Thursday, July 10, 2008

And, starting at point guard...Chris Duhon?!?!?

Steve Nash was the engine of Coach D'Antoni's Seven Seconds or Less offense in Phoenix. Derrick Rose was the college point guard out of the University of Memphis that every Knicks fan coveted heading into the draft lottery. So, Donnie Walsh went out and signed Chris Duhon away from the Chicago Bulls? Yup. Duhon has signed a two-year pact reportedly worth $12 million.

Duhon enters his fifth NBA season as a member of the New York Knickerbockers. The first four seasons of his professional career where all spent with the Chicago Bulls, who drafted him early in the second round of the 2004 NBA draft. During his time in Chicago he was the primary back-up to Kirk Hinrich and the third wheel in the Hinrich-Ben Gordon back-court. In each of his four seasons in the Second City he ranked second on the team in assists behind Hinrich. The 2005-2006 season was Duhon's most successful campaign; he averaged 8.7 points and 5 assists per game. The following season, Duhon was an integral part of the Bulls team that won the first playoff series since Jordan was still in town.

The Louisiana-born Duhon played under Coach K at Duke University from 2000 through 2004. He was a the ACC Freshman of the Year after his debut campaign and was the starting point guard on the 2001 National Champion squad. He surprised a lot of people by not opting to enter the draft immediately after cutting down the nets in Minneapolis and (sort of) paid the price when he was a second round pick in 2004 rather than the sure-fire first-rounder he was being touted as in the aftermath of the Duke title. Still, Duhon flourished, mostly, during his remaining years in Durham, NC. He was named team captain and finished his career as the school's all-time leader in steals (300) and minutes played (4,813). When he hung up his college high-tops he was also second in school annals in assists (819). With 123 wins against just 21 losses, he was also the second winningest player in Duke and ACC history, behind Shane Battier (who had 131 wins to his credit). He was also the only ACCer to record 1,200 points, 800 assists, 475 rebounds, 300 steals, and 125 three-point shots. In other words, Duhon was a very, very good collegiate basketball player

As of today we don't know if he is the Knicks starting point guard (though he seems to think he is), a pass-first back-up or just someone else that Donnie Walsh is throwing at the wall to see if he sticks. And, what does this mean for Stephon Marbury? Is a buyout imminent? Is he going to be traded to a team looking for a cap space after next season? Is he going to be a backup behind Duhon, a guy with a per game average of 6.9 points and 4.5 assists?