Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Ron Artest/Josh Smith Three-Pont Shootout, Pre-Trade, Post-Hernia Surgery Edition

Mr. Artest appears to be on his way out of Sacramento. Mr. Smith had hernia surgery yesterday and could be out for up to four weeks. Bi-weekly updates may be too frequent for the near future.

Casting about for other potential competitors to fill out the competition just underscores that these two players are unique and how disheartening are their efforts to normalize themselves. The other players who take and miss a significant number of three-pointers are generally playing hurt (Mike Bibby, Tracy McGrady) or generally ineffective (Antoine Walker, Stephen Jackson, Jamal Crawford in Larry Brown's absence). One might could make a case for a joint bid of Jason Kidd and Marcus Williams, but I cut Kidd some slack for occassionally having the ball in his hands as the shot clock winds down and shooting out of necessity rather than choice and I don't think Marcus Williams is very good.

Thus, the competition remains dual.

Through games of December 26th, 2006
Ron Artest: 19G, 19-72, 26.4%, 2.79 misses per game
Josh Smith: 25G, 19-70, 27.1%, 2.04 misses per game

Thursday, December 21, 2006

PJ Tucker: Free?

Sam Mitchell may be coming around. Slowly.

PJ Tucker got his first meaningful minutes of the year last night against the Clippers playing the final 10 minutes of the second quarter. Tucker was 1-2 from the field, made his only free throw, grabbed three rebounds (two offensive), added three assists, and made only one turnover.

Then he didn't play in the second half.

Starters (*cough*) Kris Humphries and Joey Graham, who combined for seven points and six rebounds, no assists and one turnover in 18 first half minutes, were on the court to open the second half and helped turn an eight point Raptor halftime lead into a tie game half-way through the third quarter. The pair were replaced by Fred Jones and Andrea Bargnani and Toronto had a nine point lead by the end of the quarter.

Sam Mitchell, until I turned on the game last night, I assumed you didn't read Hoopinion. Now I'm not so sure. So, if you do, let me propose this: play PJ Tucker 15 to 20 minutes a night. If that seems like too much, remember, he's just one guy. You can still have either Humphries or Graham on the court if you really want to give some playing time to a young guy questing to achieve mediocrity in the NBA. Your second unit outplayed your starters last night. Hell, your second unit outplayed the Clippers' starters last night. Maybe they shouldn't be your second unit.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Free PJ Tucker!

Last night in Phoenix, PJ Tucker got his first significant run since Toronto's first game of the year. It was garbage time to be sure, but who's to say they didn't get to garbage time in the first place because Sam Mitchell thinks that Joey Graham, Fred Jones, and Kris Humphries (DNP in Phoenix, but ahead of Tucker in the rotation generally) give the Raptors a better chance to be less bad than seven other bad Eastern Conference teams.

Graham has been somewhat improved this year, but he's still a one-dimensional player and there's nothing being accomplished beyond Mitchell setting the bar very low for his successor by using Graham and Jones behind Anthony Parker and Morris Peterson. The Kris Humphries preference is completely inexplicable.

This is a bad offensive team, next to last in the league in offensive rebounding and third from last in free throw rate. Tucker would immediately help in both those areas (though, to be fair, he would likely increase their turnover rate which currently sits third in the league).

November 1st, @ NJ: Tucker gets 8 minutes, scores 3 points (all on free throws) and gets 4 rebounds (1 offensive).
November 2nd-December 18th: Tucker plays in 8 of 23 games for a total of 23 minutes never playing more than 5 minutes in any one game. During this stretch he scores 4 points and grabs 2 rebounds (both offensive).
December 19th, @Phoenix: Tucker plays 19 minutes, scores 12 points and grabs 9 rebounds (4 offensive).

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Ron Artest/Josh Smith Three-Pont Shootout, Eleven Shopping Days Left Edition

I missed the Hawks/Kings game on Sunday night (being otherwise occupied) but Smith and Artest put on a clinic of self-abnegation, combining to go but 1-4 from three-point range.

To be fair, Antoine Walker (22.1%, 3.35 misses per game) puts both of our official competitors to shame, but Walker's poor shooting isn't suppressing his otherwise considerable value. He's just a bad basketball player at this point in his life.

Standings through December 12th
Ron Artest: 16G, 15-60, 25%, 2.81 misses per game
Josh Smith: 20G, 16-61, 26.2%, 2.25 misses per game