J-Smoove on the move? BG a starter or sixth? Lamar Odom or Trevor Ariza?
The Atlanta Hawks are secretly trying to deal forward Josh Smith in a shrewd cost cutting move. Atlanta has something special brewing. To give up a young shot blocking dynamo in Smoove is a huge blow depending on who they get back. The Hawks cannot trade Smith since they matched an offer from Memphis somewhere last season. They cannot deal Smoove without his permission.
Yet since they have been looking to move him, Atlanta is giving up a good young player who could be great…if he wanted to. The basketball circle knows his traits: weak jump shot, erratic, high flyer, great shot blocker (although he stunk it up this year), solid defender, and a highlight film. He is definitely better than Chicago’s Tyrus Thomas and has all the tools to be a perennial all star, but sometimes his play reflects that of a bonehead. He does certain things that leaves our imaginations soaring and, at other times, we are left scratching our heads thinking, "What the hell is he doing?" With this fatal flaw, he’ll be lucky to make the All Star squad once or twice. This is the thing basketball aficionados despise. Certain players love all the athletic gifts in the world, but not the basketball mind to fully accommodate the skills to reach full potential. Don’t you hate that?
Before potential former Bull Ben Gordon signs that $10 million per year contract, the debate whether he is a starter or sixth man should be extinguished. He has proven his worth as a player off the bench. He also has proven his worth as a starter all season long providing more clutch shots and scoring prowess against the Boston Celtics in the classic first round of the playoffs. He puts up similar numbers whether he’s starting or not.
So what is he?
Let put it this way. He’s clutch. It’s a skill that cannot be taught or bought. Gordon is a perennial 20+ points per game scorer. On defense, he is not good, but he’s not bad either. He is simply solid in that respect. And that is fine. If Cleveland ever got him along with Shaq to team up with Lebron James then it’s game over for the rest of the league including the newly crowned Kobe’s Lakers.
Which leads to the Lakers. Lamar Odom or Trevor Ariza? This is too easy. Hands down, Lakers management has to keep Ariza. It is an economical move since he is not looking for $10 million per season. Ariza is more consistent than Odom even if he does not give you the fantasy stat numbers. On the defense side of the ball, Ariza wins this battle without any hiccups. He guards the opposing team’s best perimeter player taking the load off Kobe. Lamar Odom does not do that and the Buss family would not have to worry about supplying Odom with candy every day either. Get your own damn candy, Lamar.
Who can forget Trevor Ariza’s crucial defensive plays during the playoffs? Odom cannot replicate that. Honestly Laker fans, does Odom give you anything else besides offensive versatility and inconsistent game?
[image – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericrichardson/3635905731/]