Mid-term Reports: Point Guards

We’re over the half-way point of the season, and with the team suffering mixed fortunes so far we thought we’d ask three of the most knowledgable basketball experts to give us their thoughts on each player’s contribution so far…

Unfortunately, everyone we asked said “no” or didn’t get back to us.  But we quite liked the idea, so Andy, Stuart and Duane had a go instead; starting with the point guards.

JaJuan Smith

DR: Now departed and replaced by Reggie Middleton, JaJuan was a real crowd pleaser in his time at the Rocks.  At times he could be a joy to watch; chucking full-court alley-oops to Tayo, going coast-to-coast to lay it in, knocking down threes on the OT buzzer to win games…

But at other times he could be frustrating; taking threes with 18 seconds left on the shot clock, trying to dig us out of 5 point holes all by himself, etc.  And those are the things that I remember.

There’s no doubt that he was instrumental in any success we’ve had so far this season – his 2nd leg performance against Bristol in the Cup Semi-Finals was sublime – but he lacked the consistency to be the team’s leader.

Grade: C+ – no doubt has the ability, just needed to make better decisions at times

JJ, or the iPhone as he shall now be known, confuses me. Loads of fans and loads of great publicity, with an end product that doesn’t *quite* justify either.  His shot clock management is a bit ropey and he has a tendency to make poor shot choices from time to time.  That said, some of his 3 pointers have been sublime – the OT Wolves game will live long in the memory of many.  The way in which he closed out the game during the Durham comeback also deserves plaudits.  He has carried the team at times – sometimes unnecessarily.  It’s difficult not to like him.  His ego is endearing rather than annoying.  Additionally, his fan interaction is first class.

Grade: B, above average, not quite first class.

The most exciting player I have seen at The Rocks since Donald Robinson, JaJuan, or JJ as he was more commonly known, made a massive impact in his half season at The Rocks, from last second game winning buzzer beaters to dragging the team to a massive comeback victory in Durham, JaJuan was a great addition to the team. At times it looked like he made a few unwise shot choices, trying for the 3 pointer in almost impossible situations when a pass to a more open teammate seemed a better option but again – I don’t know much about basketball so feel free to disagree with this!

JJ was recently released by The Rocks for “misconduct related incidents”, this seems to make me like the guy even more, every fan loves a bit of a maverick. JJ’s fitness by the time we got to the 4th quarter did seem a little lacking but I would definitely rather have him than not have him.

Grade – B+ – Room for improvement in terms but a massive part of any success we have had so far this season.


Jonny Bunyan

ST: Local lad Bunyan has been a faithful servant to The Rocks and is as enthusiastic a player as we have.  He is so enthusiastic that he plays for 2 teams, serving Falkirk Fury in the Scottish leagues with distinction.  Whenever Bunyan plays for The Rocks he never lets us down.  A quick look at his stats show one of the highest field goal percentages in the squad in recent weeks.  Johnny is a valuable asset on the bench (I am sure I have seen him call a couple of timeouts) but it is on the court that I would like to see him get more of a chance to prove himself. Comfortable on the ball when pressed by opposing guards, I don’t think I have ever seen him lose the ball when dribbling it from the back, it always amazes me how skillful these guys are.

Grade – C+ – Needs more of an opportunity to prove himself and needs to make sure he grabs any chances he can with both hands.

JB is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates – you just never know what you’re gonna get. His minutes are as erratic as his play. You could count up his total minutes from our league games against Newcastle on one hand. Conversely, against Bristol, he’s earned over 40 minutes from the bench. We’ve all seen glimpses of what he can do, but never any real consistency. He’s done *alright* when he’s come on but doesn’t really provide the spark off the bench that we require when the starters sit.

He clearly has a decent pedigree – his SNBL MVP shows that.  I’d like him to step up more.

Grade: D, below average, must do better.

 JB had something of a breakthrough season a couple of years ago, more than holding his own when it felt like everybody else was injured.  Since then he hasn’t quite fulfilled his potential, but there’s no doubt he’s a solid, reliable player in the league.

There have been a few games this season where he’s really added something extra, and the away support praised him highly after his performances in Newcastle and Durham last weekend.  He’s a very similar player to JaJuan in that they’re both happy to settle for the outside shot, so hopefully the addition of a penetrating guard like Reggie means that JB brings something different off the bench.

Grade: C – used sparingly so far, but should hopefully be able to bring something different to the team with Reggie starting.  Marks off for missing Rocks games to play for the Fury.