2010 Report Card: Earl Barron

The Earl of Barron

Earl “The Pearl” Barron

Earl “The Duke” Barron

Ah, the late season gem. Over the last ten years (Can we start calling it “The Lost Decade?”), Nix fans have had precious little to root for as the calendar hit March and April. The 8th seed was a lofty place where our boys could find no purchase . What we did have in abundance, was 11th/12th men and/or D-League call-ups who’d capture the fancy of the maddening throng by putting up some nice/solid efforts in otherwise meaningless games, the most surprisingly effective of which (Sorry. Courtney Sims. You do, however, win the award for “Knick whose moniker sounds the most like that of a Porn Starlet”) was 2010’s Earl “Insert Pun-tastic Nickname Here” Barron.

For those unacquainted w/his personal bio, The Earl was an undrafted 7’ Center out of Memphis in 2004…

Stop. Let’s take a moment to ponder that seemingly innocuous fact. If you’re 7′ tall and play for even a semi-viable college program, you will get drafted by the NBA. It’s the corollary of Parcells’ “earth-movers” theory – to wit: there are a limited number of sentient beings who are 7′ tall who have operant limbic systems and one absolutely must have one of these massive individuals on one’s roster in order to win. Ergo, go git that big mofo!

Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen the likes Patrick O’Bryant, Rafael Araujo, Curtis Borchardt, Hasheem Thabeet. BJ Mullens, Spencer Hawes, Jason Smith, Hilton Armstrong, Saer Sene, Johan Petro, Robert Swift (sorry ex-Sonics fans), The Immortal Pavel Podkolzine (I think Pavel P. and Chad Ford ended up getting an apartment together – Darko’s moving in next year), DeSagana Diop, (Channeling my inner Jack Horner/Burt Reynolds here, those are great names!) all taken 5-10 spots in the draft ahead of where they should have been selected b/c…well…”You can’t teach height.

So the fact that The Barron went completely undrafted suggests that, while he may not have been vertically challenged, the varied talent evaluators thought he didn’t even possess a glimmer of the ancillary skills required to play professional basketball at the highest level. (See Mike K’s excellent Eddy Curry Autopsy for further reading on this subject.) The early part of his career certainly suggested that the wags were correct as he toiled for Tuborg Pilsner in the Turkish league, the Hunstville Swift of the D-League, and w/Red Bull Barako in the Phillipines from 2003-05.

Pat Riley did bestow him a towel-waving gig for the champeenship (refs…cough, cough…refs) Heat in ’05-’06 and he managed to stick around for another two seasons, but nothing in the numbers suggested he was anything more than a big body taking up space:

So when the Nix signed him to a 10-day, the odds of Early Barroness doing anything of note were somewhere between slim and none (And Slim’s outta town and I ain’t no nun!)

But lo! Somewhere in his wanderlust, The Earl acquired a very solid 15-18 ft. jumper and prowess on the boards that was eerily reminiscent of David Lee’s early work. Now whether he can maintain this pace, or this seven-game blip is just a statistical anomaly another matter altogether. After all, for a 10-games or fewer stint, you know how many centers averaged 10 ppg and 11 rpg at age 28 or later? One. Earl Barron!

Report Card (5 point scale):
Offense: 3
Defense: 2
Teamwork: 5
Rootability: 5
Performance/Expectations: 5+

Final Grade: B+

Similarity Scores:

.000 Earl Barron 2010 NYK 14.7 50.8 44.1 12.7 4.8 11.9 1.2 0.6 0.6 1.7
.068 Mike Brown 1992 UTA 12.3 51.5 45.3 12.8 3.8 9.6 1.6 0.8 0.7 2.1
.083 Derek Strong 1997 ORL 13.6 51.3 44.7 12.6 3.1 9.3 1.3 0.8 0.4 1.8
.087 Olden Polynice 1993 DET 14.6 49.5 49.1 13.5 5.0 11.6 0.8 0.9 0.6 1.5
.124 Joe Smith 2004 MIL 16.6 51.0 44.0 13.3 3.7 10.3 1.2 0.8 1.5 1.3
.125 Joe Kleine 1990 BOS 10.5 52.9 48.0 11.5 3.1 9.4 1.2 0.4 0.7 1.7
.154 Drew Gooden 2010 TOT 16.9 54.7 47.9 15.7 4.2 11.1 1.0 0.8 1.2 2.2
.159 Dan Gadzuric 2007 MIL 11.9 48.2 47.4 11.1 4.0 10.5 1.2 0.9 1.4 2.1
.161 Mark Bradtke 1997 PHI 9.6 46.3 43.1 8.5 3.7 9.8 1.0 0.7 0.7 1.3
.167 Jim Chones 1978 CLE 14.9 50.3 47.2 15.2 2.7 10.5 1.6 0.6 0.7 2.3
.168 Eddie Lee Wilkins 1991 NYK 10.5 47.4 44.7 15.0 3.7 9.7 0.8 0.9 0.4 2.7

In a very limited sample size Barron hit open J’s, hustled after loose balls, and was a reasonable facsimile of a defensive presence, which as all well know, the ‘Bockers have lacked since Mutombo made his cameo in ’03. We can only hope that he’ll be eternally grateful to D. Walsh for plucking him from obscurity and sign a reasonable deal to provide solid minutes off the bench next season. Then again, w/the utter dearth of bigs, who knows? He might get a poor man’s McIlvaine/Koncak/Jerome James-type deal from some poor, addled GM out there. Isiah?

2010 Report Card: Eddy Curry

Given Curry’s lack of court time last year there’s no point in doing any kind of statistical analysis of him. In fact he’s only played 10 games total in his 2 seasons under D’Antoni. And I don’t foresee any more in a New York uniform. At this point he’s merely a big contract, a tumor on the Knicks cap space. If Curry has the desire to play elsewhere, the Knicks can buy him out and save some money for free agency this summer. If he doesn’t New York can use his contract in a trade. The latter might cause more of a problem because the Knicks would have to include some tangible assets, and last I checked most of them went in the Tracy McGrady swap.

As for Curry the player, he was 90% as athletic as Shaq, but only had 10% of the Big Diesel’s skill set. Curry featured the same 3 or 4 moves that were defendable with a double team or defender drawing a charge. And while Shaq rounded out his game with great rebounding, defense and passing, Curry lacked any semblance of these skills. Curry came into the league as a guy that if you gave him the ball often enough he would give you 20 points trailed by a string of deficiencies. He never evolved beyond that.

Eddy’s biggest shortcoming was not being able to improve himself. When Eddy Curry arrived in New York, he was supposed to turn into the franchise center. What he failed to grasp was that he was supposed to grow into that role, not fall into it. I won’t be surprised if another team gives Curry a chance. But no one is going to throw a big contract at him, or even hand him a starting job. His upside now is a decent backup center, one that can provide a some scoring off the bench. And that’s the best case scenario. I won’t be surprised if he fails to accumulate 1000 minutes in a season again.

Ultimately Eddy Curry’s legacy in New York will be a cautionary tale. Becoming a great athlete is more than just size and physical ability. At the highest levels, sports are about preparation, technique, and desire. Many players have excelled in the league beyond their bodily limitations due to an excess of these attributes. On the other hand plenty of beastly youths have failed to reach their potential. For teams scouting young players, having great physical ability without great yield should be a warning sign that the player is lacking in the mental traits to make them into a franchise player. Eddy Curry’s career is the response to “you can’t teach height”, or more succinctly put “production trumps athleticism”.