I just finished reading the two articles on Stephon Marbury headlining ESPN’s NBA page. If this were any other offseason, or any other day for that matter, I would simply dismiss the articles as telling us something we already know: Marbury’s UStream shattered any thoughts that his “all about me” attitude was gone, and it was a terrible PR move. However, as most of us found out today, it looks like Gabe Pruitt’s shot at the Celtics’ back up point guard job is over. Couple that with the injury and inexperience of Lester Hudson and the Celtics might be looking to add not one, but two back up point guards to the roster.
If the Celtics don’t extend a contract to Hudson, they most likely will be looking for two established veteran point guards (meaning no Mike Taylor, Bobby Brown, Sean Singletary, Zabian Dowdell types). Brian Robb listed off some very interesting names in his previous post and loosely divided them into two categories: scorer and distributor. After taking a closer look at their production over the past few seasons, I decided to put them into categories of my own.
Old and Short:
Brevin Knight, 33, 5’10”; Jacque Vaughn, 34, 6’1″; Chucky Atkins, 35, 5’11”; Tyronn Lue, 32, 6’0″; Anthony Carter, 34, 6’1″; Bobby Jackson, 36, 6’1″
The NBA is a “What Have You Done For Me Lately” league and for a lot of these guys, the response is not a whole lot. Guys like Knight, Vaughn, Atkins, and Lue haven’t had a solid season as the primary back up point guard in a few seasons. Their similarities suggest they’d be better suited forming a bridge club rather than being back up point guards in this league. Knight used to be a fast, scoring point guard but with his numbers drastically falling over the last three seasons, at 33, he might not be much of anything anymore. During Vaughn’s first two seasons with the Spurs, he put up solid back up point guard numbers, but he only played in 30 games last season. Like Vaughn, Atkins only played in about 30 games last season and the last time he played with the Celtics, he wasn’t happy about it (to be fair, the Celtics were awful in 2003-2004). With Lue, the story is the same: his numbers have dropped significantly over the last two seasons and he’s only averaged 46 games played.
With the guys specifically mentioned by Brian, the news gets better. Carter has been by far the most productive player in this list of people. Last season, while being a defensive ace, he also averaged 5.3 points and 4.7 assists in 78 games (all of those being higher than his career averages). While Jackson’s numbers have dropped the past two seasons, the numbers show that he can still score.
Both Marbury and Tinsley didn’t really play last season, are in their 30s, and have had character issues in the past. Those three reasons should make any team run and hide. The problem is both were also at one time really really good players. Tinsley ran the Pacers team that was so competitive in the earlier part of this decade and Celtics’ fans are well aware of Marbury’s body of work. As long as their numbers are recorded, GMs will give them consideration.
Old, but with Decent Size:
Like I wrote before, this is a “What Have You Done For Me Lately” league and with these two guys follow suit with those that I mentioned before. In their primes, these guys were more than serviceable back up point guards but as it stands right now, they haven’t contributed much in the last three seasons. Still, at 31 and only 8 years in the league, Hart still might have something left in the tank. Whether that’s Regular Unleaded or Super Unleaded remains to be seen. Ollie is just old, too old. I personally think he’s done as he approaches Sam Cassell status, but we’ll see. A lot of people like him, but the Celtics need an everyday back up point guard and Ollie averaged only 48 games for the past three seasons.
In His Prime (but prime is a relative term):
Royal Ivey, 28, 6’3″
Ivey keeps getting contracts in the NBA without any real discernable talent and ability to play at this level. It’s hard for me to write that, as I feel GMs must know something I don’t, but as I look over his numbers, he doesn’t score a lot, he doesn’t dish a lot, and his opponents play pretty well against him.
Sign Anthony Carter right now! Please! He’s near perfect for the Celtics. The one knock against Carter joining the Celtics is his height. He and Eddie House would probably make up the shortest back up back court in the league, but honestly, it doesn’t matter given Carter’s ability to guard taller people. In terms of signing another back up point guard, I think the Celtics should choose between Jackson, Marbury, and Tinsley. While the risk is there that Jackson will show his age and that Marbury and Tinsley might effect the locker room, as the potential third string point guard, the risk is minimal. I don’t think Marbury or Tinsley would accept a third string point guard, considering Marbury still thinks he’s a starter in this league, but if the Celtics could entice them with the idea of a championship and the potential to get some minutes at either guard position in the hopes of ressurecting their careers, it might just be enough.
Whether Marbury’s antics are real or theatre, at a one year contract is still not too much of a risk, with the one caveat that the Celtics have signed Anthony Carter and could “banish” him as soon as he steps out of line.
I’ve given the numbers and analysis, and now I want to hear from you out there in the blogosphere. Have I missed anything or anyone? Out of these guys or anything other player the Celtics could theoretically get, who would you want?