Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Let My People Go

Sometimes, a younger, upstart player with talent presses his team to give him more floor time—or be forced to part ways with him. For example, an energetic Gerald Wallace forced the Webber-Bibby-Peja Kings of the early 2000s to trade him, and now he's the Tasmanian Devil for Bob's Cats. This season, a few players have compelled their respective team to provide them more minutes; or leverage to trade the person in front of them on the depth chart. A few of them are listed after the random pic...

Nick Young. Coming out of Southern Cal, "Hollywood"—his nickname given to him by his Wizards' teammates—was a sublime scorer. However, because he didn't try on defense, he was stuck behind inferior off-guards (I'm looking at you, DeShawn Stevenson). With Stevenson's injury, coach Eddie Jordan Tapscott had to insert Young into the rotation. He began as a 7th or 8th man, but with Tapscott's tinkering with the lineup, Nick has started the last few games; and has responded. He had 28 points a couple games ago, 30 the next night, and 33 against my Knicks last game (but the Knicks did get that W). He can get his shot on his terms, and has the rock on a string. All I need now is more videos of him and Dominic McGuire acting like fools and Nick in the Dunk Contest. Oh, DeShawn, your days in DC are numbered. But at least you won't be Lebron's doormat for too much longer.

Paul Millsap. Paul Millsap should have been a first-round pick three years ago. At Louisiana Tech, he led the country in rebounding three consecutive years. Anyway, with Carlos Boozer sidelined with a hobbled knee, Millsap has stepped in to have his best season yet, averging 15+ points and 9+ rebounds a game. Now, with Boozer deciding to opt out at the end of this year, Utah may not be as upset if Boozer chases the money. Millsap does everything that Carlos does, and he's hungrier, younger, and more athletic. Look for Deron Williams to have a new pick-and-roll mate in the very near future.

Ramon Sessions. Unless you live in the upper midwestern US or desperately want to see Michael Redd's awkward-but-effective jumper, then you haven't seen the Bucks play in about three years. However, they have found a hidden gem in backup point guard Ramon Sessions, who began to show some signs last season. Sessions, on an April night against the Bulls, posted 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 24 assists. Now them numbers. So who's stopping Sessions from being the full-time starting floor general in Milwaukee? That would be Luke Ridnour; an okay player but will soon lose his sport to the second-year man from Nevada.

D.J. Augustin. The player whom the Knicks should have taken instead of "El Gallo" has forced Larry Brown, notorious hinderer of rookies, to give him time on the floor. When he's combined with Raymond Felton in the speedy-but-undersized backcourt, the Bobcats have been way more efficient and a halfway decent team. I wonder who leaves first: the point guard His Airness trades, or Larry Brown.
There are some other players that are waiting for their shackles to be removed. If you know of some, or want to debate the ones in this list, leave it in the comments. As the immortal song goes, "Let my people go." Peace.

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