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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Smush Parker "Struggling" in Miami--Who Knew?

Last season, I mentioned more than once (for instance, here and here, where I quoted Sports Illustrated's Ian Thomsen, who called Parker "an undrafted D-League point guard") that a lot of the Lakers' problems stemmed from the fact that they had arguably the worst starting point guard in the NBA, Smush Parker. The reason I kept bringing up Parker is that, for some reason, some people thought that Kobe Bryant, who went on a scoring tear in the second half of the season that has not been seen since Wilt Chamberlain played, was holding the Lakers back. The reality is that anyone who watched even a few Lakers games could pretty quickly see that the Lakers were having more difficulties with their erratic point guard than their All-NBA shooting guard.

After Phil Jackson benched Parker in the playoffs I assumed that Parker's next destination would be the NBA Development League. I was very surprised when Parker was Miami's main offseason free agent acquisition. In my Eastern Conference Preview, I wrote, "if Parker plays major minutes he will be worth five more losses in the standings." Honestly, I was truly astounded that a championship coach like Riley would want any part of a guy like Parker. Apparently, it only took Riley one regular season game to see the light. Asked about why Parker has gotten two DNP-CDs (Did Not Play--Coach's Decision) since the season opener, Riley simply said that Parker has not played well enough. Parker met with Riley on Tuesday and he relayed to reporters what Riley told him: "He said he didn't like the way I was running the point, running the offense." Undrafted second year guard Chris Quinn has moved ahead of Parker in the rotation and the latest brainstorm in Miami is to shift Parker to shooting guard, where he is third on the depth chart behind Ricky Davis and rookie Daequan Cook; Parker is not likely to get too many minutes there, either, especially when Dwyane Wade comes back. Here is Parker's take on the position change: "I'm a point guard at heart, but he's playing me at (shooting guard). I just have to reboot my system."

posted by David Friedman @ 2:03 PM



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