Pro/Con: Should the Suns keep Collins?

Jarron Collins

Jarron Collins

We are still a week or so away from the Suns having to make this decision, but with Robin Lopez returning to practice on Friday for his first full-contact workout since fracturing his foot during training camp, the Suns will soon have to decide whether it’s worth keeping Jarron Collins around.

ValleyoftheSuns’ Michael Schwartz and Tyler Lockman debate what the Suns should do with their veteran center once Lopez proves his health.

Pro: Just look at the Houston tape

When the Suns claimed Collins’ non-guaranteed contract during the preseason, I wondered why they even bothered since he seemed like the antithesis of a player who would thrive in the Suns’ system, particularly since head coach Alvin Gentry said he didn’t think Phoenix should sign a guy unless he could crack the rotation.

There’s certainly nothing flashy about Collins’ game, but unlike Stromile Swift last year, Collins can help this basketball team. He’s spent eight years with Utah and Jerry Sloan and in that time has seen it all, and he’s seen it in the Western Conference.

He’s a guy who can handle not playing for days at a time and still stay ready to step in when foul trouble calls to contribute to a win, as he did with six points, six boards, two blocks and solid defense in 13 second-half minutes Tuesday in Houston.

Most of all he’s a calming veteran influence who can be more of a mentor to Lopez than the selfish Shaqtus ever was, and he’s a reliable insurance policy in case one of Phoenix’s bigs go down for an extended period.

In reality most NBA rosters hold more than the minimum, although the Suns have always kept to the minimum the past few years largely for financial reasons. A full year of Collins at the minimum, offset by what the NBA contributes, is about $825K, so even with the luxury tax you’re only looking at about another $2 million. If need be they can cut the useless Taylor Griffin to save a chunk of that change.

If the Suns are the Western Conference contender they seem to be, Jarron Collins is the kind of player who will come in handy in a clutch situation later in the year. You don’t want to be wondering “what if?” if the injury bug bites again and Collins is nowhere to be found.

– Michael Schwartz

Con: The minutes aren’t there

There is no doubting that Jarron Collins brings a veteran presence and a wealth of knowledge to the Phoenix Suns, but with Robin Lopez returning soon, there will simply be no place left for him on the team.

Channing Frye is the starter for now and he is getting more consistent as he adjusts to the Suns’ system. Lou Amundson has been a very capable backup, pulling 5.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in about 15 minutes per game. More than that, he has been a defensive asset, blocking shots and making stops.

Lopez, however, is the biggest reason to send Collins on his way. With a year of experience under his belt and (hopefully) improved strength, Lopez should move into the primary backup role once his tank is full. If his strength is there, he has the size to be a great rebounder. He should also bring an immediate shot-blocking presence.

Collins — though he averages just 1.5 ppg and 2.4 rpg — has been valuable in tight situations, like his six-point, six-rebound performance against the Houston Rockets when the Suns’ primary big men were in foul trouble. But Lopez can provide that and more.

Keeping three centers on this team just doesn’t make sense, and it’s unusual for the Suns to hang on to more than the roster minimum anyway. Although I’m sure the Suns are grateful for what Collins has provided thus far, I just can’t see them keeping him.

Plain and simple, there are no minutes for Collins in the purple and orange.

– Tyler Lockman

Should the Suns keep Collins or release him? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

  • Kevin

    Keep him for the rest of the season the let him go.

  • Zane

    naw he sucks.

  • Eddie

    Keep him for at least a month or so after Lopez is back. See if Lopez has grown up and can really contribute. See if Collins can be a good mentor. See if there are more opportunities for Collins to contribute. Keeping him for a month or two does not require the Suns to keep him the full year, right?

  • justin

    i see no reason not to keep him. at worst he can help lopez get better.. its not like we dont have a spot for him.. and why would we keep griffin over collins? collins can actually help at times

  • Arnie

    I agree with Eddie, keep him for a month to see what Lopez really looks like. I don’t know how that affects the salary situation, but it seems like the best insurance policy.

    I wish Griffin would have been given a few minutes. I think he showed some promise in the summer league. He might turn out to be another Dudley.

  • Michael Schwartz

    Eddie, according to Larry Coon’s salary cap FAQ, contracts become guaranteed on Jan. 10. Not sure if there’s a provision in Collins’ contract that states otherwise.

  • SAS

    There’s no downside to keeping Collins on our roster, other than money that is. And god knows how cheap our owner is. Although the league has gotten smaller, there are still some teams that we need Collins to help defend against. People make it sound as if Lopez and Collins are one and the same. Nobody knows how Lopez will do, but I don’t see him guarding bigs as well as Collins. Worst-case scenario if we keep him is he mentors Lopez and is a good locker room presence. If we don’t have a big like Collins on our team, we will get absolutely raped against the bigger teams in the league.

  • huh

    The real question is whether to keep Lopez or not. This is a guy that is not a good rebounder [his brother is], not a good offensive player [his brother is] and not a very good defender [his brother is]. He is a slow footed guy who lacks body control and hunts for shot blocks – which is why his foul rate is so high. He will not help the suns now, nor in the future. He will be in the league for a while simply because he is tall and smart. However, he will never even contribute as much as Sean Marks has.

  • Gelo

    keep him and throw taylor griffin away

  • jay thatch

    collins has been a great part of “planet purple” (phoenix’s bench) and has given the suns exactly what they have needed when they have called on him to play. he brings years of expierence playing disciplined basketball from utah, and would be a key factor when the games get physical in the playoffs. griffin or tucker are both expendable at this point.

  • Pedro

    keep collins and dump Griffin. Griffin is useless and a waste of a draft pick and money. I cannot stand griffin. He does not even deserve to play in the D league. Screw you griffin!

  • KJ Loyalist

    We’ve had Lopez for a year and you’re talking about how he’ll never contribute and how he’s not as good as his brother? A true Suns fan would’ve learned his lesson nearly a decade ago.

    We drafted a point guard who we sent away because his progress wasn’t up to what we then wanted it to be. We didn’t give him the time to develop and because of that, really, we lost a bunch of years.

    A lot of fans said that he was too slow and clumsy and that he wouldn’t amount to anything. I believe his name was Steve Nash, wasn’t it?

    Learn the lessons we didn’t learn with guys like Nash, Finley and others by keeping and cultivating Lopez. I’d keep Collins and cut ties with Griffin. He’s a live body and he’d get picked up by somebody else.

  • The Z. Man

    Must be a joke, mate. How can you even put the lesser twin in the same sentence as one of the most skillful, focused, and competitive players to ever play the game in Nash?

    That stuff you’re smoking must be awfully good. Send some over here. Then I can delude myself that this clod could somehow (without even the help of a telephone booth) grow into Mr. 4th Quarter. Have you heard the one that goes like: “Once upon a time, in a far distant land, a very long time…”?

    Feel sorry for our lesser twin, but JC does look good. Let’s not repeat our mistakes of letting go other capable big men like Kurt and Sean. Have felt that our recovering center may be having some separation difficulties from his twin. They were always together until last year. More than that, he seems VERY immature. If we are so set on developing this player with virtually zero upside that will usually hurt the team he is playing with, why don’t we go for twin reunion and make a stab at getting his twin from the Nets. Nets have zero going for them and a new owner who will need to make changes. They have a rich new Russian boss who would probably love to toss cash at our 360-dunk (or is that “drunk”?) dude who hasn’t integrated with the team and costs our Suns several arms and some legs. Nets tossing in Devin Harris would make the numbers work and they can take Goran Tragic. This would clear the way for LB to play with Nash. They feed off of each other so well. When they both start, the Suns are at their best.

    MUST start and ALSO finish with LB.
    Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Bart Cillekens

    Must agree with the Z. Man….get the other Lopez from the Nets and get rid of JRich…his contract is way too heavy for what he delivers and he’s inconsistent. Move LB into the starting guard and get a veteran guard as backup…oh yeah…..throw in Frye with JRich and we may get Devin Harris too, then you can trade Dragic, Griffin and Tucker for some no-name forward plus/or an improved draft pick. Finally keep Collins for coaching, atmosphere, insurance ….any reason you can think of.

  • King Fahad

    Absolutely, we should keep him! He is another coming of what Kurt Thomas was to us a few years back, and we know how that could of turned out if it wasn’t for a bloody nose and players jumping out of the bench?!?

  • King Fahad

    Also, if we need to keep it to the bare minimum, waive Taylor Griffin and Alando Tucker. We would also be able to add another shooter or insurance policy backup PG if Dragic was to get hurt.

  • Jason Ellis

    I say keep him. We another big to absorb fouls when Stoudemire is on the bench. Lopez is an unknown presence at this time. Let go of Griffin if anything, he’s played like three minutes all season.

  • KJ Loyalist

    The Z. Man – wrestling reference?

    Anyway, What I'm "smoking" must be spot on because what you just said about Lopez is exactly what 99% of Suns fans said about Steve Nash before we gave him away to Dallas.

    Nash was a "bum" in the eyes of many Suns fans, then we celebrated as if we won the lottery when we got him back. We don't need the Lopez in New Jersey because we don't play that style.