Russian Vodka Confuses Pargo, Resigns With Old Team

10 07 2009

Jannero Pargo has returned to the NBA after spending a season with Dynamo Moscow. He has signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bulls for $2 million.

Pargo’s last stint with the Bulls lasted three seasons. He played 102 games, while averaging 6.4 points, 2.1 assists and shooting 39% from the field overall. He really didn’t have a huge role on the Bulls. He would seldom play more than 20 minutes as he averaged 14.2 minutes per game during those three seasons.

He went on and played two seasons with the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. After that stretch, he must have felt that he deserved more than what was being offered to him so he jumped the pond to Russia.

Pargo is a very one-dimensional player. His numbers per 36 minutes are almost identical throughout the years.  If he’s out on the court for 36 minutes, he’ll give you 15.2 points but will jack up 15 shots.

Some media outlets are calling him Ben Gordon light, which I don’t exactly agree with. Both are undersized gunners best suited to play 2 guard. Neither can play a lick of defense. Pargo’s a little more careful with the ball than Gordon is but not by much. Pargo’s career assist-to-turnover ratio is 1.74 per 36 minutes while Gordon’s is 1.21. But Gordon is a much more efficient scorer with a 55.4% true shooting percentage (which accounts for 2-pointers, 3-pointers and free throws), Pargo comes in at 47.8%.

So both are looking to jack up shots but the results are much different. Plus, Pargo does not command defenders’ respect like Gordon does.  And that makes a huge difference in the gameplanning process.

Given the Bulls’ current roster, I’m perplexed by why they would throw $2 million to add another undersized guard. And this one can’t even guard larger players like Kirk Hinrich can. 

The inherent problem with having Ben Gordon on the Bulls was that he was a nightmare on defense. The Bulls would basically concede points with Gordon on D, although they would try to mask his deficiency by putting him on the opposing point guard.

I assume that Hinrich (if they keep him), will keep most of the backup PG duties. Pargo simply does not have the playmaking prowess of an NBA point guard. So if Pargo gets into the rotation, he will pose all the same problems that Gordon did. If he is paired with Derrick Rose, Pargo cannot adequately defend 2 guards without becoming a huge liability. So the only backcourt pairing that’s adequate defensively is when Rose is off the floor — Pargo on the PG, Hinrich on the SG.

Isn’t this defensive liability Joe Dumars’ problem now?


Gunnin’ Gordon

25 11 2008

I’m going to tell you something that you might not know:

It’s Ben Gordon’s contract year.

But shhh!, don’t tell anyone.  Ben doesn’t know that we’re on to him.

The guy’s a gunner.  He scores and he doesn’t do too much else.  And that’s fine but is it too much to ask him to make an extra pass to the open man?

If Ben gets an outlet pass, he acts as if Derrick Rose isn’t in the building and he brings the ball up himself.  His favorite play seems to be where Drew Gooden sets a pick at the free-throw line extended so that Ben can drive floorside.  He then forces up a shot at  the freethrow line regardless of how many hands are in his face.

Ben, along with Rose, leads the Chicago Bulls in field goal attempts at about 15.5 shots per game.  He’s hitting them at a very good 48.5% clip.  Clearly, he’s their number one option with Luol Deng hurt.  And although his attempts are up from last year’s 14.9 FGA, he’s also playing three more minutes.

So I can’t get too down on Ben but is it too much to ask for two passes per possession?

Vinny Del Negro admitted that there isn’t much offensive variety in his playbook.  Vinny wants to make it simple for a rookie point guard by streamlining plays.  But the Bulls’ offense gets so stagnant at times.  They don’t make the defense move and their offensive tendencies are plainer than Pam from The Office.

Wouldn’t you get bored forcing the same shot over and over again?

Gordon Signing Means Nothing

3 10 2008
Gentle Ben becomes Negotiator Ben

Gentle Ben becomes Negotiator Ben

Some Chicago fans are breathing a sigh of relief.  As a restricted free agent, Ben Gordon has signed a $6.4 million deal to stay under contract for the next year.  What a relief, right?  The team can finally focus on improving and making noise in the playoffs, right?  Wrong.

Ben Gordon’s recent signing means absolutely nothing.

It does not mean that Ben Gordon wants to be in Chicago.  Towards the end of last season, Gordon was itching to leave the Windy City.  He was offended that the Bulls didn’t give him “Luol Deng treatment.”  His logic went: I led the team in scoring so why shouldn’t I get as much or more than Luol? 

The Bulls value Deng more than they value Gordon.  And nothing has changed since the end of last season.

Gordon tested the free agent waters and found that teams were not willing to sign him.  They didn’t want to overpay for someone who can only hit jumpshots.

Guess what?  This signing doesn’t even mean that the Bulls want Gordon.  If there’s one thing that John Paxson has proven as a GM, it’s that he loads up on assets. 

Ben Gordon, for all his deficiencies, is still an asset.  A productive scorer with an expiring contract will always be an asset — if not more because of the latter attribute than the former.

Contrary to public opinion, I think this deal is a clear indication that the Chicago Bulls have good leverage over Gordon.  Even though unrestricted free agency means Gordon can sign with any team, will any team sign him?  The Bulls simply have more options than Gordon at this point because of how the negotiations went down.

They can package Gordon as solid player with an expiring contract.  If another team is in need of a scorer or shooter, talk to the Bulls.  They’ve got a certain 6’3″ guard that you can try out for a year with no strings attached!

On the other hand, Gordon went out and brusquely said that he didn’t expect to be in Chicago this season.  He thought that other teams were willing to pay top dollar for his services.  He thought they would snatch him up like middle schoolers snatched Tamagachi’s in the late 1990’s.  And he was wrong.

Sadly, this looks like one of those instances where a player refuses to sign a fair offer from their original team to disastrous results.  Instead of taking a nice, safe deal, the player and his agent try to negotiate for the best possible offer and talking comes to a halt.  The player is insulted and makes a somewhat-offhand disparaging remark on the state of negotiations which pretty much deafens the silence.

Interest from other teams was either not as enthusiastic as expected by the player or they were not at a compensation level he finds acceptable.  So instead of leveraging a fair-to-good deal with the Bulls into a great deal with another team, Gordon played his “I’m not coming back to Chicago” hand way too soon.

I like Ben Gordon and I hope it works out for him but I doubt he’ll be in Chicago past this season’s trade deadline.  And unless he overperforms this season, the best offer he’ll get won’t be as good as what the Bulls were willing to shell out. 

Which, by the way, was a six-year contract worth roughly $58 million dollars.  Gordon’s camp rejected it throughout the offseason and for the last time before training camp hit.