As much hate as he gets, I still like Simmons' articles. I understand they are, at times, totally self-referential -full of in-jokes and name-dropping, but I think he gets a lot of hate purely because of jealousy. He's pretty much a fan getting paid to write about sports - that's pretty awesome.
In his most recent article, he defends the much-talked about Marion/Shaq trade.
"And yeah, I know he's talented, and the stat geeks love him, even though he peaked as an impact player two seasons ago and has a nasty habit of disappearing in big games."
I wonder why stat geeks love him...
15.8 points/game - 56th in NBA
10.1 rebounds/game - twelfth in the NBA
1.53 blocks/game - twenty first in the NBA
2.04 steals/game - eighth in the NBA
52% field-goal shooting - nineteenth in the NBA
53 total turnovers - 167th in the NBA
Marion can probably play every single position on an NBA court at least somewhat effectively. He is a superb defender, hardly ever turns the ball over, shoots well, is a very good rebounder (18 last night) and a good second/great third scoring option.
His wide range of really good stats make him one of, if not the, most unique player in the NBA. I understand the argument that Nash and Amare take a lot of pressure off of him, but seriously, no one else in the NBA puts up the array of numbers at the level Marion does.
In his two games so far with Miami (small sample, I know, but still) he has put up 19 PTS/16 REB/2.5 STL/1.5 BLK/2.0 TO. Those look pretty close to his season averages.
As far as "disappearing during big games" is concerned, I heard proof is good. Could it be that Amare and Nash take over late while not playing defense at all?
He is not a top-tier player, but he is an All-Star caliber one, a perfect fit for the Suns and should of hauled in more than an ancient Shaq and Marcus Banks.
Oh and he's the number one overall fantasy basketball player this season so far. He's obviously not the best player in the NBA, but he is unbelievably under-valued.
I don't think you need to be a stat geek to love Shawn Marion.