Tuesday, February 12, 2008

James Jones: NMVP

It has been well documented that Brandon Roy is this team's Everything. We know this. But for the sake of a blog-post on a slow day, who would you dub the team's Next Most Valuable Player? Aldrdige? Outlaw? Maybe in the future. This season I don't think there can be much doubt that it is James Jones. I bring this up now because the internet is madly in love with the man at the moment, just read this amazingly air tight case that popped up on TrueHoop. And, if I may link to myself for a moment, here's an excerpt from a December 13th entry after the Blazers beat the Warriors:

No coincidence all this winning has coincided with James Jones finding his groove. He continues to shoot at a ridiculous clip, and that threat has allowed other guys (most notably Brandon Roy) to operate much more effectively. Veteran savvy, deep stroke, better than you think defense, James Jones is absolutely huge for this team. By the way, in an oddly recent pop-culture reference, the Rose Garden people play a sample from rapper Mike Jones "Mr. Jones" whenever James scores. I was pleased indeed.

A truly savvy addition to this young team. He gives exactly what the team needs to win games. Great. Wait a second. He's making $2.9 million this season in a league where players earn an average of about $5 million. Portland has given him an opportunity to prove how helpful he can be. He has an opt-out option after the season, and with his stock so high, I imagine it could be a trail worth blazing. Will it lead out of town?

Jones likes being on this team. He likes being appreciated. He likes being one of the vets. But will Portland be willing to pay more than someone else? The choice may come down to love or money. Money has quite a winning percentage in this scenario.

Along with possibly being outbid by another team, Portland also faces the risk of a championship level team luring Jones away. Portland looks to be on the path to contending one day, but at age 27, I'm not sure Jones fits that timetable. Even if he decided to re-sign, could he do so in good faith that he's in the team's long-term plans? He's in his prime now. He brings savvy, defense, and shooting. These are qualities that often describe a title contender's "final piece." Top level teams will be very interested in this man. Players take this route from time to time.

So what will Mr. Jones choose? Love? Money? Rings? Tough call at this point, but attractive offers are likely to materialize. He is putting himself in a position to choose his own path, a big measure of success in this league. NMVP, tough decisions come with the territory.


Luke said...

The New Jim Jones (TNJJ) might bolt, but I doubt he’ll command much more than the $5M mid-level exception. It’s not like he has a history of averaging 15/5/5 or anything nasty, plus he has some question marks regarding his health. Since Pritchard took the reins Portland has been pretty consistent about paying fair market value, while not overpaying or getting into bidding wars. In the last couple years, if you look at Pryz, Blake, Outlaw, and Ime, 3 out of those 4 chose to play in Portland despite getting comparable offers from other teams, teams with better records than us. They chose US! TNJJ has been saying all the right things and I think he fits our timeline perfectly. We’re probably 2-4 years away from WCF and NBA Finals, which would have TNJJ getting sized for his ring around age 30-31. I think it’s most likely that TNJJ stays and KP starts thinking about moving Martell, especially if we end up with a SF in the draft this year... Ooo Eee I love total speculation!

Jack Brown said...

Good counterpoints, seems like there's reasons for him to go AND stay. That makes speculating all the more fun.

Britannia said...

Well written article.

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