In watching the NBA Finals last night it was a very enjoyable second half watching former Jayhawk Nick Collison do all the little things in helping his team win. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will always get the most publicity as they should and even Serge Ibaka gets the most run on the interior for the Thunder, but almost without fail Nick Collison will do the little things.
Now obviously Collison chose to attend Kansas and play for Roy Williams. Williams ran an up and down style, Collison along with Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich formed one of the great single classes of all time in terms of success at Kansas. But what if Collison had been a Bill Self led big man?
It's well documented that Self has produced his fair share of NBA big man talent. Kansas bigs are an intricate part of every offensive set and Kansas bigs have been consistent on the defensive end over the years under Self. Williams had great teams, but it's hard to deny that the Self led teams have had something a little extra when it comes to toughness.
In watching Collison in the NBA, it almost feels as though his game has molded in a way that would have fit extremely well in Self's system. Yes the Thunder get up and down the court and Collison's ability to do that was a huge reason he fit well in the Roy Williams system, but does Nick Collison find himself as a more pro ready prospect under Self?
Perhaps pro ready isn't the right term here, but does Collison find himself as more polished player in the role that he now assumes because Self's style would have fit his ultimate NBA positioning a little better? Honestly it's hard to really look at Collison's career at Kansas and question any part of it. Williams and Collison were extremely successful together. But he was a senior on the last Kansas team Williams would coach and we're now all very familiar and pleased with Self's big man production. It just begs the question as to how Collison's path would have shifted or even if it would have shifted had he played four years under Bill Self.