Grading The Cavaliers: Anthony Parker

parker Report Card.001While the Cavaliers use the All-Star break to rest up (well most of them anyways) we thought it would be a good time to reflect on the season so far, and issue some grades. In addition, we will detail what the Cavaliers will need from each player in order to hoist some team hardware this summer. Next up?  Anthony Parker

He may not have gotten a puppet in a Nike commercial, but Parker is one of two Cavaliers to have started every game through the first half.  Can you guess the other one?

Relevant Stats:

Min Pts Reb 3PG 3P% eFG%
25.5 7.1 2.8 1.3 44.7 54.3

Sure, the Cavaliers were aiming their free agent sights on players like Trevor Ariza and Ron Artest to run the wing this season.  And sure, Anthony Parker isn’t exactly a spring chicken these days.  But what Parker has meant for this team as a player who not only has only been with the Cavaliers for less than a full season, but he has been able to step in from day one and start every game of what has been a league-best first half of the 2009-10 season.

Upon signing Parker for what will end up being approximately $2.6 million this season, it allowed Danny Ferry the flexibility to add Jamario Moon and Leon Powe.  But it also provided the team with some much-needed depth at the guard position which initially came to the forefront when Delonte West suffered a pretty serious setback with his bipolar disorder. 

Figure in the latest brash of injuries to the Cavaliers backcourt and Parker has even been able to spend some time running the point.  He’s a versatile guard that provides much-needed size (6’6″) at the shooting guard slot and quite frankly is not asked to do very much on the offensive side of things.  Parker’s current PER is a few ticks under 10.00, which would place him in the “below average” pool for NBA talent.  Obviously, recording double-digit point totals in only 13 games will not help this number.  But a quick look at when those high totals were scored and five games found the Cavaliers on the losing end. 

Point being made?  Parker is not being relied on to carry the load offensively.  He has been an excellent role player that has provided depth, veteran leadership and his very own version of the team intro handshakes.  Anthony Parker will never be the Scottie Pippen to LeBron James’ Michael Jordan, but he has not failed to provide what the Cavaliers have asked of him to this point in the season.

It’s been a transition for Parker as he is now taking only half of the amount of shots that he was given in Toronto, but it’s also been a transition that he has taken in stride by playing his part on a team that is 43-11. 

Role on the Team:

Primarily, the Cavaliers ask Parker to play solid defense on the perimeter and convert on open three-point attempts.  The first half of these expectations is typically easier said than done as Parker finds himself matched up against a high-scoring threat more often than not.  LeBron James may play defense on the opposition’s main weapon in crunch time, but it is Parker that is guarding the Wade’s a Bryant’s of the world for the bulk of his 20-plus minutes on the floor.

The second portion of the criteria from which we judge is the three-point conversion rate.  What Danny Ferry was hoping to get from Donyell Marshall and Damon Jones, he gets from Parker for considerably less money.  Of the five zones that are differentiated on NBA.com’s “Hot Spots,” Parker is rated above average in four.  In fact, of his 162 three-point attempts, 109 have been from the short corners – an area that has seen Parker convert at a rate of 46 percent.

And a caveat, which should be included in all players (with a possible exception of Shaquille O’Neal) is that Parker has been asked to hit free throws.  Loss to Utah aside, Parker has been right at his career success rate of 79 percent from the charity stripe.  Not too shabby if you need a few points in crunch time.  You know, if the ball is ever in his hands at that point…

How can Anthony best help the Cavs hoist the hardware this summer?

As cliché as it sounds, AP just needs to keep doing what he’s doing.  Danny Ferry has mentioned a desire to get more scoring from the wing position, so an addition of Andre Iguodala or Rip Hamilton would likely hinder Parker’s shots at adding alpha to the Cavaliers’ returns.  But in terms of what he has done to this point and the long-term future of this season, Parker simply needs to continue playing long perimeter defense and hit three-point field goals when other weapons are double-teamed.

From what we have seen, the Cavaliers have welcomed AP to the team with open arms.  We have longed for weapons around LeBron that simply step up when called upon and Parker has done just that. 

Grade:

This may come off as a bit harsh, but given his numbers Parker’s grade of a C+ seems acceptable.  His field goal percentage is a hair under his career mark, but his three-point conversion rate has not suffered one bit even with a lack of shot attempts.  My main knock on Parker’s game is his lack of aggressiveness when forced to dribble.  He has never been one to get to the line much (averaging 1.5 FTAs per game over his entire career), but if he were to have an inside-to-mid game, he would be worthy of at least a B-.

We add Parker eFG% to the “relavent” stats because, quite frankly, this may be the most important figure of his entire body of work.  He may get even fewer attempts once the team is fully healthy, but it will be a matter of continuing to convert on what opportunities arise.

  • Harv 21

    Agree w/both analysis and grade. Only disappointment is that his confidence in taking and making his jump shot seems to be decreasing as the season progresses. That’s where Joe Smith helped in previous years.Thought early on his shooting might bail out the stalled offense some nights. Now not so much.

  • Anthony

    He may not have gotten a puppet in a Nike commercial, but Parker is one of two Cavaliers to have started every game through the first half. Can you guess the other one?

    Who is LeBron James? /Jeopardy’d. What do I win?

  • Matt#2

    Z, now Parker…In what order are these grades being given?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @Matt#2 – The order in which I come up with graphics for them in, of course.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Udne9JTds5A TS Trade to Browns

    Anthony Parker is a Mark. Guys are purposely going after him. His inability to jump and stick like glue makes him a target for guys like Kobe and D. Wade. I hope he bodies up in the playoffs and Mike Brown switches him out for Moon on the Defensive end or else he may be the next Craig Elho for Kobe.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwA91mvi0J4

  • http://www.msblsim.com boogeyman

    C+ is way to generous more like C- to D+ Parker has underachieved as a starter. Playing alongside the likes of LeBron, Shaq and Mo there are tons of opportunities but Parker defers more then shoots. If it wasn’t for his size which aides on defense Boogeyman would swear he was looking at Daniel Gibson Sr.

  • http://www.heyhokie.com Vengeful Pat

    Completely agree with the review. Parker is doing exactly what we want our 2-guard to do… conserve energy on offense and go all out on defense. If Parker were a better shooter from mid-range to close in, that would be neat. But who is he going to steal shots from? LeBron? Mo? Shaq? The Cavs shoot ridiculously well in the first quarter, which is when Parker is in the game. Why would anyone want to mess with that? LeBron draws the double-team and kicks the ball out to his shooters, and those shooters are knocking down shots like they’re supposed to. Sounds pretty good to me.

  • humboldt

    @7 – I agree. Parker is one of those system players who is just a flat out pro. He is playing his role as well as I could have hoped (perhaps I was expecting slightly better defense…), and spaces the floor nicely on offense. I would probably give him a B- or B.

    Let me ask you this WFNY nation – think back to 2007. Would you rather have him or Sasha starting in the backcourt?

  • http://shakesthesnowglobe.blogspot.com EZ

    @5

    Do you watch the games? Parker played great defense on Wade in the heat game, as good as can be expected on Kobe and excellent D on Carter in the 4th last night. When he hangs back he’s a tad slow to close on a pull-up jumper but when he bodies up he’s a very good defender. He also goes over top of screens, which is something Gibson should learn from him.

  • http://www.msblsim.com boogeyman

    @8 Your going out on a real limb comparing Parker to Pavlovic!

  • Titus Pullo

    Parker fits in well with the team. He’s a guy who never tries to do more than he’s capable of, which is important in the big scheme. For whatever reason, he’s a guy that a segment of the fan base is always going to be critical of.

  • http://www.msblsim.com boogeyman

    @7 funny I thought a 2 or shooting guard was supposed to SHOOT I didn’t think he was supposed to average under 10 pts and just play defense. Also the Cavaliers are having big first quarters because of LeBron James and Shaq certainly not Parker. Also if LeBron is kicking the ball out it sure isn’t Parker hitting the shots. LeBron’s assists are coming from feeds to Hickson, Varejao and Shaq not perimeter guys.

  • http://shakesthesnowglobe.blogspot.com EZ

    When your small forward is leading the team in assists the tradition position descriptions tend to break down.

  • http://shakesthesnowglobe.blogspot.com EZ

    *traditional

  • Mark

    @12 Boogyman – That is one of the better things I have read in a while! Is a center supposed to CENTER?

    I forgot to read the Basketball Manual that said how points each particular position is supposed to score so that a team can be considered good. Why dont you break down each position with their optimal outputs so we can see if a player is effective or not?

  • MattyFos

    Boogey you make sense.. I’m glad you didn’t ignore JJ’s part in our big first quarter’s

  • Karsten

    I’ve yet to be totally sold on this guy this season. C+, fine, I woulda dropped him to a C for lack of participation on class projects though.

  • http://www.msblsim.com boogeyman

    @15 Mark thanks I’ve just scratched the surface continue to read what I post and you’ll learn alot more! ;) But seriously if you don’t get what I was saying perhaps someone else with more patience can explain it to you.

    @Mattyfos I think JJ read what I was looking for last night and responded unfortunately his performance didn’t change my feeling that moving him to upgrade the position is in need. That being said it’s nice to see his activity level increase which is showing on the scoresheet I just wish the kid could develop some sort of shot that wasn’t a dunk or layup. I believe Reggie Miller commented on how he needed to develop a shot after Orlando basically neglected to guard him. This lack of an offensive game is also why Mike Brown has no confidence in Hickson and why he hardly ever sees the court in the 4th quarter.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    Hi gentlemen, this post is about Anthony Parker.

  • Alex

    I think he’s stolen the title of goofiest-looking guy on the court on offense this year from JJ (basketball-wise) and Delonte/Z (appearance-wise). Agree with the analysis. Playing the elite SGs in the league, what do you want from the 2 and 3 spots? Lebron can score as much as he likes, put a decent defender on the other team’s 2, and you have a defensive mismatch on the other team’s 3. Then in crunch time you can rotate Lebron to the 2 defense or keep Parker in. He’s a specialist and he’s doing his specialty decently well.

  • http://www.msblsim.com boogeyman

    @Alex yea Parker has been known as a defensive specialist, oook! Only in Cleveland would “FANS” be happy with a shooting guard who is paid $2.6M averaging 7.1 ppg, 2.8 reb, 1.3 3pg and 25.5 mpg which isn’t even at his career averages of 9.6 ppg, 3.3 reb and 28.6 mpg.

    LeBron is supposed to play the 4 now he’s supposed to play the 2 I guess if you could clone him you’d be okay it’s no wonder the Cavaliers best plays all start and end with #23.

  • Alex

    boogey, what was Parker brought in to do? Honestly? He was brought in as a defensive guy who can make the occasional shot. That’s exactly what he does. At the time Ferry said “Our coaching staff will especially appreciate the good shooting and solid defense that Anthony brings to our team.” He was also brought in before Delonte had any problems so he wasn’t being asked to put in 30+ a game.

    What do you think we need at SG? Do we need a Kobe-lite to jack up 30 shots a game? Do we need a Wade-lite to basically do what Lebron does, dominate the ball every possession? Lebron’s positional flexibility means you don’t need a traditional power SG to provide most of the scoring.

  • http://www.msblsim.com boogeyman

    @Alex as you pointed out the only reason he’s a starter is because of Delonte West’s issues so he’e another bench/role player starting a la Hickson. Parker was never a defensive standout if you watched him in Toronto you saw that but at least he had games where he showed up offensively. Since week 1 he hasn’t produced much offensively. In fact his former Raptors teammate Jamario Moon has probably had as much if not more of an impact which would never have been my guess.

    You need a SG who is prepared to shoot not get the ball and pump fake and pass. One Daniel Gibson is enough on a team. And how about if Parker tries to penetrate or create for LeBron instead of LeBron always being the lone player who drives or is that not in the job description of a shooting guard? Parker is 6’6″ 210 lbs. and doesn’t use his size.

    People used the same argument about not enough shots when Mo Williams was acquired and that seemed to work out okay. Anyways if Ferry gets Jason Richardson Mr. Parker will go back to coming off the bench where he’s better suited. The odd man out will be Gibson (if he stays) because I’m sure Delonte West will be Mo’s backup at PG.

  • david

    im a big fan of parker as the third or fourth guy off the bench. the fact that he has started every game for us and we have the best record in the league is a testament to King James. He can hit open shots and gives us decent defense. But the bottom line is that if Delonte isnt starting at the 2 spot by the time the playoffs come around, I will be pretty nervous. And if you scoff at that, just remember that Delonte was easily our second best player in the playoffs last year.

    I would give Parker a D. If you are getting 25 minutes a game at the 2 position with LeBron as one of the best distributors in the game, and have a PER of 9, that just isnt a good sign.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Jaythetruth

    B-

  • Mike

    sum people just dont understand basketball…..does it ever cross your mind why JJ and Andy are able to make so many cuts to the basket without weakside help coming? its because this man (AP) is among league leaders in 3pt shooting…he spaces the floor thats his job!! eerybody thought LBJ/shaq/jj/andy would clog the lane n thus the “shaq experiment” would fail without a “stretch 4″, but its our perimiter threats that make it work!!! AP is doing his job…there is only 1 play in the book for AP and its a mid range curl off a screen, beside that his job is to space the floor, knock down open shots, and play D…can u blame him for not being called on more? FG% is the most important stat when judging his offensive output!! B+ (with that being said i still think after solving the 1 more big issue b4 the deadline, this offseason an upgrade at 2 is necessary)

  • Mike

    ps can u blame AP for playing his game?? can u grade him based on skills he doesn’t possess? he’s not a slasher or a pg…he is a pure shooting 2..he’s our Bruce Bowen and is probably shooting a better percentage than Bowen did in his last championship run with the Spurs…and he is so underated defensively, u’re not stoping this league’s allstars, juss stay in front of them and communicate with/anticipate help.