This week we look at who I think should be our starting shooting guard (Delonte West) compared to who Mike Brown thinks should be our starting shooting guard (Anthony Parker):
Since the All-Star Break:
Delonte West: 16 games, 27.8 mpg, 73-156 FG (46.8%), 7-28 3PT (25.0%), 44-52 FT (84.6%), 3.8 rpg, 3.0 apg, 0.75 spg, 12.3 ppg and 1.26 points per shot.
Anthony Parker: 18 games, 26.6 mpg, 45-107 FG (42.1%), 25-70 (35.7%) 17-23 FT (73.9%), 2.6 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.61 spg, 7.3 ppg and 1.23 points per shot.
Looking at these statistics, it is very obvious who is playing better over the last 6 weeks. Delonte is scoring 5 more points than Parker and is rebounding and dishing better as well. Parker holds a distinct advantage in 3-point %, but the 35.7% he is shooting is way down from his season total and career average. Delonte is also getting to the free throw line 3.25 times per game, while Parker is at only 1.28 per game. This shows how Delonte attacks defenses while Parker is, at this point, nothing more than a spot up shooter. Delonte is on the court at the end of games and most of the time Parker is not. So I am getting my wish in that perspective. I feel that Delonte’s performance should be earning him more minutes, somewhere in the 30-34 minutes per game range. This is what he has given us while he has been here (31.0 in 2007/08 and 33.6 in 2008/09). Parker on the other hand has been playing too much (28.2 mpg for the season).
When we signed him, we did not sign him to be a 28-30 minute a night guy. I understand that early in the season he needed to play more with Delonte in and out of the line-up with personal issues, but that is not the case anymore. Parker started off the year hitting 50% of his 3-point attempts (31-60 thru 16 games), but now he is at 42.0% for the season. The extra minutes have taken their toll on him, as he is not a young buck at 34 years old.
Bringing another player into this mix, fully gives us the entire picture. Jamario Moon was signed this summer along with Parker to basically take the place of Wally Szczerbiak and Sasha Pavlovic, while giving us added length and athleticism. Last season the trio of Sasha (15.9), Wally (20.6), and Delonte (33.6) combined for 70.1 minutes per game. This season the trio of Parker (28.2), Moon (16.9) and Delonte (24.8) have combined for 69.9 minutes per game. It is not surprising that these numbers are so similar, as Mike Brown is notorious for setting his minutes prior to games and sticking with them during the games, even sometimes as a detriment to the team.
Delonte has earned more minutes and those minutes should come from Parker’s total. Moon is already on the outskirts of the rotation, getting a DNP-Coach’s Decision in 5 of the 18 games since the All-Star Break. This will be even more evident as the playoffs arrive. With the depth and versatility of the frontcourt, it is very possible that LeBron will see more SG minutes than in the past, with Antawn getting some SF minutes. This would open up more minutes at the PF for Varejao and Hickson. This would also use up some of the minutes allotted for the guard position. I do not agree with fully forgetting about Moon though. As I said last week regarding Hickson, there will be match-ups during the playoffs where Moon’s size and athleticism will not only be beneficial, but it will be needed. When this is the case these minutes should also come from Parker’s total, not Delonte’s. Mike Brown must be willing to be flexible and utilize this asset he has on his bench.
These reduced minutes are why it is even more imperative to ensure Delonte of his minutes by inserting him into the starting line-up right now. The argument against this would be that you do not want to mess with the chemistry of this team. My rebuttal to that is we have already messed with chemistry (adding Jamison) and the line-up has been in flux for months now dealing with the many injuries we have sustained. Make this change now and we still have 10+ games to get used to the new roles prior to the playoffs.
Cavs Statistical History:
With his 2 blocks on Wednesday night, Anderson Varejao has moved into a tie with Elmore Smith for 10th place in Cavalier history in Career Blocked Shots (267).
Mike Brown has coached his 400th game for the Cavaliers. He is the 4th coach in team history to reach that milestone. His career record now stands at 268-132 for a .670 winning percentage. That winning percentage is best in Cavalier history and tied with Gregg Popovich for 6th best in NBA history.
On Sunday vs. the Pistons, LeBron James took less than 10 shots from the field for just the 7th time in his career. Interestingly enough, the Cavaliers are 5-2 in those games.
By scoring his 2,013th point this season, LeBron James moved into 6th place in Cavalier Single Season Points Scored. He now holds the top six spots in team history. The only other player that matches that for his franchise is Michael Jordan, who holds the top eleven spots in Chicago Bulls history.
LeBron James now has a career high in assists with 598. The last person to have 2,000+ points and 600+ assists in a season was Michael Jordan in the 1988-89 season (2,633 points and 650 assists). LeBron currently has 2,086 points and 598 assists.
The magic number to clinch the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference is down to 4.
The magic number to clinch the #1 overall seed in the NBA is down to 7.
Scoring Title Update:
Current: 70 games, 2086 points, 29.80 PPG (-0.11 PPG change)
Last week: 3 games, 82 points, 27.3 PPG
Previous: 67 games, 2004 points, 29.91 PPG
Current: 70 games, 2077 points, 29.67 PPG (-0.03 PPG change)
Last Week: 4 games, 117 points, 29.3 PPG
Previous: 66 games, 1960 points, 29.70 PPG
Editor's note: Dave Wooley is a statistical guru as well as a huge Blake Costanzo fan. He recently returned from Vegas, but still had enough time to put these facts and figures together this week for his fifth installment. For part four, click here.