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Shootout: El Asesino



Welcome to what we’re calling a new feature here on PFB even though we really stole the formula/template from multiple other blogs.

Here’s the skinny: I pick a topic, formulate a question for it, and choose one of my OSU-loving contributors to volley back and forth on said topic until we come to a conclusion…or a fistfight, whichever comes first.

Today’s guest is someone I should have held court with a long time ago: social media extraordinaire Kevin DeShazo. And when I say extraordinaire I really mean it, seriously follow him on Twitter or check out his blog and find out for yourself. On to today’s question…

With the evolution of the point guard in full swing and producing Roe v. Wade levels of debate on the merits of Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, and Derrick Rose in these 2011 playoffs, how do you feel about CJ Guerrero (the Mexican Assassin) stepping in as very much a score-first PG for the Cowboys next year?

CJ Guerrero "The Mexican Assassin" looks on in GIA

Kevin: I’m thrilled about The Assassin. Absolutely thrilled. We’re losing 36 ppg from last year (this is assuming Williams is posting up convicted felons rather than whatever scrub OU manages to put in a uniform). 36. We averaged 68ppg last year. Mathematicians will tell me that’s 53% of our scoring that disappears. Who is going to make up that difference?

If Guerrero is what we think he is, he could create all sorts of havoc for opposing defenses. If he shows that he can consistently carve (shoot?) up defenses and get to the basket, people named Nash, Olukemi, Brown and Page could have a field day. We might be able to legally refer to it as a legitimate offense, as opposed to whatever last year was.

My only concern is Nash (and I blame you for this). The question is how will he feel about El Asesino’s style? Because if he isn’t thrilled, well, I don’t want to talk about it.

Kyle: Nash will feel what Nash wants to feel, I assure you of that.

I’m not as sold as you on (and I love this) “El Asesino.” Granted, I haven’t seen him play and we’re both going straight off of numbers, styles, and whatever John Helsley throws in the Oklahoman, but let me explain.

Basketball players are so athletic these days. What happened to the days of our youth when our parents had to shield our eyes from John Stockton’s junk popping out of his shorts and only like 3 floor generals could even touch the rim, much less dunk? I blame Kevin Johnson, but that’s another post for another time. The point is that this era’s positions are amorphous if not downright ambiguous.

In watching the NBA Playoffs I’ve fallen into this point guard dilemma: do I root for the score-first guy who can single-handedly create and beat a defense or the less chaotic more beautifully in charge pass-first-score-if-I-have-to prototype that is Chris Paul?

As much as I love Russell Westbrook hammering on Duke graduates, I’m a purist at heart and I have to go pass first, everything else second. Which brings me back to Guerrero.

I’m not sure how all of this is going to mesh together. Will he and Nash just have a fight to see who gets to play PG? I’m assuming you saw the interview with Nash where he said Travis Ford told him he’d get minutes at the one. What does Reger Dowell think about all this? “Hey guys, here I am, the only reason our tourney hopes were still on life support into early March, hey, hey over here guys!”

As much we we goad Gottlieb and his shot, I’d still take his seemingly preternatural ability to find streaking wings and forwards in little to no space for easy lay-ups and dunks. From what I can tell, that’s not Guerrero’s game at all, and I’m not sure I can buy in quite yet.

Kevin: Agreed on Nash. And I can’t bring myself to formulate a response to John Stockton’s NBA career assist leading junkage. I just can’t. I will say, though, that Derrick Rose, in his first 3 years in the league, is averaging .2 assist per game less than John Stockton was at the same point in his career. Westbrook is higher than both. Not that either RW or DRose is going to drop off 13 dimes per game for the next 10 years like Stock did, but at this point in their careers they are equal.

Like you said, the game and it’s players are different. Instead of basketball players, we have athletes. You put Russ or D Rose in a skills competition against Stock, KJ or Nash in their prime, and the young guys get killed. Put them on the court, and it’s like me against LeBron. For a reference, a college roommate used to refer to me as “the Ethiopian.” Stockton was 6’1 175lbs dripping wet. Trying to stop 6’3 190lb Rose? Child please.

I think the question is not what we want to watch, but what wins games. Unless of course, you’re T Boone, then you care about both. Because as sad as it is, if El Asesino isn’t winning with style, GIA isn’t getting filled. At this point, the answer to those questions is a toss-up. Which is why we’re even discussing this.

I saw Nash mention that Ford would play him at PG. Whether or not that’s true, Nash probably believes it. And Ford isn’t going to publicly rebuke him. Yet. I think they have to battle it out. “They” being CJ, Dowell and Gulley. I don’t want Nash at the point. Not yet.

I’m all for the purity of pass-first. As long as there is somebody to pass it to. A half-court lob from CJ to JPO? Easy enough. Hitting Markel on a back-door cut resulting in a loss of scholarship for whatever poor soul is underneath him? Bring it. At the end of the day it’s going to come down to the Russell Westbrook dilemma. Is he taking too many shots? Probably. But he can’t pass it to people that don’t move. Can the Cowboys execute some form of an offensive set, so that El Asesino can go all Ricky Rubio on Iowa State? That’s yet to be determined.

Kyle: But do we really care more about winning games than the way they’re won? Or are the two not even mutually exclusive.

Why is this exercise creating more questions than answers?

The bottom line is that if El Asesino wins games his style won’t be questioned, I think. But I can guarantee you the first time he jack 20+ shots while everyone else stands around and watched, the 60+ crowd in GIA is going to be headed for the turnstiles early. And that’s about the last thing we need right now.

Kevin: Seriously. With every paragraph I have 5 more questions.

I think, if we’re honest, we care about both. Not as much as our basketball-IQ challenged rivals to the South, who hated Kelvin Sampson even though the only thing he ever did was win. Well, that and text. A lot. He texted more than he won, but that’s for another day.

We want wins, and if we get wins we aren’t going to throw a big fit. But we also want it to be exciting. It’s nice to make the drive back to OKC or Tulsa knowing our boys just pulled off a W, but it’s a lot more fun if we’re talking about dunks, cross-overs and sick back-door cuts that lead to dunks. I don’t want our team to be the basketball version of Big 10 football.

We’re desperate for something to get excited about East of BPS. GIA longs for legitimate craziness something fierce. If El Asesino and Nash can co-exist, GIA might just get her wish. And with a deep tournament run as the cherry on top.

Kyle: My takeaway from all of this? I love the nickname El Asesino even more than “Mexican Assassin”…if I can only figure out how to pronounce it.

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