Introducing James Posey

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Published: July 21, 2008

It's said that fans have a tendency to overrate their own teams players – a tendency that General Managers can fall into as well.  Part of this is due to watching those players every day and developing attachments to pieces and parts of their game.  I love West's baseline fadeaway, the deadly pick and roll at the elbow that Chandler and Paul run.  When Peja stops in his favorite 3-point spot on a fast break and the ball is on the way, I get a chill.

So what better way to kick off the James Posey era than to get an insightful look from one of the writers over at the CelticsBlog.  Steve Weinman kindly responded to my request to give us some insight on James Posey's game.  Enjoy.

Hornets fans,

 

It’s with great displeasure that I set out to write this letter to you.  Sure, I’m grateful to Ryan and the good folks here at Hornets247 for giving me a chance to come on and blabber for a while.  But you’ll have to please forgive me for me slight frustration at the subject: James Posey is no longer a member of my beloved basketball team.

 

On the bright side for all of you, that this upsets me so much is really just a testament to the congratulations that are in order for the Hornets organization and all you fans.  You’re in for a treat.

 

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard the whispers that at $25 million over four years, your team overpaid for a 31-year-old reserve small forward, and you’ve heard the claims from stat heads that his production isn’t what you might like it to be at that salary.  Four years from now, James Posey likely won’t be worth more than $6 million.  But he’ll be worth quite a bit for the next two to three years, so the suggestion here is to think of that fourth year as part of the ‘cost’ that it took to get Posey to New Orleans in the first place…and then to let our minds slide away from the issue of the big contract and onto the basketball court.

 

You know the basics by now, the same run-down that we of the green faith heard a summer ago at this time: that Posey can defend and hit the three.

 

 

But what you’ll see when you watch him every night is more than that.  This isn’t a guy who just makes an effort defensively.  He makes every effort for every second he is on the floor.  He is the type of defender who wants to be inside the clothes of his man.  He is the sort of player who just has to have every 50-50 ball.  He’ll back down from nobody.   He’ll come out of scrums clutching loose balls that you thought he didn’t have a chance to get.  He’ll give your Hornets team a mean streak and an added layer of protection for every player on the team.  This is a guy who truly gets the meaning of working or what’s on the front of the jersey.

 

That composure intangible is pretty impressive, too.  Posey will shoot the threes with such a relaxed stroke that you will almost manage to forget that the fate of a playoff game is hanging in the balance.  He’ll stroll to the foul line with less than ten seconds left in a one-possession playoff game like he’s walking his dog in the park.  Completely cool and unflappable.

 

As for the specifics of his capabilities, Posey is clearly a small forward and he is an excellent defender at the three.  He has the toughness and tenacity to play the four in small-ball line-ups for stretches at a time, but the Hornets will have to be wary of not over-using him there.  The numbers with the Celtics indicated that he wasn’t quite as effective there defensively, and more traditional post-up big men will certainly give him some trouble there simply because of the size issue.  He shouldn’t be your back-up power forward because neither his offensive game nor his defensive acumen fits the standards there, but he can guard the spot in spurts when called upon. 

 

As far as guarding the two is concerned, the contention here remains that Posey is deceptively quick.  We’re not saying that he can handle any two guard in the league, and again, both Posey and the Celtics were most effective this season with Posey playing his natural position at the three.  But against bigger twos with a bit less speed, Posey can certainly hold his own, and if he has the interior help that a player like Tyson Chandler brings behind him, he’ll certainly be able to cause problems for two-guards on the outside.  There was a rumor for a while earlier in the summer that the Hornets would be interested in starting Pose at the two.  Not a good idea as far as either the starting or the position in question would be concerned – but he can mark opposing off-guards when needed.  The long wing-span is a big help with this as well.

 

Speaking of that deceptive quickness, Pose is going to provide a surprise on the offensive end every now and then as well.  Don’t get me wrong — generally speaking, he fits his reputation as a spot-up three-point shooter.  He loves to drift to the corners (easily his sweet spots) and the low wings and feast off of defenses that are inattentive to him.  You’ll get quite used to watching that relaxed kind-of-off-one-foot righty stroke of his over the course of the year. 

 

But every now and then, he’ll cross everybody up and get to the basket with greater speed than one would expect.  On the rare occasion that he makes a basket cut, it’s usually well-timed, and he loves to go baseline off of a give-and-go to swoop through for a reverse lay-in.  But in addition to that, Posey will also get you a basket here and there simply by putting the ball on the floor and getting to the rim.  He looks to go to his left for the scoop lay-up with the off-hand, and the rarity with which he utilizes the move allows him to catch defenders off guard.  Part of the reason for that rarity comes from the fact that Posey is a poor dribbler – on the odd occasion that he ends up pushing the ball ahead, he’ll remind you of a homeless man’s Stephen Jackson – but he picks his spots well and gets to the rim well when he does.  On the break, though, you can expect to see him looking to fade to the perimeter for kickouts rather than filling the lane and attacking hard.

 

All in all, for a reserve forward, James Posey brings a virtually ideal combination of skills and physical gifts with him to the Big Easy. He’s wingspan and frame (6-foot-8, 215 pounds) allow him both the height and quickness needed to be a versatile player and the physique needed to  rag some of the league’s top scorers all over the floor.  But Posey is also a heady player who makes excellent decisions with the basketball (takes open shots, moves the ball, cuts when he has the lane) and limits the dumb gambles defensively.

 

James Posey wears his heart on his sleeve every night, and I have no doubt that he’ll win a place in yours in no time at all.

 

 

Congratulations once more, Hornets fans, and here’s hoping you make it to the Western Conference Finals and no further.  In the event that the Celts are there, I’ve got no desire to see the man I insist on calling Big Game James in an opposing uniform in the Finals.

-sw

 

Thanks again to Steve Weinman and the CelticsBlog for taking the time to put this together for us.

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