Cavs Upgrade With Parker for Pavlovic "Swap"
The Cleveland Cavaliers have certainly not stood pat in the wake of posting the NBA's best regular season record in 2008-09; in my newest CavsNews article, I focus on the free agent signing of former Raptor Anthony Parker (6/19/15 edit: the link to CavsNews.com no longer works, so I have posted the original article below):
This summer, the Cavs essentially
traded Ben Wallace for Shaquille O’Neal and swapped Sasha Pavlovic for Anthony
Parker; technically, the Cavs shipped Wallace and Pavlovic to Phoenix in exchange for O’Neal and then
signed Parker as a free agent. I already offered
my take on the O'Neal acquisition, but the Parker deal could end up being
very significant; Parker has played more minutes than O’Neal in each of the
past three seasons and logged a total of 7708 minutes from 2007-2009, compared
to the 5135 minutes that O’Neal played during those years.
Pavlovic is bigger, stronger and
possibly even more athletic than Parker but despite Pavlovic’s physical gifts
he has proven to be a very injury-prone player; after his rookie season in 2004
he has not played in more than 67 games in a season. In 2006-07, Pavlovic was
relatively healthy and he played a career-high 1534 minutes for a Cavs team
that made it to the NBA Finals, taking over the starting shooting guard spot
down the stretch when Larry Hughes got hurt, but in the past two seasons
Pavlovic has been unable to stay healthy or be consistently productive.
Pavlovic is just 25 but because of his recurring ankle problems he seems to be
an “old” 25.
Parker provides the Cavs a lot of
lineup flexibility. He could start at shooting guard, enabling Delonte West to
come off of the bench as a point guard or shooting guard depending on matchups;
Parker could also back up West at shooting guard and/or he could back up LeBron
James at small forward. When the Cavs go “small” with LeBron James at power
forward, they could utilize a potent three guard attack with West, Parker and
2009 All-Star Mo Williams. At 6-6, 215, Parker provides the size and
athleticism that the Cavs had hoped to get from Larry Hughes. Parker posted
career-highs in assists (269) and steals (100) last season.
There are two possible downsides with
(1) Although he only played three years
with the Raptors (and parts of three other seasons with the Magic and Sixers),
Parker is 34 years old; he spent most of his pro career playing overseas and
even though he did not play as many games as he would have if he had been in
the NBA during that time he still accumulated some mileage and he is at an age
when most pro guards begin to break down physically. As indicated above, Parker
has been much more durable than Pavlovic (or O’Neal, for that matter) in the
past three years but Father Time catches up to everyone eventually.
(2) Despite his athleticism, Parker does
not draw a lot of fouls; he has attempted just 460 free throws in 291 career
NBA games. Neither West nor Williams are good at drawing fouls, either, so
LeBron James remains the only player on the roster who can consistently put the
opposing team in foul trouble and help the Cavs get into the bonus. The Cavs
have several good free throw shooters—including Williams, West, Parker and
Zydrunas Ilgauskas—but if the Cavs are not able to get into the bonus then they
will not be able to take advantage of that marksmanship.
Overall, the Cavs have added two starting quality
players while only giving up two players who did not play huge minutes during
the 2009 season; the Cavs have clearly upgraded themselves from a talent
standpoint and it only remains to be seen what player rotation Coach Mike Brown
will use and if this team will look as good on the court as it does on paper. It
will not be easy to match the league-best 66 wins that the Cavs racked up in
2009; the 2009 Cavs consistently played hard at both ends of the court and it
will be vital for the new guys—particularly O’Neal, who has been known to coast
at times—to fully embrace that mindset. Of course, the most important thing
will be for the Cavs to be healthy come playoff time; that is when O’Neal and
Parker must prove that they can add something to the mix that was missing
during the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.
Labels: Anthony Parker, Cleveland Cavaliers, Sasha Pavlovic
posted by David Friedman @ 12:15 AM