meh, these debates are just ridiculous really unless we know whats offered or available. The, now, or in the future. We don't. Management does, and you can be sure there is a pretty massive amount of information there.
That said, it comes down, for me, to one thing. Is the player any good. And if so, how good. Aside from injuries, Jose has been very good. If you don't believe he is a good guard, that's fine with me, we all have opinions, were all entitled to one to a point. I have a really high opinion of my own opinion and for good reason, I spent a good portion of my adult life around the game, and when I did play, I didn't get there on size, I got there on smarts and knowing how to play the game.
Once I got old, I was very fortunate to meet and make good friends with people that cover this stuff for a living. Thats when I learned how the game is played from the Coach upward into management. Its both interesting, and at times very depressing because the game in management isn't always about winning.
Jose Calderon, basically, can be broken down very simply;
He is young, so far as it relates to his contract. The team is not trapped into his later years, and has him while he is in his prime. His health is a point of interest because really, we don't know if his leg issues were a one time thing, or if they will re-surface. I can tell you that what he dealt with can in fact affect an athlete for literally months if not rested and healed properly. there is a good chance that he did not properly heal, and it could have hurt him for a few years. It really isn't at all out of the realm of possibility. That would be best case scenario... worst case would be that he was a degenerative condition that will only get worse. So far this year, it's looking to be the former, and we can all let out a sigh of relief for that, however, would I bet the farm on that.... no.
Calderon has many of the attributes Coaches dream of offensively. There are places on the internet you can go to learn what these all are, but I can talk a bout a few. here;
is what you call a "Floor General". He is very good at taking what the Coach is calling and making it happen on the floor. He is a leader, he is vocal, and he holds his mates accountable in what seems to be a very positive manner. It reminds me a little of how Steve Nash does things. The area he seems to lack here is in the "calling of the audible" area. He is a safe player, which is HUGE, but he doesn't seem to want to take over on his own too often. He doesn't have that selfishness you sometimes need from a leader. Last night he showed some of what he can do when he does, and he was actually pretty awesome breaking the Pacers down and getting his shot ALA Deron Williams (who is simply fantastic at this). If there is an area I'd love to see Jose get better, it's here.
is great at getting the right guys the ball. Too often in Toronto the guys there simply couldn't finish. This year is no different. Inconsistency from the SG and SF position have been losing games for this team. It's that simple. You cannot fault the PG in this are, the looks are there, but the guys just seem to be in a funk. Case in point, Derozan has looked like a star when he has been hitting the looks at the arc Calderon
has been finding him. As well, if you look at it more closely, his best games have been when he has hit shots, but also had the wherewithal to aggressively move without the ball, as well as get deep post position on his defenders. Calderon
has been fantastic at recognizing when this happens, and he makes sure the rock gets to Derozans hands. Same for BArgnani, Amir, and Davis. The other guys are always wide open because they suck and cannot hit a lick, and when you understand that, you understand how hard it is to find the other players in good spots if you're calderon, unless those guys are making an extra effort to make it happen. Amir is the only guy that does it consistently. Where he lacks here...again, he should be taking more of the shots himself.
- Pace. Calderon
is great at controlling the pace. I know some here will say differently, but I assure you they are misled. Toronto has been a piss poor rebounding team for years now. And when Bosh
was here, sadly he was both one of the best on the break, and the best rebounder...make sit tough to run. Bargnani
is poor in transition, but Amir and Derozan are ok. Derozan is advertized as a track star, but if you watch him run routes, he's actually sub-par and is easily spaced out be the defenders on the break, he's just not great at running lanes as far as creating passing lanes is concerned. The result is a lot of breaks that on a tv screen, look as though Calderon
is afraid, or unable to run, when really he just see's that the high percentage play is to keep the rock. Basketball is a game of numbers, and a game of momentum. Maximize possessions, and minimize opponents possessions. The numbers show that if you do this and protect the ball, you will win more than you lose, throw in some Dynamic play making stars and you start maximizing on intangible opportunities that lead to more points and wins. Toronto has few of these players, and again, Derozan isn't as much of one as you'd think. T-Mac and Carter
were, and if you look at this teams past success, there is your answer because Alvin Williams was a lot like Calderon.
Jose is not an allstar defender. Simply put, he's average.
- In transition He isn't athletic enough to pressure the ball full court. He rarely gets caught up, but he also doesn't take the opposing guard out of his offense right away. If he could, I'm not sure, but maybe it might help cut down on the three balls. If the Opposing guards have less time to get the ball moving and ultimately to the open man, there may be less open men firing up threes. The Raps have been good on defense this year, but I can't help but think that they are having to work very hard for far too long in the clock, take 5 seconds away, maybe they see some success.
- Jose isn't fast enough to get around the screen and roll, or so athletic that he can go through it, but he makes up a little bit by being very clever, and he really is a very smart defender, and he is longer than some would admit, he's not a small guard. People make fun of him clapping or waving his hands, but that's good defense. Younger or less experienced guards will do one of two other things in those positions, a) nothing. B) commit to trying to block a shot that almost always results in a foul and in many cases, a complete bailout. Basketball is a scoring league, you can only do so much, and you really do need to be smart about where you pick your spots or you will be on the bench with 3-4 fouls. We all love JJ, he doesn't clap, either does Amir. That's why they can't make it the whole game. Jose plays good hard defense, and he plays within his physical abilities. That's all you can ask, and you can never fault a guy for his physical deficiencies.
So here you have it. You have under contract for two years, an above average PG running your offense, and a fantastic leader and distributor, and Floor general who will maximize offensive possessions, protect the ball, and get everyone involved. He is an average defender, he won't make a difference there, and on some nights, he will be exposed by speed.
Basketball is about intangibles. Jose possesses some of these. And these are where I make my calls to be honest. Positive intangibles that can only help in a team environment. Stave Nash once said he was the Suns team Mother. It went farther than just playing ball, it was being a mature leader. A friend, and an authority figure for the players on the team. Jose has a bit of this in him. Whether its patting guys on the back, cheering on the bench, taking on Kevin Garnett or Chris Paul, tossing Gatorade around at half time, always busting ass, hitting 98% of his free throws, coaching on the floor, guiding players who have no clue on offense or defense without making them feel like idiots (huge plus) these things, these intangibles that don't always show on the stat sheet, and they aren't included in the Newspaper review of the games the night before, but they are what separates great team pieces from people who are just great players.
in not the best PG in the league. There are parts of his game that are easily top three, and there are parts that are closer to bottom three. Luckily the good outweighs the bad there, and to be honest, his positive affect upon his team doesn't hurt. He is what he is right now. A really good PG who is on contract for this team when they really need leadership and are trying to grow and develop younger talent.
he is not un-tradable, like the famous quote says...Babe Ruth was traded. However undervaluing him is as silly as over valuing him. If he can be used to make this team better, you have to cut away the nostalgia and make that play. But that play might be very difficult to find, and if it is, be happy that he his what you have in the interim.
so that ya got it.
-Very good offensively
-average defensively, and on some night a liability if there is speed
-fundamentally as sound as there is in the NBA
-very good if healthy
-not very good if not.
Thats an unbiased opinion, because he isn't my fav PG in the NBA, and if I could trade him myself and make this team 10 wins better for the next 7 years id buy his plane ticket myself. I'm just trying to be rational and realistic. Something I think is sorely missing here some days.
Take it for what its worth, I don't see me arguing it much further, and to be honest, I like the foundation upon which i formed my opinion. You guys may not, but I don't control that, I only know what I know.