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Thread: The PG Conundrum & Other NBA Stories

  1. #1
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    Default The PG Conundrum & Other NBA Stories

    My latest thoughts about Flynn, Knight and the PG conundrum.

    http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfen...r-nba-stories/

    So I don't have to repeat it in various places here. A taste:

    That’s why the upcoming draft is such a concern with me. The player that seems to be the most probable Raptor, come June 23rd, seems to be Brandon Knight. Now, I have nothing against Brandon Knight. I think he’s a very good player and, from what I gather, is a very intelligent young man. My problem, however, is that he doesn’t seem to actually be a point guard. None of his strengths (size, scoring ability) are those that you’d look for in a point guard and his weaknesses (questionable decision making, turnover prone, not a great passer) are kind of red flags for a point guard, don’t you think?

    The argument I’ve heard supporting drafting him is that he can learn the point guard position. Lots of players have come into the league with questionable PG skills and flourished, haven’t they? Well, no. Not really.

    In the last ten years, 19 PGs with universally questionable PG skills have been drafted in the first round: Eric Bledsoe, Avery Bradley, Jonny Flynn, Jrue Holiday, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Jerryd Bayless, George Hill, Rodney Stuckey, Aaron Brooks, Shannon Brown, Nate Robinson, Luther Head, Ben Gordon, Devin Harris, Delonte West, Kirk Hinrich, Marcus Banks and Juan Dixon.

    And that’s not including scoring PGs, who showed the ability to run an offense in college, but whose best attribute was probably scoring, like John Wall or Derrick Rose. It also doesn’t include those that were really SGs, but their teams decided to try and convert them to PG, like Tyreke Evans, Randy Foye and Joe Forte.

    Now, there are a lot of talented players on that list. But there are also a lot of players who either have been shipped around from team to team because teams end up longing for a real PG to run their offense, or simply become bench players who can provide instant offense off the bench. And only one of those players have been able to lead his team past the first round of the playoffs as a starting PG. Russell Westbrook. And, as I mentioned, Westbrook’s lack of true PG skills is coming back to haunt him.
    Last edited by Arsenalist; Tue Jun 7th, 2011 at 07:51 PM. Reason: Preview of the article
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    I've also been quite curious why Raptors fans seem to prefer non-PG PGs. Is there something inherently blue collar about PGs like Jack and not Calderon that appeals to Torontonians?

    My deal with Flynn isn't so much because of anything Flynn has done or proved over his two years, but the lure of going from hoping that Kanter falls to us at #5 to being able to guarantee drafting him if he's the one we want.

    I like Calderon, and have always believed in Calderon over Ford, Jack, Bayless, etc., but we're not competing now, and by the time we do compete he'll likely have lost yet another step. I'm not so opposed to downgrading from Calderon when he will unlikely be part of our future anyway. Flynn is just filler, but if he does turn his career around, that's bonus for us.

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    Quote Quixotic wrote: View Post
    I've also been quite curious why Raptors fans seem to prefer non-PG PGs. Is there something inherently blue collar about PGs like Jack and not Calderon that appeals to Torontonians?

    My deal with Flynn isn't so much because of anything Flynn has done or proved over his two years, but the lure of going from hoping that Kanter falls to us at #5 to being able to guarantee drafting him if he's the one we want.

    I like Calderon, and have always believed in Calderon over Ford, Jack, Bayless, etc., but we're not competing now, and by the time we do compete he'll likely have lost yet another step. I'm not so opposed to downgrading from Calderon when he will unlikely be part of our future anyway. Flynn is just filler, but if he does turn his career around, that's bonus for us.
    I certainly not against trading Calderon, if it makes the team better. I just don't feel there is a need to trade him for the sake of trading him. I'm also not completely against trading for Flynn, but, like you, don't think he's the answer at PG. I think what he will be is an asset that, unlike Calderon, won't go down in value and has a chance of going up. A Calderon for Flynn deal works, in my mind, not because Flynn is better (which he isn't) but because Flynn is younger and Calderon's trade value won't get any higher.

    As for Knight, though, I don't think drafting a guy at the 5th spot to be a tradable asset is a good idea. And those who think he's going to be the answer at PG might be disappointed.
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    Quote Quixotic wrote: View Post
    I've also been quite curious why Raptors fans seem to prefer non-PG PGs.
    Its the same reasons fans have preferred (over valued) Jalen Rose, Mike James, Damn Stoudamire, Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani.

    Scoring scoring scoring. I know its talked about regularily... but this fascination with someone's ability to score tends to supersede all other abilities and somehow hides their weaknesses. If a guy can score he's a good PG/C/SG etc. If a guy can score he's a good defender. If a guy can score he's the best player on the team. If a guy can score he's untradeable and should be built around.

    And right now with PGs be the hot commodity..... well it just makes it worse.

    I guarantee this.. if Jose did everything he does now and scored 5+ more points a game he'd be viewed as a steal for his contract, and his D would rarely be mentioned. If Demar scored 5 less points a game he'd be useless and people would want him off the team.

    Thats not saying scoring isn't important, and all people feel this way.... but its a common tendency even with those who are supposed to be "experts" (announcers, pundits, journalists etc)

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    This is very true. The counter to that is that you can't win if you don't score, but that's obviously far too simplistic. You also can't win if you don't play defense or rebound or do all the other things that good teams need to do to win. In a one game situation, you can simply outscore the other team, but over 82 games and in the playoffs, you need to do so many other things. And in the playoffs, everything is magnified. Oklahoma, despite being a very talented team, has two weaknesses: lack of inside scoring and no player that can really make those around him better. Against Dallas, those weaknesses ended up being their achilles heel. Westbrook, for all his scoring talent, struggled to make his teammates better and now I wouldn't be shocked if he ends up being traded in the next year or two.

    And I also have never understood why Calderon has not gotten more respect from Raptor fans. He's been far better than many have given him credit for.
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    I agree with you Tim, which is why I think Kemba is the better choice with our pick. Yes, his jump shot is a ways off, but I think he knows how to run a team as good as or better than any point guard we've seen in the last few draft classes. He has a lot of the same qualities as Jose... his teammates like and respect him, he's a responsible ball handler, and he wants to get everyone involved. The bonus is he plays defence. I know some people don't buy the idea that he "had to score" last year for UConn, but I do, and I think it just means that he's learned how to be a scorer when his team needs him to. That, to me, is the sign of an very good point guard.

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    Quote GarbageTime wrote: View Post
    Its the same reasons fans have preferred (over valued) Jalen Rose, Mike James, Damn Stoudamire, Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani.

    Scoring scoring scoring. I know its talked about regularily... but this fascination with someone's ability to score tends to supersede all other abilities and somehow hides their weaknesses. If a guy can score he's a good PG/C/SG etc. If a guy can score he's a good defender. If a guy can score he's the best player on the team. If a guy can score he's untradeable and should be built around.

    And right now with PGs be the hot commodity..... well it just makes it worse.

    I guarantee this.. if Jose did everything he does now and scored 5+ more points a game he'd be viewed as a steal for his contract, and his D would rarely be mentioned. If Demar scored 5 less points a game he'd be useless and people would want him off the team.

    Thats not saying scoring isn't important, and all people feel this way.... but its a common tendency even with those who are supposed to be "experts" (announcers, pundits, journalists etc)
    I don't know if I would agree that it's a scoring only thing. I mean, yes, some people do love players for scoring, but I don't think those are the fans I'm referring to (the fans that loved Jack last year are definitely not the same guys as the ones that love Bargnani, I think it's safe to say). They also went crazy for Avery Bradley last year, and I don't think anyone could say he was really a scorer. It just seems like people would rather see our PG do drive and kicks than actually be good at running an offense.
    Last edited by Quixotic; Wed Jun 8th, 2011 at 01:19 AM.

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    Quote Quixotic wrote: View Post
    I don't know if I would agree that it's a scoring only thing. I mean, yes, some people do love players for scoring, but I don't think those are the fans I'm referring to (the fans that loved Jack last year are definitely not the same guys as the ones that love Bargnani, I think it's safe to say). They also went crazy for Avery Bradley last year, and I don't think anyone could say he was really a scorer. It just seems like people would rather see our PG do drive and kicks than actually be good at running an offense.
    And I agree with this, too. I think there is this belief that you have to drive and dish to be a good PG, because that's what they see the great PGs doing. What they don't seem to notice them doing, though, is the mundane, like running an offense. The PG position isn't necessarily a spectacular one. I remember having an argument about who was the better PG back when Mike Bibby was in Vancouver, Jason Williams or Bibby. Williams had great vision and made passes that brought people out of their seats, but that doesn't mean he was the better PG. Bibby, though unspectacular, simply knew how to run an offense better than Williams.
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    Quote Quixotic wrote: View Post
    I don't know if I would agree that it's a scoring only thing. I mean, yes, some people do love players for scoring, but I don't think those are the fans I'm referring to (the fans that loved Jack last year are definitely not the same guys as the ones that love Bargnani, I think it's safe to say). They also went crazy for Avery Bradley last year, and I don't think anyone could say he was really a scorer. It just seems like people would rather see our PG do drive and kicks than actually be good at running an offense.
    Its not a matter of it being scoring only... its that a player ability to score (whether perceived, real or potential) becomes an overly important factor.

    Even the idea of a penetrating/'drive and kick' pg is based in the concept that a PG can score if he penetrates.

    The idea of a player scoring simply becomes the excuse/reasoning as to why a player is good or a better choice. And generally a player needs to be incredibly good or incredibly terrible at some other areas of the game to change that.

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    Quote GarbageTime wrote: View Post
    Its not a matter of it being scoring only... its that a player ability to score (whether perceived, real or potential) becomes an overly important factor.

    Even the idea of a penetrating/'drive and kick' pg is based in the concept that a PG can score if he penetrates.

    The idea of a player scoring simply becomes the excuse/reasoning as to why a player is good or a better choice. And generally a player needs to be incredibly good or incredibly terrible at some other areas of the game to change that.
    just thought I'd add a few other things that fans seem to put too much value in:

    -Highlight reel plays (as noticed in Tim's Bibby vs White Chocolate example)

    -youth/'potential' (as seen in the Flynn for Jose trade discussion)

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    ^ Agree about the highlight reel comment. I'm not saying Miami's big 2 aren't two of the best players in the league, but for at least the first three games, almost every clip/commercial/transition was Wade or James dunking. I'm sure Dallas would be just fine with the entire NBA's marketing scheme being focused on Miami and Wade and James being named finals co-mvps, masters of the universe, whatever, if Dallas wins. I have found playing and reffing now that a lot of kids would rather look good and lose than look bad and win.

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    Quote GarbageTime wrote: View Post
    Its not a matter of it being scoring only... ....can score if he penetrates.
    Happens everytime and is just not debatable.

    Couldn't resist

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    Alright, I give. Keep Calderone.

    I have nothing against Jose except he cannot stay healthy and then plays in the offseason for Spain. He fails @ rest. I did not care if Flynn was good or not, he seemed worth the chance to try getting the #2 pick. So the reasoning is that we need someone to run the offense. (true) And the #2 pick is not worth losing Jose for the coming year. (meh) And with Barney hopefully leaving town we could try and find a C. At least temporarily.

    Which would give us:
    DD: SG
    ED: PF

    And maybe Williams with the #2 pick as SG / SF. We would hopefully have 3 competitive pieces in place. With Barney still on the table to gain us an actual useful basketball player. I was willing to live with this. Ah well.
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    Quote bloodyhandedgod wrote: View Post
    Alright, I give. Keep Calderone.

    I have nothing against Jose except he cannot stay healthy and then plays in the offseason for Spain. He fails @ rest. I did not care if Flynn was good or not, he seemed worth the chance to try getting the #2 pick. So the reasoning is that we need someone to run the offense. (true) And the #2 pick is not worth losing Jose for the coming year. (meh) And with Barney hopefully leaving town we could try and find a C. At least temporarily.

    Which would give us:
    DD: SG
    ED: PF

    And maybe Williams with the #2 pick as SG / SF. We would hopefully have 3 competitive pieces in place. With Barney still on the table to gain us an actual useful basketball player. I was willing to live with this. Ah well.
    I'm not against trading Calderon if it makes the team better. However much I'm not a fan of Flynn, I can actually see the logic to doing a Calderon for Flynn swap. Calderon's trade value will only go down as he gets older, and Flynn's may actually go up if he starts to play better in a different environment. For a team, like the Raptors, that is still a year or two away from making the playoffs, it makes sense.

    I'd also trade Calderon for the #2 pick in a second. Actually in less time than that. I don't see Kahn being that stupid, though.
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    Eh...
    @jerboat

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    It's more like OKC only real scoring options being Westbrook, Durant (who struggles to break free from his opponent and get open) and Harden is coming back to haunt them.

    But anyways, I'd rather take a chance on Bayless than to draft Knight or Walker, but if either of them establishes himself as the BPA then we should take him.
    Quote GarbageTime wrote: View Post
    if Jose did everything he does now and scored 5+ more points a game he'd be viewed as a steal for his contract, and his D would rarely be mentioned. If Demar scored 5 less points a game he'd be useless and people would want him off the team.
    Dude...I don't even
    Quote Tim W. wrote: View Post
    Calderon has not gotten more respect from Raptor fans. He's been far better than many have given him credit for.
    Defense and inability to get into the paint. That stretch after TJ got hurt he was severely overrated too...That said, I wouldn't mind keeping Calderon at this point, as long as we don't continue to overplay him/relegated back to coming off the bench.

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    Quote WhatWhat wrote: View Post
    It's more like OKC only real scoring options being Westbrook, Durant (who struggles to break free from his opponent and get open) and Harden is coming back to haunt them.

    But anyways, I'd rather take a chance on Bayless than to draft Knight or Walker, but if either of them establishes himself as the BPA then we should take him.

    Dude...I don't even

    Defense and inability to get into the paint. That stretch after TJ got hurt he was severely overrated too...That said, I wouldn't mind keeping Calderon at this point, as long as we don't continue to overplay him/relegated back to coming off the bench.
    Oklahoma doesn't have much less scoring than Dallas. Or Miami, for that matter. The difference is that Miami and Dallas have guys who can make their teammates better. Oklahoma doesn't. Westbrook is a great scoring guard, but his lack of true PG abilities ended up hurting Oklahoma because he couldn't get his teammates good enough scoring opportunities.

    And Jose is a much better PG than you're giving him credit for. There's a reason the team consistently played better when he was on the court. Consistently. He wasn't great at getting into the paint, but he was good enough to be one of the most efficient PGs on one of the better offensive teams for the last five years. Is the ability to get into the paint a plus? Sure. Is it a deal breaker if he can't? No. And Calderon can get into the paint better than you're giving him credit for. He's not great at it, but he can do it when healthy.

    Same goes for his defense. While it's not great, by any means, it's not nearly as bad as a lot of Raptor fans seem to think.

    Now I'm not saying Calderon is the answer, by any means, but the PG position is really the least of the Raptor's worries. If he was 5 years younger, I'd have no problem saying they should keep him.
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    Quote GarbageTime wrote: View Post
    Its not a matter of it being scoring only... its that a player ability to score (whether perceived, real or potential) becomes an overly important factor.

    Even the idea of a penetrating/'drive and kick' pg is based in the concept that a PG can score if he penetrates.

    The idea of a player scoring simply becomes the excuse/reasoning as to why a player is good or a better choice. And generally a player needs to be incredibly good or incredibly terrible at some other areas of the game to change that.
    I'm saying the fans you think I'm talking about are not the ones I was talking about. The fact that you mentioned Bargnani earlier meant you and I are talking about two different things. You can feel free to continue on your train of thought, just know that you're not speaking for me. =P

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    IMO we keep the 5th pick and draft kemba and then trade Calderon. Bayless/Walker seems like an awesome rotation at the 1 spot, no more worries on defense, offense or speed. Everyones happy... well most of us anyway

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