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You could forgive the Bulls, though, if they ended up taking a mulligan on this season while Rose recovers from a torn ACL. Much as the Dallas Mavericks did last season, when they let Tyson Chandler walk and opted, instead, to save their pennies for this summer.
Things didn't quite work out as Mark Cuban and company had planned, what with Deron Williams choosing to re-up with the Brooklyn Nets and Dwight Howard's opt-in ending with him in a Lakers uniform. Not that all is necessarily lost (again) for the Mavs. GM Donnie Nelson made some smart moves to retool his roster this summer, including trading Ian Mahinmi to the Indiana Pacers for Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones.
Collison, in particular, will have a chance to shine as the all-but-guaranteed everyday starter at point guard for the first time in his career. The UCLA product was stuck behind Chris Paul in New Orleans to start his career, and later found his place on the Pacers' depth chart usurped by George Hill.
Now, he'll have the opportunity to strut his stuff while surrounded with talented scorers like Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, O.J. Mayo and Chris Kaman. As well he should. The speedy Collison has fared far better as a starter (13.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 37.1 percent from three) than he has coming off the bench (6.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 29.4 percent from three).
Throw in the fact that this'll be a contract year for Collison, and it's no wonder the 2012-13 season is shaping up to be the biggest and best of his young career.