So, what does it take to be a max contract player?
2 years after the signing, is JO worth a max deal?
Clearly Tim Duncan is. When Duncan signed his deal in 2003, he had lead the Spurs to their second title. When JO signed his max deal in 2003 for slightly more(in the league a year longer), he had never taken the Pacers out of the first round.
When a player gets the max, I take it that they themselves are ready to lead the francchise. They are indirectly signing a commitment to be the face of the franchise, and to do everything they can to lead them to the promise land. I believe that court production is just half of what it takes to be max-worthy. You have to lead vocally, and by example.
Ironically, JO attacking fans bothered me alot more than Ron and SJAX. My problems with Ron are based far beyond what happened on November 19. That was the "icing on the cake" so to speak.
I would expect less from Ron and SJAX, because they are average contract players. They arent being paid the big bucks to lead the team. JO is a max player. I thought that JO would have been more mature than that. It really bothered me that "the new face of the franchise" was clobbering fans in Detroit. JO let the fans and the franchise down, plain and simple. What Ron and SJAX did was just as awful, but JO is the franchise now. You can believe that Ron is the key if you want to, and you can make a valid point. But if you believe that, you must believe that JO is severely overpaid.
Obviously the Pacers had to pay JO the max if they wanted to retain him. He would have bolten to SA. I firmly believe that. If the Pacers would have made a lesser offer, he would have felt extremely disrespected. He didn't merit a max contract at the time. I wouldn't pay a player the max that couldnt lead the team past the Celts, the same Celts team that got smoked by NJ in the next series.
In a perfect world, the Pacers would have JO on the roster with a reasonable contract. Only Duncan and SHaqlike players deserve such large sums of cash.
JO-production wise on court, skill wise: top 10 without a doubt
JO-leadership wise, not even close to top.
I like having his skills on my team, but I don't think he is a capable leader........yet.