Memo to Raptor Nation: Ford is a Lemon
Reaction to the Ford-Villanueva trade is trickling in from the North. Much of it is well-written and well-reasoned, particularly the piece in the excellent Raptor blog known as raptorblog (I need to add a permanent link). Unfortunately, and I'm not being smug and I'm definetly not in the tank for the Bucks when I say this: the consensus forming in Raptor Nation is wrong.
That developing consensus is generally the following: the price for Ford was steep but not unreasonable because he is a point guard and therefore a premium value and, they claim, he is somehow the one missing piece that will make them complete. I say this to my friends up north -- indeed I have said the very same things when TJ looked like he was going to be a Buck for life -- TJ Ford is an annoying player, a poor point guard with production numbers barely surpassing the likes of Tyronn Lue and Chris Duhon, and I can assure you he will never be the missing piece on anyone's team.
A. His Good Points
I like Ford personally. He is a class act, an A+ person. He is an inspirational example of determination and will. And as a player he has good points. He is certainly lightning quick. And he can be fun to watch, especially when he does his coast-to-coast sprint.
However, he is a deeply flawed player on both ends of the floor.
B. His Offensive Shortcomings:
First the offensive end. He has no jump shot. None. So he must use his quickness to attack the basket. However teams have learned that when TJ penetrates the effective strategy is to have the perimeter players stick with the jump shooters and then have the big men foot fake at the little guy. Such tactics completely nullify him because his response will either be to over-dribble or to take a low percentage 'leaner' in reaction to this move.
What about his floor generalship? He is very undisciplined with the basketball, committing far too many foolish turnovers. He takes way too many shots for a player with such a poor eFG%. He is irritatingly short on the intrinsic qualities a leader must have. Indeed, by the end of the season he was driving me crazy with his inappropriately constant smiling and giggling. It struck me as immature.
C. His Defensive Shortcomings
On defense, he sucks. Plain and simple. First, his effort is inconsistent and generally poor. When he picks it up he can harass the opposition's PG effectively -- as long as the ball is out on the perimeter. But unfortunately he rarely displays any commitment at all to defensive intensity. His fatal flaw, however, is something he cannot control: his diminutive size. He will always be at the mercy of average size PGs in the association. Indeed, he could not stay on the floor against the Pistons once Piston coach Flip Saunders realized he could post Ford at will and with anyone he chose to defend.
I've got to cut this short. I'm late for a wedding. Bottom line: even if Villanueva reverts to his destructive collegiate habits, this trade is still an overall plus for the Bucks. Simply ridding ourselves of Ford puts us ahead of the game.