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.