I have been waiting for the emergence of Greivis Vasquez since he left college in 2010. Greivis Vasquez is a 6-foot, 6-inch machine from the University of Maryland. He has never received the credit he deserves, until now.
Raymond Felton averaged 17 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 1.8 steals per contest when he was the Knicks starting point guard. Toney Douglas averaged insane stat lines when he started 12 games during his rookie season for the Knicks. Are you starting to get the picture? Any player that starts for the New York Knicks at point guard in a Mike D’Antoni offense will bolster huge statistical numbers. Case and point = Jeremy Lin.
Vasquez can be best compared to Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings, but I would trust Vasquez’s jump shot over Evans’ any day. In fact, Greivis is the prototypical height for a point guard. He is a walking triple-double on a nightly basis. Sure, he has not found his home yet, but he is proving on a nightly basis that he belongs in the NBA. Better yet, Vasquez is demonstrating in 2012 why he should be some NBA team’s starting point guard.
Since Jarrett Jack went down with injury, Vasquez has seemingly stepped into the light. However, the brightness of that light was dimmed considerably with the emergence of Jeremy Lin happening at the same time. Vasquez has been overshadowed by the New York sensation, but he won’t be forever.
New York is “the” market, especially for sports. Therefore, Vasquez has received no love as he plays in the lowly state of Louisiana, not typically revered as a basketball haven. Regardless, slowly and surely the young Maryland product is making a name for himself in the league. If it wasn’t for Jeremy Lin taking over the league on February 4, there is no doubt that Vasquez’ recent accomplishments would be higher on the nation’s radar.
Jarrett Jack, the original starting point guard for the Hornets, went down on the 1st of February. Since then, Vasquez has taken over and hasn’t looked back. In his very first game without Jack against the Suns, Vasquez torched Phoenix for 20 points, 12 assists and 6 rebounds.
In 12 games since Vasquez has begun starting for the Hornets, he is averaging 13 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. Even when Jack returned to the team, Vasquez has remained a starting guard. The most telling sign that Vasquez will be better than Lin over time is the turnovers, in which Greivis is averaging only three per night, opposed to Lin and his 7.5 turnovers a game (most in the league).
If you watch basketball and can understand the game as it unfolds in front of you, then clearly you can see how good Vasquez is going to be. Fortunately, I have been obsessed with this guy’s game since he was at Maryland. I was even clammoring for him in Memphis when he was sitting behind Mike Conley Jr.
The first opportunity that Vasquez receives for his very own starting job will be his last because once the team that signs him observes his daily routine….they will never look at another point guard. In three of his 12 starts, Vasquez has grabbed a double-double. With more experience, Vasquez is going to grow into a better player than he already is, with little NBA exposure.
If Greivis Vasquez were to play in a system like New York’s where Jeremy Lin in capitalizing, Vasquez would be the talk of the nation. It is all about your individual talent and your individual situation. The Knicks happen to run the best offense for a point guard in the NBA, just ask the former 2-time league MVP Steve Nash.
The Hornets point guard gets it. His understanding of the game and what the defense is giving him, is apparent. Vasquez doesn’t force the issue and allows the game come to him.
Jeremy Lin on the other hand forces everything. Lin makes careless turnovers because he leaves his feet with the ball, which is something most of us learned as children for what we should not do.
In Mike D’Antoni’s perfect offensive system for point guards, most succeed early. In fact, if Lin was starting for any other team in the NBA, his numbers wouldn’t be close to the stats he has registered with the Knicks.
Lin has a nice jump shot like Vasquez, but he Jeremy is undersized. Vasquez has a full 3-4 inches on Lin and is way more explosive, but Lin is more savvy around the hoop. Lin does create under the basket with more ease, but aside from that is not better than Vasquez at any single basketball activity. In fact, Vasquez has the ability to create his own shot like Lin, but can be more effective with his size advantage away from the basket.
No matter what, both point guards are very talented. However, in the long run I want Greivis Vasquez as my starting point guard over most, including the man known as Jeremy Lin. Vasquez is more intelligent on the floor than the Harvard grad. Vasquez is better defensively, longer and larger in size, stronger physcially and much more calm and relaxed with the ball in his hands. Once Greivis Vasquez locks into a starting role with an NBA team, watch out. Vasquez will be the next big thing in the league once the confetti clears from the Jeremy Lin parade. Believe me when I say, the Greivis Vasquez era is coming soon to an arena near you.
Follow Tony Piraro on Twitter @TonyPiraro