Three years ago, we had a young spindly sophomore emerging as a spot starter, making us dream of rainbows and massive scoring output. At the same time, a fiery, gritty rookie entered the scene, asserting himself into immediate plans whether you like it or not. Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia began their climb to imminent eminence together, and we've hardly looked back.
Back then, in January 2006, I laid out the evidence and questioned whether I'd want to keep Martin or Garcia. The poll (which has since disappeared) ended up really even -- about a 50-50 split. My own thinking followed closely, as you can see from my conclusion in the aforelinked post. It was a tough question -- really tough. In the end, Martin seems like a no-brainer. No offense to Garcia, but Martin has turned into one of the best two-guards in the world while Garcia as Sixth Man of the Year potential at best.
So here we are with a young sophomore and a rookie, one showing flashes of offensive stardom and the other showing impossible toughness and heart (and some skills, too). Like Martin and Garcia, they basically play the same position. While the team managed to hold on to both young guards, the shake-up to come will be much larger than Peja-for-Artest -- to get a superstar, either Spencer Hawes or Jason Thompson probably need to be involved. That's unfortunate, because (as in the Martin/Garcia case) I'd love to watch both these cats grow up.
I'll reserve my breakdown for next week lest I reach the same conclusion as the group as a whole and be accused by sycophants of leading a cult of <Hawes or Thompson>. And again -- I do hope both can stay. I want both to stay.
But in the event that's not possible ...