Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Whatsa Matter With …

Manu Ginobili?
Don’t say we didn’t warn you. All through his playoff run, all through the offseason, we warned you. A super-hot playoff run doesn’t mean that those stats are going to carry over to the following season. But that said, I don’t think anyone expected a statistical drop like this. His shooting is a disaster (under 30%), and other than a few hot streaks he’s really been almost nonexistent in the Spurs offense.

Still, he’s showing signs of improvement. His 13 boards and three steals last night were encouraging, as were his 37 minutes. But the fact is, the Spurs added some serious depth last year, and that’s only a bad thing for Ginobili. Despite the hot playoff run, I don’t think you can expect him to be much better than he was last year, and maybe some of those 3rd-round picks that were spent on him could have been spent better elsewhere.

Larry Hughes?
Last year, Hughes was the 1A to Gilbert Arenas’ 1 in the Washington offense. He was given free reign a lot of the time in the offensive system, chucking 20-footers and driving the lane with regularity. He also had the ball in his hands plenty, leading to a career-high 4.7 assists. Meanwhile, his defensive abilities meant he was put up against the other team’s best perimeter player, so as the on-the-ball defender he managed to come up with a ton of steals. Oh yeah – and on top of all that, it was a contract year.

Now, he’s a clear second-banana to LeBron James. He is much more of a spot-up shooter on the Cavs, as LeBron and Eric Snow/Damon Jones both control the ball more on offense. He won’t approach the 18 shots per game or 4.7 assists of last year, and in fact maybe he shouldn’t have been picked in the 3rd or 4th rounds either.

Jamal Crawford?
One day, twenty years from now, Jamal Crawford and Darko Milicic will sit down and have a nice meal and reminisce about the time the were stuck in Larry Brown’s doghouse. But until then, Crawford is going to have to fight his own battles in New York. His minutes have gone from 37 in the opener to 24 to 17. His points, from 11 to 4 to 2. He’s clearly the odd man out right now in New York, and its tough to get out of that position when Larry Brown is your coach.

Jamal Crawford might be the highest-drafted player to land on the waiver wires this year without being injured. Brown has no patience for players like Crawford – high-turnover, low-FG% types who needs the ball in his hands. It’s much to soon to actually drop him, but there is no reason he should be in the starting lineup for anyone.

Kurt Thomas?
You know, I could have just as easily picked Jim Jackson for this spot, or even Raja Bell or James Jones, but I’ll stick with Thomas as the biggest disappointment so far. Despite Amare Stoudamire being out of the lineup, Thomas is seeing only about 23 mpg, and even worse, he’s only grabbing 4.3 boards.

So what’s the problem? Well, the problem is, the Suns have found that they can go with an incredibly small lineup and still win. But so far they’ve played only Dallas and Sacramento, two teams who love to run just as much as the Suns, and the Lakers and the Jazz, two teams who, really, aren’t very good. Once the Suns are forced to play a big man in the middle, that man will be Thomas, and hopefully his stats will turn around a little in the coming weeks.


Anonymous bublitchki said...

How about *gasp* LeBron?

It's early I know, but I must say I'm getting a bit dismayed by LBJ's seeming drift away from multi-cat beast toward one-dimensional scoring machine.

When I bypassed KG for LeBron with the first pick, I was expecting something similar to the Oscar Robertson like numbers he put up last year. Yeah, his scoring and threes are up so far this year but what's up with those one rebound, 3 assist games? If I wanted a one dimensional scorer, I could have waited to the third round and drafted Michael Redd instead.

Any insights into this? Is LBJ takin on more of a pure scorer's role this year? Or will we eventually see the re-emergence of the multi-cat beast anticipated by those of us who selected him with the #1 pick?

12:19 PM  
Blogger bv said...

you know, i very nearly talked about lebron today in this column, but at this point i think it's just too early to worry. sure his assists and boards are down but i think he's still finding his role with all these new players around him. maybe you won't see the 30-8-8 that many were hoping for but something like 30-6-6 is certainly still reasonable to expect.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How are James Jones and Raja Bell considered disapointments? Im sure both were taken near the last couple of rounds in most drafts (both went in the 11th round in mine). Both are getting big minutes and providing double-digit scoring. Raja chips in with good %'s while Jones will give you a couple of treys a night. As long as they were taken at the right time, they are both nice players to fill out a roster.

Btw, great job with the blog, keep up the good work!

4:45 PM  
Blogger Bjorn said...

good article, like it. I would add M. Daniels who I expected to do good and Stack and Christie have been out more or less so why isnt daniels stepping up? He is getting minutes but contributing almost nothing to my team so far. I also have crawford so thats double trouble for my GF positions. Damon Jones also is on my team sadly along with Josh Davis so yes I am in deep trouble, falling towards the buttom of the league.

5:18 PM  
Blogger DM said...

James Jones hasn't techincally been a disappointment, but if he continues to refuse to get rebounds or assists, he better keep hitting three 3s a game. Which is certainly not out of the question. He's starting to look a whole lot like this year's Kyle Korver. I think some people were hoping he'd be more than a one category specialist. We'll see how it shakes out.

Daniels has been disappointing so far, especially with Stackhouse out. It just emphasizes the point that it's really, really tough for guys who don't start to be reliable fantasy options. There's just not enough upside.

Josh Davis? Do you mean Josh Smith? Because if you mean Josh Davis, then man, your team is beyond in trouble.

6:42 PM  
Blogger MKD said...

Peja. That dick. What's his problem? Sabotaging my squad. You guys think he'll ever get back to the high 40%s in shooting, or will he be the scrubby shooter he was last year forevermore? What the hell happened?

2:31 AM  
Blogger DM said...

You gotta stick with Peja. You don't really have any other choice. Can't trade him while his value is low. The Kings are still feeling each other out. Er, not like that. As in they have lots of new players. They will start scoring lots of points soon, if only because they will give up lots and lots of points. They can't play defense. At all. Pathetic. The Pistons ran all over them last night. Anyway, Peja's got a long enough track record of success that you have to think he'll turn it on eventually.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Bjorn said...

Josh Smith it is. I thought he might show similar things like he showed at the end of last year, maybe better. It seems like a trend this year to go for experience over athleticism or rookies. LB doing it is no suprise but perhaps others are copying LB and that makes me sick since I love picking up those young sleepers, buy low and sometimes sell high. Did this successfully every year but never better than last year when I pickup up Wade in the 7th round. This year nothing much happening with my sleepers and it just makes me sick.

2:55 PM  

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