Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Point Guard Conundrum

Who's the point guard of the future? Seems like a simple enough question, and I had planned to give a full breakdown of the two obvious candidates, looking at their strengths and weaknesses. What I found was rather astonishing to me, it's really not that close. The problem now is going to be where do they go from here?

The perceptions of the two are that Jarrett Jack is a very solid player, steady, good defender, doesn't make a lot of mistakes, etc. Sergio is the flashy, fan friendly, whiz kid from Spain with more nicknames than Apollo Creed at this point. Here's how they stack up across the board this season:

Definitions: Assist ratio is the percentage of possessions that result in an assist, turnover ratio is the same only with turnovers. True shooting percentage is all shots including free throws, everything else should be self explanatory.

Jack: 45.3% shooting, 29.7% from 3 point range, True shooting percentage 56%, Assist ratio 29%, Turnover ratio 12%, Assists per 40 minutes 6.2. Real numbers he's averaged 5.4 assists to 2.3 turnovers, and 12 points a game. Total PER: 14.78

Sergio: 45.5% shooting, 31.3% from 3 point range, True shooting percentage 53%, Assist ratio 43%, turnover ratio 12%, assist per 40 minutes 11. Real numbers he's averaged 3.4 assists to 0.95 turnovers, and 4 points a game. Total PER: 17.54

Now for the biggest factor, Sergio is 20 years old, Jack is 23. The perception is that Jack is the steadier player and that Sergio can be a bit wild, that seems to be lying eyes more than anything. Their turnover ratios are the same, but Sergio is by far the better distributor of the ball, including a rather mind boggling 43% assist ratio. To put that into perspective, Steve Nash this year is at 39%. The second surprising point when looking at the numbers is the perception is Sergio can't shoot, well, he's already at least as good as Jack.

It's not really close, Sergio is the future of this franchise at the point guard position. He's 3 years younger, a better passer, just as good a shooter, and clearly makes all of his teammates better when he's running the show. The Other Guy on this blog has been saying this to me for months, I've finally opened my eyes.

Now we come to the Conundrum, where do they go from here. Subterfuge Stevie, Pritchard, and even The Other Guy have suggested that Jarrett Jack may become a very valuable trade asset. Jack's still a good young point guard, many teams could use him. Nate's opinion is that Brandon Roy might be best suited to play point, obviously this isn't a full time option but you could definitely trade Jack for something very valuable and have Roy take the backup point guard minutes. I'd still like to keep a guy like Dickau around for some injury protection and some garbage time minutes, but this makes the coming off season very interesting. Suddenly a package of Jack, Outlaw, and a pick looks like a monster trade package that can bring in an impact player or a way to move up to the Kevin Durant territory if a GM would be dumb enough to pass on him.

The important thing to note here is this looks like the hanging curve ball that could put this franchise back into contender status. Add an impact player to this team over the summer, preferably at the small forward position, and you've suddenly got a starting 5 in 07/08 of Sergio, Roy, Player X, Z-bo, and Aldridge. You'd have a sniper off the bench in Martell, a versatile lineup that can run the floor with anyone with two dynamic guards, two low post scoring options, and two defensive stoppers off the bench in Udoka and Joel. I've been saying they needed to get lucky in the draft to become a contender again, they got lucky, like Powerball lucky, with Sergio Rodriguez. Aldridge and Roy were known commodities, then they hit the jackpot. This summer is the time to cash in and go for it.

1 comment:

t said...

It's a good problem to have-two such talented point guards. I think Rodriguez looks like a great, reliable PG for a long time. But I liked Jack at G Tech. It seems like it might be best to let this stock mature though; no need to rush on dealing Jack. He's too valuable and too good. It's not right. But if time comes (as it might well) when, to paraphrase Three's Company, one's company and two's a crowd, I think you could package him with someone else or obtain soem real value for him. In any case, he's a heck of a player.