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Earl Watson agrees to a deal with the Utah Jazz

Sep 21, 2010, 8:45 AM EDT

earl_watson_indiana_pacers.jpgEarl Watson has game made for the background. He’s not a bad player. Sub-average, really, but not bad. He’s spent most of his career as a reserve, and has typically managed to hold down the fort while his team’s regular point man sips on Gatorade.

When Watson is asked to do more than tread water (See: 2010 Pacers, 2008 Sonics) however, he flounders. His mistakes — the kind you live with from a backup but can’t stand from a starter — become glaring, his couple of points and assists here and there in limited stretches don’t translate to bigger minutes, and Watson’s limitations take the forefront.

Without that kind of responsibility and extended burn, Watson is a nice player to have around. According to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports, Watson will be a nice player to have around in Utah; Watson and the Jazz have agreed on terms to a guaranteed deal, and he’ll have a chance to compete with Ronnie Price for Deron Williams’ scraps.

It’s tough to peg the ’10-’11 Jazz. So much of their season depends on how quickly Al Jefferson can pick up the flex, and whether Andrei Kirilenko and Paul Millsap can carry more of the offensive load. On top of those concerns, Utah’s depth on the wings has evaporated, as Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, and Wesley Matthews have all fled for other squads.

Signings like this one (in addition to the Raja Bell pick-up) help to partially offset that loss by filling backup minutes at other positions, but the roster turnover should knock the Jazz down a peg nonetheless. Their current shooting guard and small forward options are a definite drop-off from their ’09-’10 counterparts, and that deficit combined with the integration of new personnel, and a shortened campaign out of Mehmet Okur could conceivably push Utah out of the tight playoff race in the West.

  1. Michael Warren - Sep 21, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Solid pick-up. Earl Watson is one of the better playmakers in the league. He was once known as an excellent defender, playing under Gary Payton. Now that he’s playing under Jerry Sloan, he might get back to being the defender he once was. He’s got decent size, and will be a good back-up to Deron Williams. He’s a good athlete, due to his good leaping ability, and he’s got very good speed and quickness. He’s also a good rebounder, decision-maker and a reliable mid-range shooter. I expect him to play better than he ever has, because he hasn’t been to the playoffs in a long time and now he’s playing on a good playoff team. So, nice pick-up and good luck to the Jazz this season.

  2. jerome - Sep 21, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    It’s good that Earl Watson is finally signed. There are still lots of good point guards in free agency, who are still not signed. It’s very odd that point guards like Rafer Alston, Jamaal Tinsley, Mike James, Jannero Pargo, Flip Murray, Antonio Daniels and Mike Taylor are not signed. Most of them, I haven’t heard any news or updates on them either. No news what so ever on there futures. Hope they get signed. Also Rafer Alston and Jamaal Tinsley are 2 all-star level point guards from New York. A shame they’re not signed.

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