Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Stupid Bottom-Dwellers

You would like to think that with only 30 spots available for NBA GM’s and another 30 for coaches, there would be enough mildly competent people in the world to fill those positions. But no! Instead, there are teams running around like chickens with their heads cut off, giving playing time to the wrong people and not making much sense with a lot of their decisions. Let’s look at 2 of them right now:

Atlanta Hawks
GM: Billy Knight
Coach: Mike Woodson
The Hawks have lost 22 of their last 23 games. They’re leading the way for most balls … in the draft lottery. You’d like to think that with all hope for the season lost by mid-November, they would have decided that the best thing to do is play their youngsters exclusively. Wrong again! Instead, the Hawks have been giving major time to 35-year-old Tom Gugliotta, 31-year-old Tony Delk, and 27-year-old Tyronn Lue. True, the Joshes (Smith and Childress) are getting plenty of PT, but what about these guys:

Royal Ivey, SG
The Hawks had 3 second-round picks in the draft this past year, and Ivey was the second of the three. One thing I like to do when looking at players who get spotty PT is look at the games where the player has gotten 20 mins or more. For Ivey, he’s reached that mark in just 6 games this year. But here’s his average line in those games:

9.8/2.5/2.5, 1.2 steals, 0.3 3’s, 55% FG, 89% FT in 23.7 minutes.

Converted to 40 minutes per game, he comes out at 16.6/4.2/4.2, 2 steals, 0.6 3’s, same percentages. You’re saying you wouldn’t want to at least give this guy another look? That you NEED to have Tony Delk in the lineup 30 minutes a night? Ugh.

Boris Diaw, GF
Diaw was taken late in the first round of the 2003 draft and looks to be a bust. He got 25 mpg last year and only put up 4.5 points and is getting even less time this year as a result. However, he’s shown flashes – he put up 17/8 in 31 minutes against the Knicks last week, and if you’ve invested a first round pick in a guy – overlooking Brian Cook, Josh Howard, Mo Williams, Kyle Korver, and others – you might as well play him when you’ve got nothing to lose.

New Orleans Hornets
GM: Allan Bristow
Coach: Byron Scott
First things first: I like Byron Scott. I think he got a raw deal with the Nets and that he was basically forced into going to the Hornets, a terrible situation and a team that is getting ready to rebuild. Unfortunately, Scott is not a rebuilder. And as such, he’s continued to give vets like PJ Brown and Lee Nailon major minutes for no reason whatsoever. And while Dan Dickau has certainly gotten major minutes this year and has been a major revelation in the Big Easy, there are others who could stand to get some minutes to, such as:

David West, PF
West has only played in 18 games this year due to injury, but I still like to think he’ll be able to be a quality player in the NBA. After all, he was the 18th overall pick in the draft in 2003, and he had a very impressive career at Xavier. West did get 3 starts in late November/early December, and responded with 11/7.3 and very little else stat-wise in 36 mpg. Those are decent numbers, and I’d like to see West get more PT as the season closes out instead of PJ Brown.

Bostjan Nachbar, SF
Nachbar appears to be another one of those European invasion busts, never really establishing himself in Houston. However, since being traded to New Orleans, he’s actually seen decent minutes – 21 per game, in fact. And he’s responded fairly well. He’s put up 8.2 ppg, and showed some distance on his jumper by knocking down 1.2 3’s per game (on 40% shooting from long range). He’s not a particularly good rebounder or passer, but I’d like to see him get 30-35 mpg instead of Lee Nailon.

One-Day Wonders
Pick ‘em up today, so you can play ‘em tomorrow!

G – Deshawn Stevenson, ORL
Here’s a guy who is probably on you waiver wires but is a great one-day wonder prospect. He had back-to-back 20 point games while Steve Francis was out, and when Jameer Nelson went out with some ribcage injury, he got 40 minutes in last night’s win against Atlanta. He’ll be unlikely to help you anywhere but in points, but against the Raptors on Wednesday, he’s got a great chance of scoring over 20 again.

F – Michael Pietrus, GSW
This is a guy that, should he get into the right situation next year, will definitely be worth targeting late in your draft next year. Last week against Milwaukee he dropped 18 points and 4 steals on the Bucks – he could be lined up for a similar game against the same team on Wednesday.

C – Steven Hunter, PHO
With Amare Stoudamire sitting out last night with an ankle injury, Hunter and Jake Voshkul split time at center. Hunter WAY out played Voshkul, getting 14/6 with a block in 23 minutes, while Voshkul had more fouls (5) than points (4) or rebounds (3) in 21 minutes. Look for Hunter to get closer to 30 minutes Wednesday against the Sixers if Stoudamire can’t go. If Stoudamire plays, though, Hunter is useless.

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