July 20, 2009
This is why these teams are good. Great, even.
Both are going to be happy with these guys. Both players have sizable holes in their games — Daniels tends to float, Moon tends to be a little shot happy from all the wrong areas — but in the final estimation these quirks are completely made up for by the things they do well. The things that help teams win. The things that Cleveland and Boston are going to love.
I don't mean to get into a lovefest with Moon, I never knew how much I dug his game until last season, when I stopped paying attention to the big dunks, and stopped wasting my time preparing to act all stuffy and remind people that "he's already 28, you know. He's not some young up-and-comer."
He's 29 now, and the guy can play. He starts breaks with defensive rebounds, and he helps finish them. With the sheer amount of defensive attention LeBron James gets on the break, with Mo Williams(notes) spotting up, this kid (let's just call him that, he is a month younger than me, after all) is going to have a field day should Cleveland continue to try and push the ball more.
And Daniels? I can understand why a team like the Pacers would decide not to pick up his $7.5 million option. Not in this economy, not with the team sometimes struggling to pull in five-figure crowds.
Honestly, 25 teams could use a Marquis Daniels, and a team that is 13 months removed from a championship just picked him up. You have to appreciate that.
And while Daniels hasn't built upon what was a very promising rookie campaign in 2003-04, the guy can play. He has all sorts of little tricks defensively, he can work from two positions, he can shoot, he can shoot on the break, and he can really get into the lane. He's essentially a mini-version of another rookie on the 2003-04 Dallas Mavericks - Josh Howard(notes). At, what, one-sixth the price?
These are the little things that contenders get to do, I suppose.
I have to suppose.
Take the Utah Jazz. As of right now, they're luxury tax payers, about $3 million over the tax threshold right now even before adding Paul Millsap's(notes) contract extension. But the team will be likely to find a suitor for Carlos Boozer's(notes) $12.3 million dollar salary, so why couldn't Utah take a swipe at either Moon or Daniels for a little above what both players got from Cleveland or Boston. You can't tell me the Jazz could badly use either wing.
Same with Chicago. Same with the Mavericks. Same with a ton of teams. I refuse to believe that fiscal concerns are completely and utterly to blame. I think these teams just underrate Moon and Daniels, more wary of their limitations as opposed to enthused about their overall production.
It's their right. Neither player is a given. Daniels could fade in that Boston locker room, sulking at the drop in pay. Moon could clang away. Neither player is a sure thing.
But they're both a lot closer to a sure thing than a sure flop. A lot closer. And in an offseason that's been more distressing than encouraging, this just seems like another sign of the - not economic - times.