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Daily Babble: Passing On Mighty Mouse

There has been no shortage of discussion about the Celtics' point guard situation as of late.  The latest speculation, of course, centers on the possibility of acquiring Damon Stoudamire, who is reportedly on the verge of a buyout with the Grizzlies.

Indeed, after much internal debate by the Celts' fan base during the hot start early on, it appears that a consensus has finally formed in recognition of the fact that, yes, this team likely does need to bring in some help at the point (and in the front-court as well) if it is going to get to the level many hope it will reach by season's end.  Rajon Rondo has been for the most part a pleasant surprise, but his youth, questionable health and questionable jump shot have made it apparent that the Celts likely need an insurance policy that goes beyond Tony Allen, Eddie House or Gabe Pruitt at this point.

That in mind, it is in the best interests of the Celtics for Danny Ainge to continue to exercise patience as his greatest virtue, as he has all season with his extra roster space.  This team is 32-6, and the need for help is really in the long-term.  Whether or not it makes a few games difference in the Celtics' overall record between now and the trading deadline is far less significant than the difference made by obtaining help for the playoffs.   What this means is that there is no need to make a move just for the sake of doing so.

As of now, acquiring Damon Stoudamire appears to be just that sort of move.

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Stoudamire plays the point guard position, and he can handle the basketball with some degree of efficacy.  So yes, in that regard, it makes him a clear upgrade at the position than what the Celtics currently have beyond Rondo.

But beyond that, there isn't much to write home about.

On this team built around chemistry and the ubuntu theme, Stoudamire isn't exactly the perfect fit.  Referring to Mighty Mouse's past as "checkered" puts it mildly, as he has had multiple drug-related incidents and was a prominent part of the Jail Blazer Era during his days in Portland, representing both the "jail" and "blazing" motifs espoused by much of the roster at that point (not that he was necessarily serving all that much time, but he was running into trouble with the law).   While the Celtics have very strong leadership on the roster and could likely afford to take on a questionable character with the skills to greatly benefit the team, Stoudamire's history puts his character well past "questionable," and the skills aren't necessarily going to be enough of a difference-maker that bringing him in becomes worth the risk.

The fact of the matter is that Stoudamire's skills simply aren't that special, especially at the advanced age of 34.  He doesn't bring the added scoring punch that other on-the-market point guards such as Sam Cassell and Gary Payton would, and he certainly doesn't shoot the ball particularly effectively from the field.  Stoudamire hasn't cracked the 40 percent mark from the field in four seasons and is just a 40.7 percent shooter for his career.  Not exactly enticing when one of the principal goals of bringing in a competent backup for Rondo would be to have a player who can make opponents pay for focusing on the three studs by hitting the occasional open jump shot.  Stoudamire isn't a particularly dynamic passer and isn't known as a great defender.   As such, the question of just how much better the Celtics get with Stoudamire on board becomes a very viable one.

This isn't to say that the team needs to go out and get Cassell or Payton or that they have the means to do so.  But unless the feeling is that Damon Stoudamire's presence would almost assuredly allow this Celts team to take a quantum leap forward when it matters most, rushing into an agreement to acquire him hardly seems worth the haste, the cost or the character risk undertaken by bringing him in.


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