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?


Kirk Hinrich (07-08 Synopsis)

8 09 2008
Rock, Chalk...

Rock, Chalk...

Kirk Hinrich — Chicago Bulls Guard
Measurements: 6’3″ – 190 lbs.
Experience: Fifth-year, 27 years old
From: University of Kansas

2007-2008 Season Statistics
11.5 points | 41.4% FG | 35.0% 3PT | 6.0 assists | 3.3 rebounds | 1.2 steals | 31.4 minutes

Season Highs
Points: 38 (vs. Indiana)
Rebounds: 12 (vs. New York)
Assists: 14 (3x)
Steals: 5 (vs. Philadelphia)
Blocks: 4 (vs. Memphis)
Minutes: 47 (2x)

Season Grade: D+

What This Year Proved

Every year, I take a look at Kirk Hinrich’s production and I think, “damn, this kid’s gonna go on a tear and make the All-Star team.”

He was a shooter at Kansas and that helps me rationalize his erratic shooting from the field.  I always think, “Kirk’s off tonight.”  But when that thoughts pops into my head two nights out of five, it gives me some cognitive dissonance.

My off-season relationship with Kirk Hinrich is much like my relationship with cigars.  Every now and then, I think it’s a great idea to smoke a cigar.  I go out and buy the cigar and look at it, anticipating a fantastic time.  And then I smoke it.

“Wow; this was a bad idea,” I finally decide.  I make a mental note to never again buy cigars.

Four months later, the cycle starts a new.

Kirk Hinrich is always a great player with such great promise for me in October.  Coming into last season, I took a quick look at his 06-07 statistics:

16.6 points | 6.3 assists | 3.4 rebounds | 44.8% FG | 41.5% 3PT

He did that with most of the shots going to Ben Gordon and Luol Deng?  Wow.  This guy’s going to be awesome.  His selection into the USA National Team Program further validated my expectations.  Colangelo thinks he’s good enough to kick Luke Ridnour off the team!  Yes!

And then in April or May, I’m sorely disappointed.

I’ve been waiting two or three years for Kirk Hinrich to explode and make the All-Star team.  I feel like Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally and  I’m sick of waiting.

Kirk did his thing this season.  He proved that he’s got a very nice floor game, both with the ball and while moving without the ball.

He’s always going to give you supreme effort on the defensive end.  To counter my thinking above, his production defensively is never disappointing as he tags the other team’s best perimeter player each night.

His floor shooting has regressed.

05-06 | 41.8% FG | 37.0% 3PT | 81.5% FT
06-07 | 44.8% FG | 41.5% 3PT | 83.5% FT
07-08 | 41.4% FG | 35.0% 3PT | 83.1% FT

Some of that dip can be explained by his emphasis on defensive.  However, it’s a pretty lame excuse as he’s been asked to defend the opposing team’s best player since he arrived in Chicago.

I would more quickly point towards his off-season duties with the National Team.  I knew he’d be a bit tired coming into this season and that may account for some of his shooting woes.

Quote Him

“We lost our identity to what got us here. So whatever happens this offseason, we have to find a way to get back our edge. I think we need to become a better defensive team. I think the better teams in the league that usually compete for the NBA championship ring are almost always the better defensive teams in the league. I think we need to do that. I think we’ve kind of lost our identity to what got us here, so whatever happens, we just have to find a way to get back what we had. We kind of lost our edge.”– Hinrich, after a late-season loss to the Miami Heat

Looking Forward

By drafting Derrick Rose, casual fans think that Kirk is expendable.  And quite frankly, it’s getting to a point where anyone on this roster is.  Mark my words: this year is do-or-die for Kirk.

He is a captain, he has a big contract and is heading into his sixth year in the league.  Growing pains and lumpy productivity will no longer be tolerated.

Even though his game doesn’t make him a stat-stuffer, his statistics must improve.  It is really the only tangible way for fans to make an argument like, “hey, Kirk Hinrich should start.”

Next season, look for him to continue getting the Bulls into offensive sets.  He’ll need to limit his turnovers even more to warrant some time at the point.  He’s a pretty dull Swiss army knife so look for Vinny Del Negro to use his versatility by playing him at both guard positions.