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JEROME JAMES.

That name strikes mortal fear into the heart of any lottery GM who watches the playoffs….any GM with a grain of foresight on the shelves of his personal cognitive hardware store, anyway.

That same cognitively equipped GM must watch the playoffs with prudence, lest he be the next man to give the next flash-in-the-first-round-pan a lengthy, unwarranted, wasteful, cap-cuffing contract.

Why, yes, I do have a few cautionary suggestions for Chris Wallace. What made ya think that?


By the way, I fully trust Chris Wallace to do the best that can be done this offseason. Just a statement to start there.

Now let’s get to this season’s crop of potential Jerome Jameses.

-Von Wafer, UFA approacheth. Listen. I like this guy. I like his motor. I even dig that hair. But this guy is flying dangerously close to the airspace above Matt Barnes-2.0-land. DANGEROUSLY. Lovesto handle the ball (and with Ron “aren’t I a point guard” Artest on his team, ya can’t blame the guy for following the topical example), loves to bring it up the court, loves to jack it up and/or take it to the hoop, loves to not really pass it too much. Has size, can play D (although freakin’ Hakim Warrick might look good on D playing for such a killer defensive team as the Rockets)….but someone is going to waste a full MLE on this guy if he strings together a few more good games (and, by the way, I hope he gets to play into June…without the Grizzlies even SNIFFING the playoffs, I say GO ROCKETS). The discipline by which he’s currently surrounded makes him look disciplined…and if that goes away…he could be a loose cannon of blackholeness.

-Trevor Ariza. Now hear me out, here. This guy is tearing it up on my TV RIGHT NOW…and he is a very, very good player…but if the price for him gets up above 7M or so, someone is overpaying. He’s just scary with the ball in his hands. Sure, he doesn’t have Wafer-Barnes disorder (marked by an innate need to handle the ball when one has no business doing so), meaning he doesn’t hold the ball much, but pure energy/athletic guys who lack ballhandling/shooting skills just should not get that kind of cheese. But then again, Rashard Lewis (who TOTALLYlacks, you know, that “defense” thing)got like 952 million dollars, so what the heck do I know.

-Leon Powe. Great story, and I am rooting for this guy to recover fully and reclaim his rightful place as a meaningful rotation player in the NBA. But knowing that the first year you pay this guy, heis going to be on a bike and in a pool, not on a court (’til about January, I’m thinking, anyway), makes it tough for him to get what he debatably deserves. His base talent level is just not enough to get him much beyond where he’s gotten thus far…shouldn’t be, anyway.

-Ben Gordon. This guy can score in a variety of ways, no doubt about it-but he’s one of those guys who can shoot/drive you right out of a game just as easily as he can keep you in it. The weirdness of his UFA situation is sort of compounded by the utter insanity he showed by turning down the 54 MILLION DOLLARS he turned down from the Bulls. Is this guy scared of living near Lake Michigan or something???? Or did he know that his mug would be on TV draining huge shots in the ’09playoffs? Did Miss Cleo tell him about this? What I say about BG is what I say about many guys like him-if he were three inches taller, he’s an unstoppable monster. If he gets double-digit millions from a team, they will have handcuffed themselves for the duration.

Now the best for last, and it sorta doesn’t fit the MO, because he hasn’t exactly been burning up the playoffs….

..Paul Millsap. This guy’s size and rebounding ability and nose for the ball and willingness to swing some elbows and blahblahblah is well-documented enough to make one barf..but this guy has shown a distinct inability to throw a golf ball into a swimming pool from the diving board. He’s been a bit exposed in the joke of a series in which his team is playing (what the heck happened to the Jazz, anyway???) on both ends of the floor. Like many of the players I’ve mentioned, it’s not that this guy has no place on a team, especially a woefully Charminesque team like the Grizzlies…but with physicality at a premium, I fear greatly that this guy may garner 8-9M in his first year, escalating from there….and a MARGINAL ability to shoot from further than six feet should be a definite requirement for a player to deserve such a contract.

I’ll post again in a week or two to update/add/delete guys from the “don’t overpay forthis guy” list….

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