Marcus Banks has been talking a lot about taking over the Heat this year, even as Heat fans are ushering in the smoke-filled Mario Chalmers era and lamenting Banks' dead-weight contract. But maybe, just maybe, Banks is worthy of optimism.
Here's Banks' per-36 minute line from his 12 games with Miami last year, his fifth season in the NBA:
15.8 points...5 assists...2.9 turnovers...3.5 rebounds...0.8 steals...51% fgp...40% 3pfg...79% ftp...15.5 PER.
And here's Billups' per-36 line from 2001-02, his fifth year in the league and final year with Minnesota before signing with Detroit.
15.7 points...6.9 assists...2.1 turnovers...3.5 rebounds...1 steal...42% fgp...39% 3pfg...88% ftp...17.6 PER.
Now I understand 12 games is a small sample size for Banks, especially in a bizarre situation like Miami's last year. My point is that point guards are notoriously slow to develop; a five-year process of becoming a legitimate starter is not unusual.
I would argue that Banks is in a position to succeed with Miami in 2008-09 much the way Billups was in Detroit in 2002-03. He should be an asset on the fast break and in getting to the basket. in the half court. The key, I think, will be his ability to knock down jumpers off of Dwyane Wade's penetration. If he does that at the clip he did over those 12 games last year, rather than at his 34% career 3-point shooting mark, he might do more than win this year's starting job. He might lock down the position for a few years to come.