The bar has been raised for TJ Ford
TJ Ford showed me something last night that it will take my brain a while to forget. He CAN be a top point guard in the Association. He has the skills. All he lacks is a disciplined approach and a killer instinct.
Last night he played an aggressive, attacking style, and he was quite successful. Matched against the quickly improving Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson, it was no contest. Ford destroyed him with quickness. Nelson fouled out early trying to guard Ford, couldn't penetrate effectively against him on offense, and was just generally abused in every way possible by the smaller man. If Ford can do this to a bigger and stronger guard like Nelson, he ought to be able to do it to many of the point guards in the game.
Ford showed he can effectively attack the opponent's big men, as well. He took the ball right at the young Dwight Howard and the rest of Orlando's long frontline and, instead of getting his shot rejected, he drew fouls or scored on them repeatedly. He did so by using a new approach. Rather than showing the ball early, as is his custom, Ford took a page from the book written by the better little men in NBA history and constantly moved the angle of release on his shots, thereby protecting the ball with his body when he took it into the lane. As a result, the big men had to come into him to try to block the ball, and they were left to foul him or to swipe ineffectively at the air.
If Ford can add a consistent jump shot to the repetoire he showed last night, and if he can wipe that annoying smile off his baby face, Milwaukee may have something at the point after all.