By Jason Wojciechowski on July 5, 2008 at 9:33 PM
ESPN has the story that Chris Duhon has picked the Knicks. Orlando was apparently his other major suitor. I think this is a great pickup for New York. We keep hearing about how the NBA has turned (back?) into a point guard's league, and the crop of good points, old and young, is huge: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, and Baron Davis are the first tier. Derrick Rose might join them soon. The second tier is also outstanding: Tony Parker, Jose Calderon, TJ Ford, Chauncey Billups, Mike Bibby, Devin Harris, Rajon Rondo, and Jameer Nelson. D.J. Augustin could join this group. Then there are the combo guys, Dwyane Wade, Brandon Roy, Randy Foye, Allen Iverson, and Monta Ellis. You'll notice from that list that the West dominates the East, but the Eastern guards are still formidable.
Unless the Knicks managed to get TJ Ford or wanted to draft DJ Augustin, they weren't going to end up with a guard with the offensive or all-around skills of the guys on this list. So what's the next best thing? Get a guy who can defend against all these guys. That's what Duhon brings.
But this is Mike D'Antoni! Doesn't he need a Steve Nash guard to run his offense? Well, sure, that'd be nice, but it wasn't going to happen this off-season, so you work with what you've got and upgrade your team as best you can. It's not like Duhon's worthless on offense, either. He shoots it at 35% from three, and carries a better than 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. His turnover percentage (an estimate of how many turnovers he commits per 100 plays) has gone down from nearly 19% his rookie season to just under 16% last season. Context: Steve Nash was at 21.6% last year, Chris Paul was 12.1%, Deron Williams was 17.7%, and Baron Davis came in at 11.9%, a career low. So Duhon could be better, and he could be worse. He isn't as good as any of these guys, but he probably plays better defense than all of them. Offensively, maybe the best word to describe him is "steady".
The other notable part of the story is that Duhon was apparently promised a starting role, so I guess Mikey D. isn't bothering with Stephon Marbury. Or else he's going to use Steph off the bench, assuming Starbury isn't going to pout his way through the year in that situation.