Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Case for Not Trading a Point Guard

There has been a lot of discussion among Grizzlies fans about the apparent logjam at Point Guard on the team and how Memphis needs to make a move immediately to address this problem. I disagree and for some simple reasons.

First off Conley is only 20 yrs old and has started a grand total of 46 games in the NBA. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement to give him the keys to the franchise. Sure his statistics almost mirror Tony Parker's when he was a rookie and are actually superior to such prominent PG's as Gilbert Arenas, Chauncey Billups and Steve Nash as rookies but that doesn't mean you can stamp the future All-Star label on Mike just yet. Lowry doesn't have much more experience after only playing 10 games his rookie season. Right now it appears Conley will be the superior PG in the NBA to some people but he hasn't shown that on the court yet. There is no reason to rush the decision before someone has clearly won the job.

OJ Mayo is a dynamic player who has stated that he feels his best position is PG. That doesn't mean he is right and from what we have seen so far that is simply not the case. Mayo is a scorer who struggles against quick PG's and makes bad decisions at times when pressured with the ball. He may develop into an excellent PG at some point but right now he is a turnover waiting to happen.

Javaris Crittenton is similiar to OJ Mayo without the outside shot. He has excellent size to be a PG (compared to the dimunitive Conley and Lowry) but his ability to control the ball and run the offense hasn't develop yet. He also doesn't appear to NBA level vision when driving in the lane. A PG can always drive in the lane and shoot but to be a truly effective PG you need to get into the lane and then find the open man as the defense collapses. So far I haven't seen Crittenton capable of making that play.

Jaric can play PG, SG and SF. He is very versatile in that respect. He came over playing PG but last season he was almost exclusively a SG and at 6-7 he has decent size to play SF. Frankly with his lack of foot speed I feel more comfortable playing Jaric as a SG/SF than at the point. Jaric will bring experience and knowledge to the young guards on the team and that is important. His role is clearly more mentor than player at this point.

What's more, Lowry and Conley give the Grizzlies two different PG skill sets that most teams will struggle matching up against. Right now JCritt and Mayo don't appear to take care of the ball well enough to run the point but both can defend well at the SG and allow the Grizzlies to add more playmaking ability to the backcourt.

This doesn't even take into account the serious problem the Grizzlies have had lately keeping Point Guards healthy. In 2005 Damon blew his Patello Tendon out. In 2006 Kyle Lowry broke his thumb and missed the remained of the season. Last year Mike Conley hurt his shoulder and missed a total of 30 games. It isn't like the Grizzlies haven't had a big need for strong backups at the point lately.

At some point in the future I expect at least one of the backcourt players to be moved to fil a hole in another part of the team but that definitely doesn't mean they have to make a move right now.

BallHype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

I agree we should wait on the point guard trade just to see how it pans out. But say someone like Golden State offers us someone like Brandon Wright for Kyle Lowry or Javaris Crittenton and a future protected first or a future second rounder. That is a trade they would have to pull the trigger on.

Anonymous said...

Chip, I wonder if you read the discussion I started late last night on the game thread. It follows along the same lines. I think J-Critt may be expendable, but I think we still need to retain Kyle as the back-up point guard for insurance as I just don't see any of these other guys being an acceptable back-up at pg.


Chip Crain said...

Sorry I missed the game conversation. I was out last night and didn't read the game thread.

It is not rocket science to see the advantages of keeping all of the young guns but for some reason people continue to believe Memphis needs to move now in spite of the risk that making a bad decision can result in.

One particular comment that both Heisley and Wallace have told me recently has stuck in my mind: Never make a decision until you have to. Right now the Grizzlies don't have to make a decision so I see no need to rush into one at this time.

Anonymous said...

whoa javaris is 6'5 and some change.. i dont think he makes it to 6'7

Chip Crain said...

NO Javaris Crittenton is not 6-7. He is 6-5 but Marco Jaric, who I was writing about at the time is 6-7.