10 Players the New Orleans Pelicans gave up on way too soon

New Orleans Pelicans, Chris Paul (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
New Orleans Pelicans, Chris Paul (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Darren Collison
New Orleans Pelicans, Darren Collison (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

7. Darren Collison

The Pelicans drafted Darren Collison with the 21st overall pick in 2009, and he immediately became the team’s backup point guard behind Chris Paul. CP3 was a three-time All-Star, who had led the league in assists and steals for two straight years, and it would have been difficult to play the two undersized point guards together.

Collison averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 assists, and one steal in 27.8 minutes per game as a rookie, as he shot 47.7 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from 3-point range. The then-Hornets missed the playoffs after making it two straight years, as Paul was limited to 45 games because of injury.  During that time, Collison’s minutes increased, and he showcased his promise.

The Pelicans decided to trade Darren Collison in the 2010 off-season in a deal that brought Trevor Ariza to New Orleans. It allowed them to get a better fit next to Chris Paul, and New Orleans was back in the playoffs in 2011 before things fell apart.

CP3 was in Los Angeles after one more year, and the Pelicans won just 82 games over the next three years combined. Collison immediately became the starting point guard for the Pacers and he had them in the playoffs in 2011. He was a starter for nine straight years, and the Pelicans certainly missed him after trading away Chris Paul just one year after dealing Collison.