One dark, dismal, and cold Thursday afternoon, an idea for a poll struck me like a bolt of lightning — and by that I mean this question had permeated our group thread and likely a few bar discussions in the greater Memphis area. Like any good #BlogBoy, I fired off a tweet poll. The results, as a clickbait article would say, are UNBELIEVABLE:
Well, you heard it here folks. Jaren is better than Luka. Case closed. End of story. That’s just the way it’s going to be.
Now, before Mavs fans start an NBA coup, we know there’s quite a few elements factoring into this analysis, and that a simple reactionary twitter poll by no means captures the totality of fans’ thoughts.
The Poll Votes May Be Skewed:
I initially tweeted the poll to my predominantly Grizz-based (but heavily #NBATwitter influenced) following. I then mentioned a few Mavs’ #BlogBoy sites. As pointed out by quite a few Mavs fans in the mentions, this may skew the results, because they presume, perhaps wrongly, that all [homer] Grizz fans would vote “no” (to keep Jaren) and all Mavs fans would also vote “no” (to keep Luka). The fans surmise:
I don’t necessarily disagree (although my intentions were less than conspiratorial), but I admit that my knee-jerk intention was to determine what Grizz fans thought about such a trade. In other words, I wanted to know just how much Grizz fans loved Jaren halfway through the season when it looks like Luka is going to be a 19-year old All Star tracking LeBron’s rookie stats.
Grizz Fans Love Jaren:
Most of the Grizz fans in the mentions expressed clear desire to keep Jaren. A few were less sure. There’s no doubt this is an extremely difficult poll — causing the fans to carefully measure immediate impact, future upside, and the importance of players who play both sides of the ball. A few notable comments:
Backdoor Cut Crew Takes:
SLIM: Luka was always going to be a good player right away. Jaren has shown more than anyone imagined he could and he’s just scratching the surface on a team that won’t even pass him the ball.
Jaren is scary good but still raw as fuck. He’s already miles ahead of where I imagined him to be at this point. Dude is unstoppable when he can stay on the court, without any elite offensive skills. Also will almost certainly be better than Luka defensively. Sure, my fandom plays into it a lot, too.
CHIEF: I’d do the trade in a heartbeat [hides in bushes]. I wouldn’t even do it for the immediate impact. I truly believe Luka is going to be MVP in 5 years. For the same reason that Jaren gets the “he hasn’t scratched his ceiling” benefit of a doubt because of his age, Luka is a few months older, and will similarly grow and develop as he gets older and figures out NBA officiating and how to best play the NBA’s game in this era. His style lends itself to other good players wanting to play with him, and the man’s got swagger despite the pigmentation of his skin. I think he’s a Harden/Steve Nash hybrid, and whether you like it or not, that style of player is dominant in today’s free-flowing offense/foul happy NBA.
Yeah, OK, But Let’s See Those Stats:
20.3 PTS, 6.7 RBS, 5.1 AST, 1.4 STOCKS, shooting 44-37-73, in 32 MPG with 28% usage and a 18.8 PER for a team currently sitting at 20-24 (13th in West).
Shot attempts: 15.3 FGA (6.6 3s, 8.7 2s)
Plus/Minus: 2.6 offense, 0.6 defense
JAREN JACKSON JR.:
13.2 PTS, 4.7 RBS, 1.2 AST, 2.6 STOCKS shooting 52-33-79, in 26 MPG with 23% usage and a 17.5 PER for a team currently sitting at 19-25 (14th in West).
Shot attempts: 9.7 (2.4 3s, 7.3 2s)
Plus/Minus: -1.0 offense, 2.4 defense
In conclusion, a reasonable critic can make the argument that once Jaren obtains Luka’s usage and shot attempts, he can be just as effective an offensive player, not even taking into account the immediate (and impressive future trajectory) impact Jaren has on the defensive end of the floor.
Both of these players are quite different but monsters in their own way. There’s no doubt Luka is “better” now, but the tale won’t be fully told until they’re both entering their 4th or 5th season.
[banner image: WDEF]