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Banks to Phoenix

I guess this happened a few days ago, but signing Marcus Banks seems like a good move for Phoenix. As usual, the local paper seems to be overstating the case, but a somewhat-below-average player off the bench is something that could help a thin team like the Suns and Banks is young enough and has been showing improvement so you've got to think he has some upside.

July 24, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

Anthony Johnson to Dallas seems more consequential to me...

Posted by: Petey | Jul 24, 2006 6:50:35 PM

Phoenix promises to be fun to watch again, if nothing else. Especially if Amare comes back with his old explosiveness.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jul 24, 2006 7:28:17 PM

They also picked up Eric Piatkowski, an old dude who can shoot the three. I'm more excited about Banks, though, since they didn't have a serious backup point guard to let Nash rest.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Jul 25, 2006 12:18:43 AM

So now on the bench you've got Barbosa and Banks for quickness, Kurt Thomas for toughness, and J.Jones and Piatkowski to shoot the 3. Perfect.

If only Robert Sarver was willing to spend like Cuban ... then PHX could keep the current unit together for several years and win multiple championships.

Posted by: next big thing | Jul 25, 2006 12:29:58 AM

Anthony Johnson to Dallas seems more consequential to me...

I guess I see this as relatively unconsequential just because the Mavs are obviously really good either way. I had some actual doubts about Phoenix's depth that this does something to answer.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Jul 25, 2006 1:16:48 AM

I don't see why the Anthony Johnson move would make a great difference to the Mavs.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jul 25, 2006 11:22:24 AM

"I guess I see this as relatively unconsequential just because the Mavs are obviously really good either way. I had some actual doubts about Phoenix's depth that this does something to answer."

Makes sense to me...

Posted by: Petey | Jul 25, 2006 1:20:13 PM

"I don't see why the Anthony Johnson move would make a great difference to the Mavs."

Because they haven't had a point guard on their roster since Nash departed. (Well, Armstrong was on the roster, but wasn't getting any minutes for obvious reasons.)

I think Johnson will see significant minutes next springtime. This is an important pickup for them. True point guards are useful.

I'm a big Mike James fan, but Johnson is a better fit for Dallas. I think they got lucky in James not signing with them.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 25, 2006 1:24:36 PM

And on other fronts:

Bonzi is gone from Sacto, although his destination is still undetermined. If he goes to a contending team, he could really be a difference maker.

Billy King has taken Iverson off the table, although King's level of honesty (and wisdom) is akin to Dick Cheney's, so things could change again. At this point, I'd actually like to see Iverson moved - for Iverson's sake, not for the Sixers sake. King has screwed up the franchise enough that they probably can't recover before Iverson is lame, and I'd love to get to see him play some more meaningful games before he's done.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 25, 2006 1:31:34 PM

Because they haven't had a point guard on their roster since Nash departed. (Well, Armstrong was on the roster, but wasn't getting any minutes for obvious reasons.)


What's Devin Harris? Chopped liver?

Posted by: Al | Jul 25, 2006 1:46:10 PM

"What's Devin Harris? Chopped liver?"

I like Harris, but he's no point guard.

See Leandro Barbossa for another example of how a speedster-penetrator is not necessarily a point guard.

(I suppose I'm using the phrase "point guard" when I really should be using the more detailed and accurate "distributor point guard"...)

Posted by: Petey | Jul 25, 2006 1:50:05 PM

What's Devin Harris? Chopped liver?

Fuck. Agree with Al. Again. I don't think the Mavs need a classic point guard. I'm not sure how many classic point guards there are out there anymore. And I'm really not sure that their distribution tracks the distribution of wins in the NBA.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jul 25, 2006 2:21:29 PM

(I suppose I'm using the phrase "point guard" when I really should be using the more detailed and accurate "distributor point guard"...)

Nevertheless, I don't really see why you would want to give Johnson minutes that are going to have to come from Harris or Terry both of whom are non-trivially better players than Johnson. It's not as if there was some big problem with the offense Dallas put together without a traditional pure point guard that this is going to solve. Picking up another decent player in Johnson can't hurt, but if I'd done as well as the Mavs did last year I'd be really reluctant to significantly change things up and start giving Johnson substantial minutes unless injuries or something forced a move.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Jul 25, 2006 2:24:43 PM

"I don't think the Mavs need a classic point guard."

I liked Miami over Dallas in the Finals in no small part because Dallas had so much trouble making offensive decisions and getting good shots in the closing minutes of tight games.

That's why they need a point guard.

I expect Johnson to be on the court in crunch time during the playoffs, which is why I think it's an important pickup.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 25, 2006 2:26:14 PM

According to the Hollinger stats, Harris's assists/40 minutes last year was 5.6; Johnson's was 6.5. (Mike Bibby's was also 5.6, just to take an example.) So I don't see the difference.

Didn't Dallas lose Adrian Griffin and now Daniels too? Their rotation last year sometimes was to play Terry at PG and those guys (or Stack) at the 2-guard. I guess they are going to phase out Terry as a point guard and play him strictly at the 2-guard position? Dunno. But I agree with SCMT and Matthew that the duo of Terry and Harris gives Dallas what they need at the PG position, so this move is strange.

Also, as to Matthew's point in the post, I no longer consider PHX to be a thin team. Maybe they could use one more big guy, but they've got 10 solid NBA players now - Nash, Bell, Diaw, Marion, and Amare, plus KThomas, Banks, Barbosa, Jones and Piatkowski.

Posted by: Al | Jul 25, 2006 2:38:02 PM

"According to the Hollinger stats, Harris's assists/40 minutes last year was 5.6; Johnson's was 6.5. (Mike Bibby's was also 5.6, just to take an example.) So I don't see the difference."

I'm beginning to think John Hollinger is personally responsible for the destruction of basketball IQ among American fans...

Posted by: Petey | Jul 25, 2006 2:55:26 PM

I don't see the difference.

There's definitely a difference in their styles of play. I just don't really see why the Mavs would embrace that difference. Johnson is a worse player than Terry or Harris. Sometimes taking minutes away from the better player and giving them to the worse player is a smart move because of chemistry or complementary skills or what have you. But the isolation-oriented offense Dallas ran last year without a "true" point guard was very, very effective. So I don't envision Dallas trying to seriously change things up.

The team was very deep and flexible last year, and signing Johnson after some losing some tertiary players seems like an effort to maintain that dynamic. Reasonable enough, but unlikely to seriously alter the landscape.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Jul 25, 2006 3:13:16 PM

"But the isolation-oriented offense Dallas ran last year without a "true" point guard was very, very effective."

Not so much during crunch time.

The first 42 minutes of the game have very different demands than the final 6 minutes. The Mavs offense often looked confused and pathetic during crucial possessions last year because they were lacking a ball handler who was a smart decision maker.

We won't know who's right for 10 months, but my money is on Johnson being on the court during playoff crunch time.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 25, 2006 3:28:24 PM

I liked Miami over Dallas in the Finals in no small part because Dallas had so much trouble making offensive decisions and getting good shots in the closing minutes of tight games.

I think this is a function of lack of experience. You need players who can say, "Settle the fuck down; it's the same game we always play." But I don't think that needs to be the point guard. For a while there, it seemed as if teams won championships by losing a series at each stage along the playoffs, and then advancing one step further each year. If Dallas doesn't win the Championship next year, it will be because the West is so brutal, and they won't get through.

Or Stern forces the refs to set picks for Wade.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jul 25, 2006 3:34:08 PM

Not so much during crunch time.

Well, if there's evidence that Dallas had a systematic crunch-time problem last year, I'd be open to that argument but I'm not aware of the evidence. I think it would be a big mistake to overreact to losing the NBA Finals in six games. The Mavs seemed to be having some inexperience/mental issues and Wade played above his usual (high) standards in games 3-6. These things happen. It's more the sort of situation that calls for better pre-game pep talks by the coach and fewer antics from the owner than a substantive revision in how the team plays the game.

Winning the Western Conference isn't easy!

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Jul 25, 2006 5:08:54 PM

"I think it would be a big mistake to overreact to losing the NBA Finals in six games."

I'm not just thinking about the Finals. I didn't like their crunch time offense all throughout the playoffs.

They had some good outcomes when they got the ball to Dirk and got out of the way, but once you let the opposition key on that, it gets problematic because you don't have a decision maker to exploit the created weakness.

Who do want to have their hands on the ball on the perimeter with a minute left in a tie game? Terry? Harris? Stackhouse? I'd vote for none of the above.

Posted by: Petey | Jul 25, 2006 6:12:49 PM

Who do want to have their hands on the ball on the perimeter with a minute left in a tie game? Terry? Harris? Stackhouse? I'd vote for none of the above.

Terry, then Stack, then Howard, then (probably) Harris. Ultimately, Terry, Harris, etc. With a minute left, it really is just a series of isolation plays.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Jul 25, 2006 6:24:59 PM

Look, this whole discussion is a bit trivial. Cuban is willing to pay so that the Mavs can go legitimately 3 deep at every position.

Point guard: Terry, Harris, Johnson
Shooting guard: Buckner, Stackhouse, Ager (last season Christie, Daniels and Griffin filled these roles in addition to Stack)
Center: Diop, Dampier, Mbenga
Power forward: Nowitzki, Croshere, TBA (last season the backups were Josh Powell and Van Horn)
Small forward: Howard, Devean George, TBA (last season the backup, in addition to the swing players above, was Rawle Marshall)

Before you laugh about Powell and Marshall, remember that those guys got significant burn in March when the Mavs were plagued by injuries, and they acquitted themselves nicely.

Perhaps Indy will waive those guys now and they can come back to Dallas. (Is that permitted by the rules?)

Posted by: next big thing | Jul 25, 2006 10:11:52 PM

Look, this whole discussion is a bit trivial. Cuban is willing to pay so that the Mavs can go legitimately 3 deep at every position.

This I tend to agree with. Hence my initial claim that acquiring Johnson just isn't going to be a very big deal one way or the other.

Marcus Banks, on the other hand, along with a few other moves means that Phoenix now has a reasonable set of legitimate NBA backup players coming off the bench. That, I think, really will matter though of course Amaré's recovery/reintegration remains key.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Jul 26, 2006 12:49:13 AM

Why the hell is Antawn Jamison on the national team and not Shawn Marion? Is Petey calling the shots over there?

Posted by: Steve | Jul 26, 2006 12:52:40 PM

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