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Collison was as prepared to be an NBA rookie as any player in recent memory. Observers had taken notice – witness Iverson’s quote above.

As disappointing as the injury is, it should merely delay Collison’s impact on the Sonics. After undergoing the same surgery, Sacramento Kings forward Chris Webber developed into one of the NBA’s best players. Given Collison’s strong work ethic and desire to get back to playing basketball, a successful rehab is to be expected. And don’t throw out Iverson’s quote just yet – Collison will retain his rookie eligibility next season and be a top Rookie of the Year contender. (In a similar situation, Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas was named to the All-Rookie team in 1997-98 after missing the entire 1996-97 season with a broken right foot.)