Countdown To Camp: 4 Days To Media Day
I've got to say, I'm not confident at all about the backup small forward position. We have the reigning Finals MVP starting and playing a lot of minutes, but he's not getting any younger. The fresher we can keep his legs the better, especially with his all-out style of play.
So why are we backing him up with the basketball equivalent of Matt Cassel, Matt Gutierrez, and Kevin O'Connell? (Yes, I know football is different and I'm trying my best not to jinx Paul - just work with me here)
Our backup 3's at this moment are Darius Miles (who may or may not make the team), Brian Scalabrine (who was inactive for much of last year), and Billy Walker (a rookie with an injury history). Anyone comfortable with that?
I will preface this by pointing out that last year the perception was that our backup power forward spot was weak. Powe was a question mark, Big Baby was a rookie, and Scal and Posey were being counted on to fill in where they couldn't. By the end of the season, that position was a strength and winning games for us in key moments. So there's always the chance that the same could happen with the 3 spot this year.
We've already discussed Darius Miles. He's the prototypical low risk, high reward guy that is worth giving a shot to. If he works out, he'll give us points off the bench, but nobody is counting on his defense.
Scalabrine just keeps hanging around. Every time you forget about him, it turns out that the team kinda needs him. Last year it was when KG went down for a stretch of games. This year it is because of James Posey's departure. If Doc needs defense while Paul is out of the game, who do you think he's going to turn to? Air Fundamentals, that's who. I'll take this opportunity to point out that in certain matchups, Tony Allen could play some 3 to provide some additional defense. I figure Scal would get the bigger, stronger assignments while Tony takes the quicker players. However, hasn't Tony been yanked around out of position long enough (re: the great PG experiment)?
Billy Walker certainly has the highest upside on this list. He had (has?) great athletic talent and early reports are positive about his work ethic. At the very least the team was impressed enough with him to keep him here in the states rather than nudge him into an overseas contract. Eventually he might have a Big Baby type of growth chart (inconsistent but contributing at times as the season goes along).
So what are your thoughts on the backup small forward position? Who gets the job early on? Who ends up with the job by the playoffs? Will Danny keep looking for a deal or will someone emerge from the current group?