Friday, February 15, 2013

The BC Autopsy: Mike James Interlude

Backing up all the way to the beginning, one of the greatest moves Colangelo ever made was convincing the world he didn’t exists... I mean, not re-signing Mike James. If you remember, James, an NBA journeyman, put himself in position to go after a multi-year contract after making a considerable impression with a 27-win Raptors team in 05-06.

Now, collective memory has settled on a myth that James was some awful chucker, taking advantage of a piss-poor team to showcase individual skills and call in radio talk shows, perhaps intoxicated. While true his shot selection and playmaking abilities would ebb and flow and that he played typical Toronto point guard defence (none) but James was a highly effective offensive player on a fifth rank offense (and a 29th ranked defence. We all love to pontificate on players who can “create their own shot” and for that entire season, Mike James was that player. He regularly faced double teams as a result and, while not a gifted passer, was able to feed Bosh in the post and find a suite of shooters that included Charlie Villaneuva, Mo Peterson and Matt Bonner.

The key issue was, this breakout season happened to James at age 30 and with a rare opportunity to dominate the ball (25% usage rate) and eschew defence (and mental health._ All reasonable signs pointed to an unrepeatable performance and so by allowing James to take his talents to St. Paul, Colangelo signalled a possible savvy edge. James didn’t disappoint by disappointing and faded to obscurity as he continued to bounce around the league.

As an epilogue, Mike James is currently coming off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks at age 37. Guards not currently in the NBA include: Tracy McGrady (33), Baron Davis (33) and Gilbert Arenas (31).

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