Saturday, November 17, 2012

Truth About It: Wizards Early Season Hopes Got Pargo'd

Nice win by the Hawks at Sacramento. After Harrison Barnes had a career night against Atlanta's non-existent small forward rotation in the loss to the Warriors, the Hawks managed to draw even at 2 wins and 2 losses on the current road trip. The Kings apparently didn't get the scouting report on Kyle Korver and the team's best player, DeMarcus Cousins, has a worse habit of drawing negative attention from referees than Atlanta's Josh Smith.

But enough about the Hawks. Let's talk Washington Wizards basketball! I mentioned yesterday that Jannero Pargo was cut after only 7 games to open a roster spot for Shaun Livingston. In March, after some reflection, I figured out that Pargo is not a point guard:
In the last several games my own expectations for the type of player Pargo should be have made a course correction. I look at Pargo and I think "backup point guard." When Pargo shared the floor with [Jeff] Teague against the Pacers, replacing [Kirk] Hinrich at shooting guard, he appeared to be playing his natural position. In 24 minutes Pargo outplayed his 6-8 counterpart [Paul] George, contributing 16 points on 6-for-13 shooting and limiting his turnovers thanks to reduced ball-handling responsibilities.
It turns out I'm not the only person who came to this belated conclusion. Truth About It, the ESPN TrueHoop Network affiliate site for the Wizards, quoted coach Randy Wittman as the realization dawned on him. Wrote Kyle Weidie:
What did Wizards coach Randy Wittman think about the decision to waive Jannero Pargo and sign Livingston?

“I thought we needed to get another play-maker, a guy that can facilitate, maybe get us easier baskets,” Wittman said.
Weidie went on to describe the microcosm of Pargo's downfall as a Wizard:
Part of Pargo’s downfall could be his very last shot as a Wizard. He failed to recognize the open, hot-shooting Cartier Martin in the corner and instead faked a pass, hesitated, and fired up a missed, contested 3-pointer.
The link within that block quote was to Weidie's game capsule of the Wizards' loss to the Mavericks, in which he waxed thusly on Pargo's swan song:
[The Wizards] fought back to 102-98 and stole the ball with a minute left. That’s when this Jannero Pargo shot happened. Don’t worry about swinging the ball to a red-hot Cartier Martin in the corner. Don’t worry about the fact that the Wizards don’t even need a 3-pointer here. Totally don’t worry about the likelihood that O.J. Mayo will give a good contest of the shot. Don’t worry and just shoot it, Jannero Pargo. His 3-for-20 (15%) from beyond the arc on the season tried to be the hero, but instead the Wizards got #Pargo’d, amongst other things.
I'm guessing that Pargo, in that instant, decided to go with what has kept him in the league (his ability as a streak shooter) rather than play outside of himself by actually trying to set up a teammate. Watching Pargo last season as a Hawk, I became acutely aware of his limitations as a ball handler, passer and defender. Washington's point guard position was up for grabs with John Wall out, but Pargo couldn't seize it because that's not what he is.

And yet (and sorry to sound like a broken record), this is the guy Larry Drew sent to check Rajon Rondo in a playoff series.

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