2nd try is a charm....
G 68 GS 55 Min 30.9 Pts 9.8 Rebs 3.0 FG% 44 FT% 85.4 Ast 8.9 Turn 2.2 Stls 1.2 Blks 0.1
Per 16.4 WP 8.4 AST:Turn 4.09
I'm going to start this by admiting I'm a Jose fan. I know his stock has fallen significantly with fans (and maybe even the organization) over the past few years, but I'd stil think he is a very productive and useful player. In fact, I'd go so far as to rank him as a top 10 PG in the NBA. I know this idea may be about as good as Hermione Granger attending a pedophiles convention, but my top 10 list of PGs, in order, are as follows:
No you did not read wrong, thats my list. Now I think there are a few up and comers that could take over others in short order: Ty Lawson (very high on him), Jrue Holiday and John Wall. But I think Jose has more than a few years left sitting atleast close to the top 10.
Defense - Jordan has his tongue waggle, Mutombo has his finger wave, Jose has his hand clap. Everyone needs a signature move right? I honestly don't think his defense is as bad as some people make it out to be (ie. worst defensive PG in the league) but I also don't think its to the point I could actually define it as good. 'Below average' at best.... bad at worst. You choose where he fits, and I won't argue to much with it. He clearly has issues keeping his man in front of him.
Injuries - 64, 77, 82, 68, 68, 68 thats Jose's games played each season for his career. Plantar Fascitis, hamstring and ankles. None have been serious, but they are enough to cost him a fair chunk of games most years. Its not impossible Jose plays another 82 game season, but I wouldn't bet on it. Around 70 games per season for the rest of his career might be the over/under line.
Aging - Jose is about to hit 30... which in the basketball world is generally viewed as 'over the hill'. Whether you agree with that or not, I think most can all accept that he isn't going to 'get better'. He has either hit his ceiling or is past it. More than likely its down hill from here... the question is how steep is that hill?
Paycheque - I'm a fan of wins produced and I'm a Jose fan. So when I see he's ranked the 85th most underpayed player (3rd most underpayed on the Raps) I should be saying 'I told you so'.... but I can't. He's making approx 20 mil over the next two years, and that to me is more than his value should be. I don't think he is so far overpayed his contract is a burden and I think the length left on it (2 years) makes it easier to accept. But I feel he is still playing below his pay grade.
Running an offense - I decided to lump alot of his best attributes into one general category, and I won't go into much detail because I THINK most know he is a top notch passer, ball handler and efficient floor general. Jose ranked 5th in assists per game last year and 3rd in assists per 48. He ranked 2nd in ast:turn ratio. His %s dropped this year (44 and 36.5), but over the past few years he has been in, or close to, the 50-40-90 club. The offense just runs (and has ran) more smoothly with him on the floor.
Age before beauty - every sport has those guys who just never seem to age like one expects. They aren't as great or quite as productive as they once were, but they are still good players and and important contributors even though they may be knocking on 40. I can picture Jose as one of these guys. His game has always been one of intelligence and efficiency over athleticism and speed. So losing a step or not jumping as high doesn't have the same impact on his game. You add to that that he came into the league a bit later than most and him having a career that lasts to 37-38 wouldn't be a big suprise. I think nagging injuries will limit the lengths of his seasons, but he hasn't had major surgery or long term wear and tear on the body like others have to limit the length of his career.
Leadership - how many guys get demoted twice, are involved in a publically last minute bungled trade, have to deal with a team that lacks effort, desire, defense and wins and yet still are always positive and don't complain about their role? Who is the guy who is always talking and explaining things to teammates during stoppages? Who's the guy who, regardless of the situation, is always putting in an effort? That guy is Jose. And thats the type of guy I like as 'role model' or leader for this young team whether thats openly vocal or as a quiet example.
this isn't soccer - its not rare for NBA players to whine and complain to the refs. Some players have made a career of it (Paul Pierce *cough*) Now I'm not sure if it benifits them or not, but I still don't like watching it. Jose has, unfortunately, recently developed a knack for putting on a show and then whining to the refs about it. It usually doesn't lead to techs, and he doesn't allow it to take away from his focus on the game, but its still annoying as hell to watch.
Disclaimer Jose is 29 years old, he has been in the league for 6 years now, and for 5 of those years he has consistently been the same (or atleast a similar) player. So when I make these comparisons I don't want one to think I'm comparing him to another player, or think he can reach another players status. Jose is who he is. Rather I want one to view these comparisons to the corresponding players roles/functions on their team.
Top End - John Stockton (see why I put the disclaimer in). A high usage, important part, of a very talented to contending team. Almost everything runs through him and he always makes it count.
Bottom End - Derrick Martin (Raptor years). As long as Jose is on a team, I think he will always provide a benifit through experience and leadership even if its more in a locker room role. I'm willing to bet that if Jose winds up at the end of the bench at some point in his career, he will almost be considered an assistant coach.
Realistic Comparison - Jason Kidd. Has some exploitable weaknesses but still does what is most important for PG... that is be a floor general. Not quite sure if you will get 3 assists or 15, would be more suprised if he scored 20 points than when he scores 0, but always has a positive effect on the team. I easily picture him (Jose) be a starting PG on a championship/contending team.
I often hear that this is a PG driven league. People point to Rose, Paul, Nash, Westbrook and Williams as evidence to this. They say you need a pg who can attack the basket, can score and a PG who is quick. Therefore a team also needs a PG who can defend these 'waterbug'-ish PGs. Simply put I don't agree:
1) I think this is a perimeter players league, and you want (need) perimeter players who can do things like attack the basket, score, draw in the D etc, but it doesn't need to come from your PG. Kobe, Lebron, Wade, Durant, Nowitski (I know a PF, but spends alot of time on the perimeter still), Johnson. Alot of the best teams top players, scorers, go to guys and defense destroyers are not PGs.
2) PGs get beat and its the reality of the NBA. There are not very many PGs who can stick with their opposition. The top defensive teams all have bigs who can defend the basket, but also have a quality perimeter guys who is versatile defensively. That is, they can defend numerous positions and are often used on the opposing PG. A perfect example is Lebron on Rose in last seasons playoffs. His length, strength and quickness made Rose's life very difficult. Sefalosha, Batum, Kobe, Tony Allen, Bruce Bowen (ok a bit out-dated but still applies I think), Wade are just a few names of players who have been at times responsible for doing this.
3) Here is a list of the PGs over the last 4 years in the finals. Bibby/Chalmers, Kidd, Rondo, Fisher, Nelson. None of these guys are top notch scorers and only Rondo really fits the 'waterbug' style PG. What do they all have in common though... each fits a into a system very nicely.
Now I don't mean to turn this into a debate on championship team building, and i don't think for a minute you can't build a contending/playoff team with a 'new age' PG. But I don't think its as necessary as people make it out to be. I think a PGs top responsibility is to be a floor general and help distribute the ball. That said, you can get away with a PG not distributing if you have another passer on the team (eg. Lebron in Miami/Cleveland, Kobe in LA, Hedo in Orlando, Manu in SA), but the league isn't exactly littered with point forwards. And this is where Jose comes in. You aren't going to build around him, but he is a guy you can build with. He's one of the top distributers in the league all while rarely giving up the ball. That also doesn't mean he is 'untouchable' as an asset. I think he would be very useful to a playoff ready team, and his expiring contract next season could be very valuable asset. At the same time I don't think he is easily upgradable, and I think the Raps have more important upgrades/improvements to make before the PG position.
Maybe after writing all this the simplest way to put this is Jose seems to be underrated. What he does is benifits the team, and what he provides on offense outweighs what he gives up on D. Jose actually does have a net positive PER (1.3) and was +3.4 net points per 100 possessions last year. While thats hardly game changing, net positives from starters on this team are not easy to come by. Ideally I'd like to see Jose remain with the team going forward assuming there isn't a great deal available and his next contract is more affordable. Even if he doesn't remain a starter (which I think he should) I can picture him and Amir (who he has great chemistry with) as back ups, pushing the ball and running the PnR together.
With Jose at PG I'd like to believe that the team and fans should be comfortable with that position going forward.