Eric Maynor: The Protege

Shanette SotoCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2009

It's mid-October, the leaves are not quite crumbling yet, but the mild chill that prompts hot chocolate making and scarf wearing in these parts also signifies two things for me: the NBA preseason is in full swing (it's a good thing, too, my YouTube favorites from last season have all worn out their welcome. Or it is I who has worn out my welcome to YouTube?) and NBA action (the relevant kind) is just around the corner.

This is an opportune time of year for roster hopefuls who hope to sway the coaching staff's initial opinions and land a coveted spot on an NBA team. For them, it's more than just an exhibition game, it's their livelihood at stake and the validation of a life-long goal.

I feel for these newcomers; this league is so competitive and fickle that literally one game can make or break you.

Wes Matthews, I see you!!

For new draft picks like Eric Maynor, it's a rite of passage into a magical world they only know prima facie from TV; I'm sure it looks different than what his dreams and ESPN had manufactured. This is the real thing.

Big boy league, so pull up ya huggies and keep ya drool in check.

But Maynor has a couple of special circumstances that will allow his transition to be smoother than most rookies', I think.

He has great vision and ball handling ability for a rookie, which should be beneficial, since it looks like he will be the primary point guard backup for Deron Williams. I am also impressed with his poise and demeanor—he never gets flustered.

Mind you, they have played a whopping three preseason games so far, but Maynor has played entire quarters while Williams prepares for the upcoming grind of 82 games and 35 minutes a game, on average.

These natural talents will make him well-equipped for the long demands of the regular season, but he has one more glaring advantage over most other rookie point guards in the league.

You know him as D-Will, "Sweet" Deron, or like Ahmad says and I like to call him "Ice Cold," due to the sub-zero temperature of his blood.

Maynor is to Williams what Kanye is to Jay-Z, or more appropriately, John Stockton's Williams.

With one important distinction.

Williams is present to give advice and guidance, while Stockton had departed from the Jazz years earlier, before Williams was drafted and thrown into the harsh reality of Jerry's standard, two-year long rookie dog's a cold and lonely place, that dog house, especially with no other dogs to keep you company.

I even heard Williams say before that he really resented Jerry and didn't feel comfortable until about halfway through his second year, the same year the Jazz won 54 games and made it to the Western Conference Finals.

Nowadays, Williams is a big shot, quite literally the most famous person in Utah. For good reason, he is definitely the best point guard we could have found to try and replace the irreplaceable Stockton.

Maynor, while he won't get the most minutes this upcoming season, will gain many invaluable ideas from Williams and the team, which will help him throughout his career—hopefully he stays with my Jazz.

Like I heard someone else recently say, "this kid is NBA ready," no doubt.

Oh, and at least he doesn't have to carry around a Dora the Explorer backpack like the Bulls rookie James Johnson.

Just a dog house.