NBA Free Agency 2010: Top Destinations For Earl Watson
There are tons of big names out in the free agent market, and all ESPN has done the past month is talk about those guys.
LeBron. Wade. Bosh.
When it comes down to it, basketball is a team game, and it takes five guys to start. Sure, it would be great to get a top-tier, max contract guy, but not all teams are in the market for them.
Enter the role players and Mr. Watson.
Earl Watson is not planning on being a star, but that’s not his goal. He wants to help lead a team and give them productive minutes in the backcourt.
Considering the majority of the teams in the NBA need point guard help, Watson is in high demand. But who will sign him?
Meet Earl Watson
Weight: 185 lbs
Experience: eight years
2009-2010 Statistics: 29.4 mpg, 7.8 ppg, 5.1 apg, 3.0 rpg, 1.3 spg, 42.6 percent FG
You probably looked at that stat line and got as excited as when you watch paint dry.
But like Tommy Smyth says, “There are stats, and there are lies.”
Everything needs to be looked at in context. Watson has played on bad teams his whole career, so his numbers seem low. When you play for a Pacers team with no one but Danny Granger, it’s hard to pad your stats.
He’s forced to play 2-on-5. Not fair.
But Watson has plenty of experience. He started the majority of games last year for the Pacers and provides strong court leadership. His vision is underrated, and considering how important that is for a point guard, Watson will be a hot commodity.
So who will get the former UCLA standout? Let’s find out.
5) Boston Celtics
See the future of the Boston Celtics? It’s Rajon Rondo.
If he gets more of those Band-Aids over his body, he’s going to need a backup.
The Celtics struggled to give Rondo rest in the NBA Finals. Yes, Nate Robinson gave him little breathers, but taking his starter off the floor made Doc Rivers work up a black sweat like Prince.
Watson fits in perfectly. He’s by no means a starter for the Celtics, but he’s efficient with the ball and certainly a better shooter than Rondo.
The C’s can’t offer him a ton of cash, but now that they resigned Paul Pierce, they can promise Watson his first chance at actually contending in the playoffs.
You give him that opportunity, and he may play pro bono. NBA players like winning like JaMarcus Russell likes a trip to Applebee’s all-you-can-eat line.
4) Miami Heat
Why isn’t Mr. Wade happy?
Could it be because his team hasn’t made it past the first round since he won his first ring?
Or is it because his backcourt mates couldn't make the CBA?
Actually, I could say the same thing about his frontcourt too.
The Flash needs a point guard. Not someone who is going to show him up, but someone that can spread the floor, dish the ball, and play some solid defense.
Sorry Mario Chalmers, but even North Korea plays better D.
Watson should be thrilled to join him. He gets a perimeter scorer he hasn’t had on any of his other teams aside from Granger. If the Heat sign a free agent power forward, he can pile up the dimes to his big men.
Playing with good teammates should be a dream come true for Earl. It only took him nine seasons.
3) Houston Rockets
Aaron Brooks is a fireball on the court. He loves to slash, dive, and dart, which is what teams want from their wing players.
But, is he a a point guard?
Number Zero can light up the scoreboard, but sometimes he looks for his own shot too much. On a team with Kevin Martin, Trevor Ariza, Yao Ming, and Luis Scola, he should work on getting those other guys involved next year.
This team was a freak injury to Yao away from the playoffs and contention. But their one weakness is their bench, which is why Watson can make himself known in the H-town.
But don’t do it the same way Paul Wall did. Hiring an Asian guy to run your grills shop is fleeting publicity.
Watson averaged around the same number of assists as Brooks in significantly less minutes on a worse team. Throw him onto Houston’s roster, and you’ve got yourself a solid man to run the show if Brooks should tire.
2) New Jersey Nets
In Soviet Russia, Mikhail Prokhorov spoil you!
The new “Nyets” owner and second tallest person on New Jersey’s payroll has more money than he knows what to do with. Sure, he thinks he can make LeBron James a billionaire, but what happens when the King decides he doesn’t like Newark?
A lot of dough, a few options.
Not many people think the Nets won’t be able to sign at least one max contract free agent. But they have a lot more money than that, and Watson can cash in.
As long as he doesn’t mind playing in New York’s toilet.
The Nets have not been high on Devin Harris lately and have thrown his name around in a handful of trade offers this past year. If he keeps falling out of favor faster than Tiger Woods, Watson could have a chance to start with the likes of Brook Lopez and a someone like Amar’e Stoudemire.
Sounds like fun to me.
1) Los Angeles Lakers
Hey Earl, see what Lamar Odom’s holding?
It’s called the Larry O’Brien Trophy. You get it for winning the NBA Championship.
If you join the Lakers, you could get used to hoisting it. They’ve played in around 50 percent of all the NBA Finals ever, and with 16 banners, they are one of the best franchises in professional sports.
Yes, Boston has more titles. But, Los Angeles has better women.
Get this man a Playmate!
But if Watson is interested in playing some ball, the Lakers are also a good fit. Even if Derek Fisher returns, he will be playing less minutes than ever, opening up a primetime position for the Watson.
Oh, did I mention he gets to play alongside Kobe? Shannon Brown pissed his pants when he heard that news two years ago.
The Lakers can only offer Watson up to the mid-level exception, but isn’t that good enough? He gets a chance to win on the two-time defending champions with a roster full of talent stacked higher than IHOP flapjacks.
You win some, you lose some.
Now Earl, go win some.