I am really, really going to be sad to see Gary Payton go if/when he does. He really does so many things well, little things that don't always get noticed or appreciated. If there was any way I thought we could hold on to him for a few more years, I'd be first in line to sign up for that.
However, if/when he does go, I'm not going to line up on the JFK bridge for a swan dive either. First of all, we haven't seen much of Delonte, but every report about the kid is positive. I'm talking across the board.
Still, don't sleep on Marcus Banks. As excited as the team is to get a look at Delonte, he's not even close to passing Marcus on the depth chart. I'm pretty confident that we'll see more and more of Delonte, but Marcus has a year and a half of experience on him and is one of our best defenders.
But the real shock lately has been his performance as a playmaker backing up Gary. He's been the model of consistency the last several games. Its not necessarily showing up in the stat sheet, but you can see him picking up the flow better and better. He had 2 turnovers in the 5 games before last night (he had 3 but also played a lot of garbage time). He's making smart passes, working within the flow of the game, and even showing some good range. I get the feeling that he's learning and growing game by game.
If Gary really is being a good teacher for Marcus, I might be inclined to agree with Doc that that alone would be worth keeping him around for the last half of the season. Even getting nothing in return. Think of it this way, getting Marcus to play like a veteran starting PG would be worth a low first round pick.
Finally, I'll say this: Banks doesn't need to be Gary Payton or Jason Kidd. He doesn't even need to be Mike Bibby or Steve Nash. He just has to be a solid Marcus Banks. He's got all the tools and talents to be an above average point guard in this league. If he can set the table effectively, push the break, and keep the mistakes to a minimum, then the offense will take care of the rest.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have a Bibby or Nash right about now. I'd love to keep GP. But a combo of Banks and West could be a very nice "flash" and "cash" duo for us. Here's hoping anyway.