It seems like the best press conferences always come from the veteran role players, and it makes sense. They've been around the block and know the media game. They tend to appreciate the spotlight rather than take it for granted. And they know that being articulate, humble and likable has a way of extending careers and opening doors to life after basketball.
So a couple weeks removed from signing for the bi-annual exception, Keyon Dooling was in town this morning for his press conference and he did exactly what you'd expect: impress. Let's start with some humility:
"Things didn't really work out in Los Angeles for me. But there's also a lot if life lessons you can learn from failing. And I failed miserably as a young player, but I had an opportunity with Miami to rekindle my career..."
Check out the video above for plenty of other stuff that will have you nodding your head. Does Keyon Dooling think really highly of Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings? Of course! Is he happy to come off the bench and help Jennings any way he can? Naturally. There's also some less predictable stuff--the talk about Eddie Jones' mentorship was interesting--and in general you'll have a hard time not liking the guy after about 30 seconds of hearing him speak. That's a good thing, and it's exactly why the Bucks should be happy to have Dooling on board.
The fact that he's a decent basketball player is another good reason. Don't expect him to put up 09/10 Luke Ridnour numbers next year, but I'm also not expecting Luke Ridnour to put up 09/10 Luke Ridnour numbers in 10/11. Granted, Dooling's never been known as the most natural of PGs, but that's OK so long as Jennings stays healthy and Dooling manages to do what we know he can do: make threes at a nice clip (42% and 38% the past two years) and defend capably. It'd also be nice if he improved his accuracy on long twos, an area where Ridnour excelled (57% last year) and Dooling has struggled (37%, 29%, 40% and 33% the past four years).
The Bucks will also be hoping Dooling can stay healthy after a year that saw him miss 29 games and struggle with a surgically-repaired hip for much of the season. Among the underrated factors in the Bucks' success last year was that neither Ridnour nor Jennings missed a game, meaning the Bucks were never forced to trot out a cruddy third stringer PG for meaningful minutes. Roko Ukic was pretty good as far as third stringers go, but the Bucks' good health meant they didn't miss a beat when he left for Europe midway through the season.
In fact, this is the first time in John Hammond's three year tenure that the Bucks won't start the season with three natural point guards on the opening night roster. In 2008 it was Ridnour, Ramon Sessions and Tyronn Lue. In 2009 it was Jennings, Ridnour, and Ukic. And in both previous years you had Charlie Bell available as a more-than-adequate emergency backup (BTW, anyone else remember when some people wanted Bell starting at PG ahead of Mo Williams?). For now the still-unsigned Darington Hobson is the third string PG by default, but at nearly 6'7" he's probably too big to keep up with most NBA point guards.
It's not the kind of thing worth losing sleep over in August, but the Bucks will be in a mighty tough spot if (for instance) Jennings is lost to a long-term injury, and even a Dooling injury would leave them incredibly thin in the backcourt. It's also worth noting that if the Bucks sign Hobson and Tiny Gallon they won't have any spare roster spots to add a D-Leaguer or other free agent to fill in for an injured PG or center. The Bucks do have some trade chips if they get desperate for another PG, but I'm still hoping that assets like Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Mbah a Moute aren't simply used to patch up an injury-riddled backcourt.
No need to worry...it's only August.