Dan Savage and Josh Cohen argue about which player, Jason Williams or Chris Duhon, should be the go-to backup point guard off the bench for the Orlando Magic when Stan Van Gundy decides that Jameer Nelson needs some rest.
For example, wondering how you can spend a tremendous amount of money? Which attractive and interested female you should take out on a date? Or, which phenomenal backup point guard you should insert into your team's rotation.
The last of those options heavily pertains to the Orlando Magic. It’s certainly an issue for this squad, but it’s a great one to have.
Orlando is blessed to have All-Star caliber floor general Jameer Nelson backed up by two long-time league starters: Jason Williams and Chris Duhon.
They both have rare assets that they can bring to the table. Duhon is a solid pick-and-roll defender, who can distribute the basketball and Williams is tremendous at pushing the pace without making mistakes.
But in terms of what this Magic team needs right now; J-Will may be the better option to see more minutes Orlando’s rotation.
Williams has brought a spark to the Magic this season every time he’s received quality minutes. In the Orlando’s thrilling win over the Hawks, the player known as “White Chocolate” came off the pine to rack up eight points, eight rebounds, two steals and two assists without committing a single turnover.
He did such a commendable job at dictating the pace and bringing extra energy that Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy rewarded him by playing him the entire fourth quarter. And Williams delivered by helping Orlando pull out a win.
After the Magic committed an inexcusable 21 turnovers in the following game against the Jazz on Wednesday and looked stagnant offensively at certain junctures, it’s possible that once again giving J-Will a greater role could help cure what’s ailing this squad.
“He flies up the court and pushes the ball,” Magic forward Rashard Lewis explained. “He’s a great passer and he’s going to get guys open shots.”
The other valuable trait that Williams offers is his tremendous 3-point shooting.
Orlando is currently struggling from downtown this season, shooting just 33.2 percent from long range. Duhon has not been much help in that regard, knocking down just 30 percent of his attempts from distance and only 36.4 percent of his shots from the field.
Williams, on the other hand, shot 44.4 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range last season and he’s currently making 60 percent of his attempts from downtown in the Magic’s 2010-11 campaign.
“He’s just as good of a shooter as anybody on this team,” Lewis said. “He hits open shots and he can get to the basket pretty much anytime he wants to.”
Right now, that certainly sounds like a player the Magic could use on the court.
While offensively Jameer Nelson and Jason Williams are terrific, the Magic needed another point guard to serve a more defensive purpose. It’s one reason why President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith decided to seek out and sign Chris Duhon in the offseason.
Although he didn’t get an opportunity to showcase his defensive aptitude the last two years in the New York because of the system Knicks Head Coach Mike D’Antoni leads, Duhon has always been recognized around the league as a defensive-oriented point guard.
While playing in college at Duke, Duhon became renowned for his defensive prowess, court vision and versatility. In fact, the Louisiana native is the all-time steals leader in Duke history.
If given the minutes, Duhon has the potential to rack up extraordinary assist totals. While suiting up for the Knicks two years ago, the former second round draft pick accumulated 22 dimes in a game, which is a New York franchise record.
Perhaps the most fitting word to use to describe Duhon is “organized” and that is exactly how Stan Van Gundy described him after his recent marvelous performance against the Charlotte Bobcats.
With Jameer Nelson out while recovering from a sprained ankle, Duhon stepped up and tallied nine assists and zero turnovers to help Orlando edge Charlotte.
“The organization was good,” Van Gundy said. “I thought he did a great job. I thought he kept us very organized.”
In spite of the fact that I have a tremendous amount of respect for what Williams offers, which is to speed the game up and effectively assure easy baskets in transition, I believe ultimately it will be Duhon’s defense off the bench that will catapult the Magic to greater success.
With their being so many elite point guards in the NBA today, including Chris Paul, Deron Williams, who erupted for 30 points against Orlando on Wednesday, Rondo, Derrick Rose, John Wall, Steve Nash, etc. etc., it's imperative to have an array of options to try and match what opponents can counter with.
Perhaps to solve this dispute, Van Gundy can figure out a way to play three point guards in games. Just a thought.
In conclusion, I side with Duhon in this debate, but I think either choice is an acceptable one.
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