Picking the Poison: The Josh Childress vs Hakim Warrick Amnesty Debate


Ah, Josh Childress. The illegitimate child of Shawn Marion and a WNBA scrub. Josh Childress, the 6 million dollar contract. Josh Childress the member of the Suns’ useless afro guy club. That’s what I call him on a daily basis. That’s how much I hate him. And yet, here I am defending him in all his overpaid uselessness. This guy is making twice as much as Jared Dudley, and yet he doesn’t even compare when it comes to his playing ability. And I’m defending him. This kind of makes me feel really bad about myself.

A part of my argument actually might be illogical, with Warrick being the shorter and smaller contract, and Childress being a boy among men in the league — or so I would say, if I were one to heed to public opinion.

You see, when news of amnesty struck the NBA blogosphere, everyone was screaming “Curry Cure this guy! Curry Cure that guy!” because of a great Bill Simmons/Jonathan Abrams collaboration article on Grantland, and the quite obvious consensus for Phoenix was that the team should waive Josh Childress. After all he hasn’t cracked the rotation, is more expensive than Warrick, etc. While using said amnesty on Childress would be great, I dare say that using it on Warrick would be better. After all, a hustling boy is often times better than a unmotivated man.

Childress gets  a lot of smack for being paid to warm the bench. Given that he averaged 16 minutes in the 54 games he’s played in with Phoenix, it’s hard to argue with that, especially when considering that Warrick did play 3 more minutes and did not show up in only 2 games this past season. So why on earth am I still supporting Childress? One word: potential.

That’s right, I said it. Crucify me and call me Nebuchadnezzar, but I really do believe that Childress still has potential, something that Warrick doesn’t really have. Once again, yes, Childress is only a year younger. Yes, he’s almost 30. And yet, he’s had time to improve. Warrick also fits the system more. Yes on all accounts.  And yet, I want to keep him around, because I know that while Warrick will always be a beggar’s Amar’e, Childress has a chance to be a poor man’s (current, not prime) Shawn Marion.

The comparison here does not stem from the awkward style or the outright terrifying jump shot — no, these are happy coincidences that only add to this comparison, thus making me all warm and fuzzy inside. The comparison comes from a few things I’ve noticed in their game. Defensive intensity, hustle and that weird ability to create something from a seemingly lost cause . Towards the end of the season, after Mickael Pietrus got injured, Childress got some consistent playing time and showed nice defensive skills and hustle, forming a quite formidable defensive wing duo with Dudley, also providing some nice rebounding and scoring a few baskets here and there. And while Pietrus certainly has a similar skill set and then some, he didn’t manage to pass a medical test for the French national team in August, and his health seems to be a big issue. That said, unless the Suns find a guard in Free Agency (Jamal Crawford or Shannon Brown… Umm… I think I’ll keep the cap space) Childress will probably end up being the backup small forward.

That’s right, there’s going to be a use for Childress. Heck, in a way, his presence would be missed. How about Warrick then? Markieff Morris was evidently brought in to replace him as the backup power forward, and even if he or Frye get injured, the Suns still have guys like Lawal (who I’ll probably get to see live in Warsaw if the lockout continues through January) and Siler in the front court, and I’m pretty sure they’d both work harder than Warrick given the chance to play. The Suns also still have Lopez who in all his afro-uselessness has moments of brilliance, and he could always play center with Gortat playing the four for some stretches in time. Also, the frontcourt doesn’t need to be limited minute-wise as much as the wings do. Dudley can run around for 35 minutes every game, but I doubt that Hill will be able to pull off more than 30 per game on a regular basis. We must also remember that Hill leaving Phoenix is still a possibility, and though I doubt he’d leave the team medical institutions behind, he just might be tempted to go for the ring with a few teams that need a veteran all-around presence on the wings (see, OKC Thunder. Chicago Bulls) this, once again leaves Childress as a more useful and needed player than Warrick.

Picking poisons might be really hard, in this case it is a case of choosing which limb to loose. Is it the leg, or the hand? Because one limb of Phoenix operations is going to be hurt by either choice. If we choose Childress, the finances, if we choose Warrick, the team. All in all, this dilemma is not as simple as anyone would like it to be.

It seems to me as if despite the appearance of being useful, Hakim Warrick is quite the contrary. A woeful defender who can’t score without a certain Canadian passing him the ball, while Josh Childress, apparently useless, showed that he can be useful at times. While I absolutely understand if you think that Childress should be the one to be Curry Cured, and wouldn’t start scheming to get rid of Robert Sarver (no, I have other reasons for that) if he did so, I’ll still stick by my poison, that poison being Josh and his huge afro.