No Steve Nash?
Yep, there's been a lot of angst now over the over-priced contract of Landry Fields that the Dinos are likely going to be stuck with. I'm not that upset, but as I noted yesterday, this contract is definitely less appealing without Captain Canada. Landry is going to have to really step up to validate being paid more than someone like JJ Redick. Redick's no superstar, but he's incredibly valuable for what he does, and consistently so.
However before the panic sets in, I thought we should get the straight goods from someone who's watched Mr. Fields up close the past two seasons, Seth from SB Nation's Knicks' blog, Posting and Toasting.
Here was his take on what Raptors' fans may expect from Fields:
Okay, let's talk about Landry Fields. First of all, he's a great guy and seems like a great teammate, but you probably knew that already. What you're wondering, I take it, is whether the rookie Fields or the sophomore Fields is the real Fields. I can't answer that question for certain, but here's a little history:
As a rookie, before the Knicks traded for Carmelo Anthony, Fields was just wonderful. He was a master of moving without the ball both to receive it for easy baskets and to rebound it as well as any guard in the entire league. On top of that, he proved to be a pretty reliable outside shooter. His form was unsightly, but it went down if he was open and his feet were set. His defense was nothing special, but he made an effort.
Then, the Knicks traded for Melo. Fields saw less of the ball and his numbers dropped, which was to be expected. It got to the point, though, that he wasn't even making the shots he used to hit when they were available. That carried right through the playoffs. As a result, Fields spent the summer working with Phil Weber (Mike D'Antoni's shot expert bro) to reconstruct his jump shot.
This past season was weird, though. The one constant is that Fields, whether he was open, contested, set, or on the move, could not hit a goddamn jump shot. It was unbelievable. He still took a couple threes a game, but they looked off from the moment they left his hands. Even after working with Allan Houston late in the season, this never really changed. On the other hand, Fields's off-the-ball game--- cutting and breaking open in transition and stuff-- was solid as ever. Particularly when Jeremy Lin was healthy and the Knicks actually had a functional point guard (albeit not quite as functional as Steve Nash. Do you guys know who that is?), Fields filled lanes beautifully and finished plenty of easy plays at the rim. He and Melo even had some nice connections throughout the season. Fields does have a bad habit of dribbling with his head down and putting up some ugly attempts off the bounce, but that diminished over the past year and, again, was often a function of playing without a point guard by his side.
So, yeah. Fields works hard and makes smart decisions. He rebounds. He moves beautifully without the ball. He's an okay defender and usually knows not to try anything fancy with his dribble. His jump shot also went from solid to violently, relentlessly off-target over the past year, and I've seen no signs of a recovery. I expect that playing in a different, more free-flowing system could do a lot for his game, but that jumper was the one aspect of Landry's struggle that didn't seem to have anything to do with Melo or New York's janky offense. Hopefully, it magically returns in Toronto. If it does, you have yourselves a fine young player who seems to be better suited as a 3. (The Knicks played him in that spot along with 'Melo in a lot of three guard line-ups.) If it doesn't, he's really only useful as a finisher and hustle guy, although he does excel as a passer at the top of pick-and-roll situations.
Final thing: "Landry" is an adjective, and it's all yours.