COMMENTARY| Michigan State Spartans incoming freshman Denzel Valentine could see time at point-guard this season, according to a local columnist.
Apparently the comparisons to Spartans legend Magic Johnson weren't loosely based on a couple performances. The columnist was impressed Saturday with Valentine's court vision and passing, prompting to him to suggest that he could lead the Spartans offense.
Imagine Valentine running the court with Keith Appling at shooting guard, his natural position. That would make for instant offense, right? What about Valentine running down the floor with Branden Dawson on the wing -- and Gary Harris not far behind, ready to shoot a spot-up jumper.
"I'm a playmaker, so I like to have the ball in my hands as much as possible, make plays for others, make plays for myself. That's what I do," Valentine told the writer Saturday.
That all sounds great. Seeing Valentine at the one-guard would be a treat. At 6-foot-5, he's tall enough to see through the field of defenders and lace a nice pass to a teammate. However, his size could be too valuable to have at the one-guard spot -- a spot which sophomore Travis Trice will probably man with Appling come winter.
Trice was great as a freshman last season, looking, oftentimes, more mature than a first-year player. Of course, he had his troubles, as all freshman do, but he was solid at the point.
Appling is the obvious go-to guy on offense. The junior will be looked upon to lead a group that lost Draymond Green to the 2012 NBA Draft. Minutes for guards could be hard to come by -- Harris enters this season, and then there's Brandan Kearney and Dawson (who is also a forward), along with others.
Appling and Trice have the experience at point guard, while Valentine, an impressive subject, does not (at the college level). Michigan State's offense would be dynamic with Valentine at the point, sure. But with him at shooting guard, that allows for so much more -- especially with Appling on the court.
I'm not saying Valentine won't play point guard. He very well could. But I don't see it happening any time soon. Trice and Appling have done a suitable job. However, like the local columnist suggested, Valentine could be at the one by December. I agree with that, in theory.
With so many talented guards in East Lansing, most Spartans followers probably don't care about the semantics. As long as the guys are on the court being productive, Valentine could be at center and fans would be OK.
It's too early to tell. But it's fun to speculate. Should Valentine be at the point, here's an lineup that I think would work for Michigan State.
PG -- Valentine
SG -- Harris/Appling
F -- Dawson
F -- Derrick Nix
C -- Adreian Payne
Adam Biggers has followed NCAA basketball for over 20 years, specifically the Michigan State Spartans. He can be found on Twitter@AdamBiggers81.