Over the weekend a few rumors broke regarding point guards named Watson. Earl was bought out by OKC, and the Magic were rumored to be considering signing CJ to an offer sheet. Thoughts on both situations after the jump.
First, let's talk about Earl. He's logged a little over 13,000 minutes in his NBA career and he's really done nothing to differentiate himself from any other backup PG. 41% shooter from the floor, 33.8% shooter from three, both below average. He has a good assist-to-turnover ratio for his career, but if Indy does in fact sign him, it's no big loss in my eyes. There isn't a whole lot of upside to Earl, maybe he's capable of not killing you for 20 minutes/game at the point, but I think I'm beyond that type of fill in at the point. I want a guy who can make a difference, or a guy who's ready, willing and able to play minimal minutes and tutor the young guys. I don't see Earl as being an ideal fit for that role.
On the other hand, CJ Watson, could make a difference. CJ is only 25 years old and he's coming off a very strong season in Golden State (45% from the floor, 40% from three). CJ is the type of guy who could come in and fit this roster, and I think if they want to, the Sixers could quickly become a favorite to at least sign him to an offer sheet.
Orlando used the lion's share of their MLE on Brandon Bass. They also have a couple of other holes to fill and they do not have their Bi-Annual exception. Meaning, they really can't offer Watson a decent contract, at least not in the first year salary. The Sixers have their MLE and Bi-Annual at their disposal, they can outbid the Magic, and they could outbid them by a wide margin. Add to the money the fact that Watson will be a career backup in Orlando, whereas the Sixers could offer him a legitimate shot to compete for the starting job this season and it should be a no-brainer.
From the Sixers' perspective, CJ Watson would be more than a one-year fill in at the PG position until Jrue can assume the starter's role. He could be a long-term rotational player at the point. He would fit into the overall plan, add depth at a position that has none right now, and provide some insurance should Jrue not pan out. I don't see a downside to offering a decent deal to Watson, one that Orlando couldn't come close to matching.
One problem, though. Whatever offer sheet Watson signs can be matched by Golden State, and every indication has leaned toward GSW keeping CJ. In my mind, though, that's not a reason to avoid going after a player. If you make your best offer and Golden State matches, so be it. You did everything you could. There are ways to make it hard for a team to match, especially a team who just drafted Steph Curry to play alongside Monta Ellis in the backcourt, but at the end of the day, they can keep Watson.
To this point, I haven't seen a lot to fault the front office about. I wanted them to go after Gortat, and I still think they should have, but it wouldn't have mattered, Orlando matched a full MLE offer for him anyway. Jason Kidd and Mike Bibby both signed for too many years and too much money, same with Jarret Jack. Anthony Parker went to a contender, as did Rasheed Wallace. Truth be told, there really hasn't been a missed opportunity to this point, at least not a realistic one. CJ Watson would represent that to me if Orlando did, in fact, sign him to an offer sheet. The Sixers can top Orlando's offer, and they should. Force Golden State to make a tough decision, consider it your due diligence.