Monday, January 8, 2007

An Earl-y Trade May be Eminent

(Boulder-CO) Every source on the planet right now seems to think that Earl Boykins in on the trading block. The Akron Beacon Journal reports that, “Though they are running hot now, the Cavs still might look at getting another guard before next month's trading deadline. Two names that have emerged as potential targets, the Denver Nuggets' Earl Boykins and the Dallas Mavericks' Anthony Johnson.”

Even the home town reads are speculating on how long Earl Boykins will be in Denver. The Denver Post wrote today, “Boykins' value figures to be as high as it has been during his time in Denver. He has been the subject of trade rumors and can opt out of his contract after this season, though he would be due $3 million next season. But Boykins says his focus is on the present, and thinking about his playing time down the road is not a concern.”

Although he may be focusing on the present right now, I think that Earl Boykins’ value is far greater as a trade to another team than it is when the rest of the Nuggets get back on the active roster. Let’s be realistic, shall we? When ‘Melo and Smith return the Nuggets are not going to need his services shooting the ball as much as he is now. With the addition of AI, and the return of the aforementioned, there are going to be plenty of more-than-capable scorers to look to rather than Earl.

And now at risk of being on a rant, I am going to really detail how I feel about the overall game of the speedy Boykins. I feel that he only has two speeds. Way too fast and too fast! I know the Nuggets want to run, but lets be real. Running a break with one guy blazing out in front of everyone else is not very effective. I have even heard Earl himself say that when George Karl wants to push the ball that he is capable of going faster than any of the other guys and it would appear that he does this way too often. In this regard, he makes me very uneasy when I should feel safe and sound with a guard handling the ball.

My other main gripe is that he is absolutely hampering on defense. If there is any type of rotation, and there usually is in today‘s NBA, he puts the Nuggets in an all-out fire drill trying to accommodate the inevitable size discrepancy. Now with Allen Iverson playing 40-plus minutes a night, and rightfully so, I just don’t feel that the Nuggets can afford to have two players of such size, or should I say lack there of, on the floor at the same time. The average height in the NBA is about 6’4” or 6’5” and those kind of nightly match-ups are just too much to overcome with not one, but two small guards on the same team.

Now I know that he has been playing good lately (he is lighting the Bucks up right now as we speak...) and that all the Earl-lovers out there are going to be upset with my analysis, but when the real game of Earl gets put under the microscope, and I truly do feel that he does have game, even the Earl-lovers out there have to admit this one characteristic: He is a shoot-first guard playing a position that should look to pass way more often than pulling up and hoisting jumpers. It is working now because the Nuggets are shorthanded on scorers, but I just don’t see it working once the real fire power returns.

Thus, making a trade involving Earl Boykins seemingly inevitable.

I know that at first read that it seems like I am down on Earl and over-looking positives in his game. Allow me to go on record as saying that he is the most amazing player for his size that the NBA has ever seen. Mugsy Bogues, Calvin Murphy, and the like were phenomenal players in their own right, but Boykins is the true Earl of the micros. The only problem is I don’t see his services being needed now that Iverson is a Nugget. It causes match-up problems, there isn’t going to be enough shots to go around when things get back to normal, and believe it or not… I think that the Nuggets fast-break would benefit with a pass-first guard that isn’t afraid to pull it out and reset an offense.

7 comments:

organiceskimos said...

I agree with your assesment about Earl's usefulness declining as the starters come back. He's fun as hell to watch (especially when he plays like he did last night), but with AI the backcourt is just too small. The only way I can see him still helping us out would be if we added an actual PG (Duhon or somebody like that would be awesome) and let him play combo 1-2 for the 2nd line. But he's the only real trade bait/asset left to get someone decent, as we can't afford to ship off any more bigs (ours are too fragile).

The super small ball lineup is a nice change of pace thing, but it's not something that we'll probably need or want much when Melo and JR are back. A team like Cleveland could use a guy like Earl to complement the lackluster offense of Eric Snow and give LeBron some more room to score. I don't know how we'd be able to swing getting Duhon or somebody else (maybe get Earl Watson back?), but that would put this team over the top.

I'm so hyped about JR's return -- especially after that quality win last night. Hopefully they'll be playing with some confidence and take it to the Spurs (who aren't playing that hot right now truthfully). I think JR will up his scoring average during this time if the other games with AI in the offense are any indication -- he's going to get open looks galore.

Nugg Doctor said...

organiceskimo,

First of all, that is a great name. Of course Eskimos are organic. Brilliant!

I appreciate your follow-up analysis of the situation in the Nuggets back court. When I was writing the article I was also watching the game last night and Earl was tearing it up! I almost didn't publish the piece last night due to fear that the backlash it would cause would be so huge due to his awesome performance in last night's game.

It is nice to know that my readership is just as realistic as I am about this team and not just a bunch of foam-finger waiving homers.

It is well thought out comments like yours that keep me doing this because not only do I love the Nuggets, that much is obvious, but I also love talking hoop with other passionate fans.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

organiceskimos said...

Heh, The OrganicEskimos was the name of my old blues band when I was 15. But yeah, this is Stumbleweed. Your blog is weird in that it doesn't let me use my Blogger ID sometimes, so I end up on this account. But yeah, talking b-ball with people who actually know what they're talking about is one of my joys in life.

Not to add competition in a small market or anything, but I'm actually thinking of getting my own Nugs (or just NBA) blog going pretty soon... I'll let you know if/when I get my stuff together and finally do it.

And just curious, have you had any luck getting press passes or anything cool due to your blogger credentials? Just curious, as it seems that blogging is right on the cusp of gaining some of the traditional press freedoms (as evident by FreeDarko and others getting Arenas to pose wearing their shirts, etc.)...

And I so want to wear my JR jersey to work tomorrow. Test the ol' dress code out a bit.

Jason said...

Good Dr., truly a good piece of writing. And anyone who knows basketball and knows the Denver Nuggets team makeup will realize that it may be time to part with Earl Boykins. Quite frankly, a huge reason for Denver's poor defense this year can be attributed to the poor defense we get from our guards, Earl being culprit #1. Denver is forced right now to zone up on opposing teams, and any team that knows how to attack a zone (like Utah did the other night) will be able to consistently score points on the Nuggets.

Also, as far as your comments about Earl and his offensive game, he is basically a poor mans version of Allen Iverson, a shoot first PG. We just do not need him running down the court jacking up shots before his teammates even have a chance to get down and grab the offensive rebound. And lets face it, yes he has played great ball lately, but remember that he is still just about a 41/42% shooter for the year, so do we really want him shooting a ton? No, especially once JR and Melo are back.

Great article, and I am always happy to read your work.

Nugg Doctor said...

sounds really good, Eskimo/Weed. I would love to have another Nuggets blog out there in the Nuggets Neighborhood! There is only two of us who are doing it with any consistency right now and I say the more the merrier.

As far as credentials with the team are concerned... I guess my inside connections, journalism cred and style, and success of this site being in the top five of all the NBA blogs on the internet are not enough for the Nuggets organization to give me a shot. I know they know about what I am doing, but for some reason will not even give me chance. Oh well, it is not going to stop me from doing what I do.

Oh, and I almost fogot... The Nugg Doctor is going to be merchandising shirts, coffee mugs, and stickers just to name a few things real soon here in the new year. I am working on this as we speak and hopefully will have the dry goods ready for market ASAP.

I know that the shirts are going to be a big hit, and 2007 is going to be a huge year for the Nuggets, and The Nugg Doctor!

Stay tuned and thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

Nugg Doctor said...

Thanks for the kind words and the readership, Jason.

I like your imput as well on the Earl situation.

Thanks for reading,

The Nugg Doctor

organiceskimos said...

Good deal, Nugg Doc. Too bad you don't get any love from the organization, but hopefully that will change as they realize that bloggers are the best way to keep people informed about team happenings and actually get good/unique content out to the real fans. They don't seem to offer that much on their own website (aside from standard news and trying to sell you stuff).. so maybe they don't want to direct traffic somewhere else that's doing a better job of covering the team? Just a thought.. heh.

Keep up the good work -- and when that merch becomes available, I'll definitely grab something to show my support.