I had to make this after his performance tonight against the Raptors, he played so well, and I've been noticing some things about him all year that I just have to write now.
Earl Watson was signed by the Pacers just before the start of the season, after he was waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was expected to be a backup to T.J. Ford, and maybe even sharing backup minutes with the rookie out of UConn, A.J. Price. Obviously the plan changed about a month ago.
While T.J. Ford kept having his turnover struggles, and couldn't seem to put the ball in the bucket either, Earl Watson earned a few games in the starting lineup because of his hard play, and leadership off the bench, and in practice. This was just to give T.J. a few games off to clear his head, and get back to playing the kind of basketball that the Indiana Pacers traded for...but it turned into a much more permanent move when Ford came back and didn't improve on anything.
Ever since entering the starting lineup, Watson has had his ups and downs scoring the basketball, but three things have never wavered. His assists, defense, and team leadership. I've watched when they have subbed the young A.J. Price in for him, or even if it's Luther Head, he goes over to the bench without complaining, sits down, and starts mentoring the younger guys (usually Roy Hibbert or Brandon Rush).
Watson is the kind of player that makes his teammates better, simply because he works with them, explains how the game works, and then backs up his talk with his play on the court. I can tell you one thing, you will never see a player hustle more, or play more aggressive defense than Earl Watson does, and I can say that knowing that it's true because I've watched him night in, and night out, no matter what the score, hound the ball handler and box out, and dive on the floor for loose balls.
There's what I had to say about Earl Watson, and I'm interested in hearing what you guys think about him. Do you think he is a legit starting point guard in the NBA? Or do you still think he should be a bench player? I personally believe he could be a starter on most of the teams in the NBA...granted not teams like New Orleans, San Antonio, and Boston (among others) who have star point guards, but he's definitely much better than a bench scrub.
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