Going from Chris Paul to Jarrett Jack is like going to a new middle school, telling everyone your dad is a famous guitarist, getting down with the baddest chick there, everyone finding out you were lying, and then you end up with a six: a chick that likes art and plays kickball with the fellas at recess. At the end of the day, you can say “Okay, at least I have a girl.” But at the same time, now you’re stuck in the corner at dances, kicking yourself over your own stupidity.
But the larger problem in the Bayou is that going from Jack to whatever’s behind him is even worse. You’d assume Jack is a solid defender right? Most longtime backup points can D up. He’s also a team guy, energetic and has his expectations in the right places. So it’s hard to explain how the Hornets are a whopping 9.6 points per 100 possessions worse defensively with Jack on the floor. He’s averaging career-high numbers across the board (15.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 7.3 assists) in over 38 minutes a game, but the man can’t make a shot and can’t shoot threes at all.
Greivis Vasquez is a Dime favorite, but he’s all over the place. New Orleans is infinitively better defensively when he’s out there, but grotesquely worse on the other end. He always plays hard, can body up smaller guards and seems to actually give a s—, but he is what he is: a backup point. The Hornets aren’t going anywhere this year, but until they actually get a starting point guard, rather than two backup ones, they aren’t going anywhere ever.
I was looking forward to checking the Kings out this year. I expected a big comeback season from Tyreke Evans, lots of shots from Marcus Thornton and Jimmer Fredette getting announcers excited at least once a night. Evans might be having an even worse season than last year and Fredette hasn’t really done anything noteworthy, averaging only 23 minutes and 7.6 points. The only thing going strong – outside of our guy Isaiah Thomas – is Thornton’s inner Vernon Maxwell (over 15 shots a night).
When I look at this lineup, I can’t even find a point guard to nitpick because there’s nothing there. Evans handles the ball most often. He also can’t go three or four possessions in a row without forcing a spin move into the lane. Thornton is definitely a two guard. Same for Fredette. John Salmons, Donte Greene, DeMarcus Cousins and all the rest always think shoot first. When you combine all that with no legit point guard or at least someone to say “Calm down guys. I’ll get everyone their shots” (where are you Beno?), of course there will be problems. The Kings are 4-10 and No. 27 in our Power Rankings. Their point differential is a minus-11.6. and even with all of that individual offensive talent, they’re No. 28 in offensive efficiency at 93.5. They don’t need a big-time point guard. They need ANY lead guard.
How can a team with so many little guys need another one? Well let’s go down the list:
Rodney Stuckey: Has missed time with a groin injury this season, and even when he has played, he’s 27th in the league in PER among point guards
Will Bynum: My man, but he’s better value as a spark off the bench
Brandon Knight: I’ve been saying this since back when Knight had braids, but I don’t think he’s a point guard. His assist rate (17.4) is eighth-worst among all lead guards in the league, and the only ones below him (Bynum, Gary Neal, Tyreke Evans, Jimmer, Keyon Dooling, J.J. Barea, Toney Douglas) are part-time 1s at best.
Some teams need a new point guard because the ones they have on their team are so bad, running a set all the way through is impossible. Others need one to get them over the hump from middling playoff contender to actual threat. The Pistons are 3-11, and haven’t been much of a threat since D12 was popping. But they need a legitimate point guard, if for no other reason than Greg Monroe deserves some help. He is balling. Monroe was sneaky good last season as a rookie, coming on strong during the second half of the season. But this year, even as the Pistons are dropping deeper into the lottery box, Monroe is putting in 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds a night. His PER is No. 10 in the entire NBA (24.65). All-Star? It won’t happen as long as the team continues to lose and score less than Andy the 40-year-old virgin.
But as good as Monroe is turning out to be – imagine if the Pistons had the gall to originally choose the Hoya over Evan Turner back in the 2010 Draft? – Detroit can’t win by running the offense through their biggest player. This ain’t 2002, and these guys damn sure ain’t the Sacramento Kings. Right now, Detroit has nothing to look forward to outside of Monroe and a new locker room. They need a floor general.
What are some other teams that could use another point guard?
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