A player-by player look back at the the 2007-08 season, from Joe Johnson to Salim Stoudamire...
In the leadership vacuum that engulfs the Atlanta Hawks (on and off the court), Joe Johnson takes on the importance of a franchise player despite appearing to be nothing more than a guy who’s happy shooting a lot of difficult shots, barely making then losing in the playoffs, and not being challenged by his head coach or younger teammates. In some respects, Joe Johnson is a microcosm for the Atlanta Hawks. He qualifies as a franchise player only if the franchise is of extremely limited ambition and/or exceedingly poor judgment. This is what you get for spending $50M+ and two first-round draft picks for the opportunity to build your team around the fourth-best player on a legitimately good NBA team: a season that consists of 37 wins and a first-round playoff loss by average of 12 points a game is considered (within the organization if nowhere else) a resounding success.
None of this diminishes the fact likelihood that Joe Johnson could be an extremely useful player on a good team. He does a number of things well and, at times, can bail out a team that’s struggling to create good shots in the half-court. Were he to prove to be comfortable abdicating the low block (not entirely, but for the most part) to Josh Smith and Al Horford and reap the benefit of the open looks they would create for him (Which, unlike the open shots he creates from the low post for Smith, in particular, Johnson is far more likely to make these shots.) the Hawks could be that good team that makes appropriate use of Johnson’s skills. If he’s not comfortable taking a different role (And a sensibly reduced one: Johnson has been in the top 4 of the NBA in minutes played in four of the last five years.) he still would have value as a trading chit were the Hawks to decide to build around Smith and Horford and make a run at the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010 or 2011.
Whatever my reservations about him in the grand, hypothetical scheme of things, Johnson is clearly the best player on the Atlanta Hawks as currently constructed. According to 82games.com, the Hawks were almost a break even team (-0.9 pts/100 possessions) when Johnson was on the court and a dreadful team (-8.3 pts/100 possessions) when he was off the court. Two caveats: 1) Johnson played 84% of Atlanta’s minutes and they weren’t many important minutes that he sat out. 2) When Johnson was off the court, some combination of Josh Childress, Marvin Williams, an out of position point guard, Salim Stoudamire, Mario West, and Jeremy Richardson played the 2 and the 3. More than any other Hawk, Joe Johnson was better than the alternative(s) but that was not entirely due to how much better than average he was. Even on a resoundingly thin bench, Billy Knight’s inability to acquire an NBA-quality backup for Joe Johnson stood out.
I believe that Josh Smith holds the future of this franchise in his (metaphorical) hands. I also believe there is something abnormal about Smith’s (literal) hands that is the root cause of his obvious weaknesses: jump shooting, dribbling, and favoring awkward finger rolls and flips over dunk attempts. I don’t know whether his hands are abnormal in shape, small in size, or lacking in strength or whether he simply lacks the degree of touch typical to almost all (non-tall stiff) NBA players but Smith’s hands are central to how Smith is different.
Despite the weaknesses this difference manifests, Smith should still possess an advantage over his defender in either the high- or low-post almost every time he touches the ball. (To my mind, only Kevin Garnett, Shawn Marion, and Shane Battier would be expected to negate much, if not all, of Smith’s typical matchup advantage.) Running the offense through Smith would, I presume, result in more turnovers (though his turnover rate has not increased as his assist rate and shot volume have both increased during his career) in the form of bad passes or the irregular bounce borne of wild, rogue dribbles. It would also engage Smith emotionally and mentally in the game more consistently (one hopes) while reducing the opportunity for Smith to attempt jump shots outside of 15’ and increasing his free throw attempts.
STAT DUMP: According to NBA Hot Spots, Josh Smith made 381 of 646 (59%) layup or dunk attempts, 44 of 164 (26.8%) of shots inside 15 feet that were neither layups nor dunks, 66 of 224 (30.4%) of two-point jump shots outside of 15 feet, and 25 of 99 (25.3%) of three-point attempts.
While I hope that increasing Smith’s responsibilities offensively (and requiring him to play within the team concept defensively) would generate a positive response from Smith it remains but a hope based just on Smith’s typically perceptive post-game quotes and glimpses of Smith as a dominating basketball player during the stretches of games where he seems completely invested in the proceedings. I don’t know the man and, of course, that Mike Woodson can’t communicate successfully with Josh Smith isn’t entirely Woodson’s fault.
The potential of Josh Smith to become a franchise player, a potential that rests with Smith alone amongst members of the current roster, is worth sufficient reward to take the risk that Smith is simply an enigmatic talent that can’t or won’t maximize his talents, refuse to do things on the court that hurt his team’s chances of winning, and take primary responsibility of whether the team tops out at 40 or 50 wins* in a season.
*Originally written May 15, 2008 when the prospect of losing Josh Childress for nothing was unfathomable and the assumption that a new GM would hire a competent head coach was a fair one. As currently constructed, I would be massively impressed were Smith to make this team match the 37 wins they managed last year.
Al Horford had an excellent rookie season, one that was as good as could have been realistically expected, but it’s still very difficult for me to imagine (barring injury) him not improving in his second season.
WARNING: Optimism to follow.
His raw numbers will increase if Mike Woodson simply refrains from overreacting to (in the first half) Horford’s second foul, (in the third quarter) Horford’s fourth foul, and (in the fourth quarter) Horford’s fifth foul. The only quality, healthy big man available to the Hawks throughout the year, Al fouled out of but one game last year. Despite both his availability and his necessity Horford was fifth on the team (if you include Mike Bibby, fourth if you do not) in minutes per game. (Josh Childress averaged even fewer minutes than Horford, but that’s a subject to be addressed below.)
I expect Horford's rate numbers to increase next season as well because of the variety of ways it makes sense to use Horford more centrally in the offense (Only Childress and Anthony Johnson had a lower usage rate* than Horford among Hawks who played significant minutes last season.) and to put him in more advantageous situations in general on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
*The percentage of a team’s possessions an individual player uses. Essentially individual (FGA + FTA + TO) divided by total team (FGA + FTA + TO) and adjusted for playing time.
Horford played center almost exclusively last year. The presence of either a healthy Zaza Pachulia or a newly acquired quality backup center on the roster (Randolph Morris? We'll see.) would allow Horford to play the 4 when it would be advantageous for the Hawks to go with a bigger frontcourt tandem than Smith/Horford. When Dwight Howard's in town, for example. This flexibility/willingness to create mis-matches that challenge the opposition would presumably aid Horford defensively both in terms of limiting the number of fouls he commits and making the Hawks a better defensive rebounding* team (25th in the league last season), improving the latter would also increase the team's opportunities to run and thus improve the offense in general.
*Defensive rebounding is the early favorite to be "The Thing I'll Harp on Most Incessently During the 2008-09 Season."
I contend that the poor design of the Hawks' offense (I refer to both the odd reluctance to push the ball up the court quickly and the half-court sets that did not seem to be designed in the full knowledge that the illegal defense rules were changed in 2001.) hampered Horford more than any other Hawk. Horford’s a good passer. Too often he got to demonstrate this skill only after grabbing an offensive rebound or in another non-structured segment of a possession. Good passing isn’t just about the passer. Useful, purposeful movement off the ball is also necessary and was in distressingly short supply last season. Horford himself rarely got the ball in a dangerous position on the move. A new offense and improved defensive rebounding would likely combine to increase the number and frequency of quality looks he receives in both half-court and transition situations.
Not that there aren't areas in which Horford can improve on his own. (And let's not forget that he has an established developmental advantage over Josh Smith and Marvin Williams having spent most of the last four years playing for Billy Donovan rather than Mike Woodson.) A fair number of the turnovers he committed were due to setting illegal screens. When setting a screen his enthusiasm often outpaced his technique. Several screens which did not draw a whistle were still set in a manner that was certain to draw a referee's notice. Contrarily, when receiving the ball in the post thoughts of technique seemed to override his ability to make a move quickly. If he improves these weakness as successfully as he did his free throw shooting* then his field goal attempts (certainly) and his field goal percentage (possibly) should increase as his turnovers decrease.
*Horford struggled to make free throws at Florida and early in his rookie season. I don’t think it was widely recognized (It certainly escaped my notice until the writing of this post.) that he finished the year as 73.1% free throw shooter. Horford’s free throw rate (FTM/FGA) was slightly above the league median. Improved footwork and a more dangerous team offense could give him more opportunities to draw foul shots he’s now more likely to convert.
The non-italizcized portions of this section were originally written on May 27, 2008.
Josh Childress appears to be someone on whom the entire population of Hawks fans can agree. As far as I'm aware, there is no argument as to whether the Hawks should re-sign Childress, just whether or not the organization recognizes how much this excellent complementary player would be missed were they not to match the offer sheet(s) this restricted free agent is sure to receive.
Not the finest display of my powers of prognostication though the organization certainly made clear that they fall on the "not" end of the question of whether or not they recognize the value Childress added to the team.
It's a fair question and (another) one that pushes the question of who will be the next head coach* to the fore. Marvin Williams played almost 500 more minutes than Childress last season. Williams did play four more games than Childress so the difference in playing time isn't as vast as my cheap shock tactic in the previous sentence implied. Still, Childress is the better interior scorer, three-point shooter, offensive rebounder, ball-handler, and defender of the two. There would be few things better for this franchise (now that hiring Mike D'Antoni is impractical) than Marvin Williams deserving to play more minutes than Josh Childress but that time has not yet come to pass**. Giving Williams more playing time probably didn't cost the Hawks more than a win over the course of the season but even in a best-case, non-damaging scenario it still strikes me as perverse.
*Another question the organization answered in a profoundly disturbing manner.
**That time has, obviously, come to pass but in a way I did not foresee--a way that is clearly not good for the franchise.
I am sympathetic to the notion that Childress is more valuable coming off the bench--that his ability to create scoring chances for himself out of nothing more than offensive rebounding and moving without the ball helps shore up an especially weak bench. It's the sort of idea that seems like it should make sense. Maybe it does, I haven't formulated a good way to judge this and I would guess that over the course of an NBA season (especially on a team with more significant and persistent weaknesses) it doesn't make much difference anyway.
On the other hand, wouldn't a good offensive rebounder who moves well without the ball and can hit the corner three-pointer complement Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Mike Bibby awfully nicely? Even if the Hawks choose to continue to start Marvin Williams every half Childress must play the majority of the minutes that call for Atlanta to put its best five players on the floor.
The above thought experiment will hold no bearing on any discussion of the 2008-09 Atlanta Hawks.
Williams is too important to the future of the franchise to give up on yet. (However, he should be trying to develop and diversify his game in practice rather than a competitive setting.) Childress is unlikely to become much better than he is now and Williams, should he live up to the promise he engendered coming out of North Carolina, could do things Childress can't. Williams' development (or the addition of a better player to the roster) shouldn't diminish Childress's usefulness. There will always be playing time for a guy who doesn't waste possessions offensively and can adequately defend two positions.
All of that is still true but its importance has obviously been greatly magnified.
My confidence in Childress's decision-making is such that I'm even reluctant to criticize his sharp drop in defensive rebounding. Childress's defensive rebound percentage has fallen each of his four years in the league but in 2007-08 it dropped a further 28% from his previous career low. Anyone else and I'd lay a significant portion of the blame for the team's horrible defensive rebounding at his feet. Instead, with Childress I wonder if he's forgoing defensive rebounding opportunities for the chance to run out and get a rare easy bucket for the Hawks and whether this decision could be break-even or a net positive. Again, I haven't figured out how to complement this curiosity with some evidence that might provide an educated conclusion one way or the other, but I'll lean toward giving the benefit of the doubt to the guy who takes 75% of his field goal attempts from the inside (making 65%), makes a decent percentage of the few three-pointers he takes, rarely turns the ball over, and mitigates his relative lack of a mid-range game by making more free throws per field goal attempt than anyone else on the team.
I contend that Josh Childress could make any team better. It's incumbent upon the Atlanta Hawks not to allow another team to prove me right.
And thus I laugh a rueful laugh.
Marvin Williams can do one thing relatively well: shoot spot-up 18’ jump shots though even that skill deserves a caveat: when he’s stationary and balanced. Early in the season, Williams was almost always stationary and balanced when receiving the ball in a position to shoot. His spacing in the half-court was excellent and he was nearly as valuable to the Hawks’ offense as Joe Johnson. Through December 31st, Marvin averaged 16.7 points per game, shot 50.5 eFG% from the floor, 78.9% from the line, and had a FT Rate of 44.5. Even without much value as a defender, passer, or rebounder, that’s a useful line.
Unfortunately, something changed. He began to try other things offensively, things he wasn’t very good at and he became far more prone to shooting his spot-up jumpers off-balance or while floating to the right or left. Why these things came to pass I do not know. From January 1st through the end of the year, Marvin averaged 13.8 points per game, shot 44.1% from the floor, 84.6% from the line, and had a FT Rate of 32.5.
Williams’ struggles with balance are a key reason (another being his lack of upper-body strength) he’s ineffective when posting up (and he got a mind-boggling number of attempts to demonstrate this last season), attempting to break down a defender off the dribble (To be fair, his awkwardness in these instances does cause officials to call a defender for a foul fairly often.), or finishing in transition. (Marvin had to lead the team in missed dunks caused by awkward take-offs.) Williams gives you a glimpse of what Josh Smith would look like without the freakish athleticism to compensate for a tendency to relax and an inability to anticipate what’s going to happen on the court.
Williams isn’t nearly as bad a jump shooter as Smith but you’d have to make an awful lot of long two-point jump shots to make it a valuuable primary skill. Williams attempted a jumper on 69% of his field goal attempts and shot 40.8 eFG% on his jumpers. There’s certainly some number of made free throws that should be allocated to the value of each possession that resulted in a Marvin Williams jump shot, but we’re starting from a position of 0.816 points per possession. As is the case with Josh Smith (-3.4%), the Hawks offensive rebound percentage dropped precipitously (-4.4%) when Marvin was on the floor so the vast majority of those misses ended with the ball in the opposition’s hands.
Marvin capped off his disastrous 2008 with a breathtakingly miserable performance in the playoff series against Boston. Atlanta averaged 1 point per possession against Boston over the course of the series. During the 199 minutes Marvin played, Atlanta averaged 0.92 points per possession. Atlanta allowed Boston 1.14 points per possession in the series. During the 199 minutes Marvin played, Boston scored 1.20 points per possession. Atlanta was outscored by 27.6 points per 100 possessions when Marvin was on the court (Atlanta was outscored by 1.6 points per 100 possessions when Josh Childress was on the court.) despite Marvin’s missing the final 21 minutes of the Game 7 beatdown having, mercifully, been ejected. Tactical and man-management genius Mike Woodson sure as hell wasn’t going to stop playing him. It wasn’t until a little more than 4 minutes into the fourth quarter of Game 7 that Childress passed Williams in minutes played for the series.
The Hawks essentially control Marvin Williams for two more seasons. Either he’ll develop into a valuable NBA player (One cannot question his effort. Watching Williams awkwardly get himself into an untenable position on the court leaves me feeling far more sad for than maddened at him.) or the Hawks will have to let him go for little or no compensation. I cannot imagine Marvin Williams, at his current level of play, having any significant trade value. A poor first half of the 2008-09 season may see him leave as his salary is used as a make weight in the inevitable trade of Mike Bibby’s expiring contract.
Speaking of which...
Mike Bibby's arrival improved the Hawks' offense.
|M. Bibby||Offensive Efficiency|
Mike Bibby's arrival did not improve the Hawks' defense.
|M. Bibby||Defensive Efficiency|
Considering that Bibby took over the minutes that were going to Anthony Johnson, Tyronn Lue, and Acie Law IV who did not, collectively, play good defense, I think it's safe to say that Mike Bibby was an awful defensive point guard during his time with the Hawks.
Injuries have likely helped limit him defensively but Bibby is a 30-year-old point guard of below average size who is on the downside of his career in every aspect of his game. His PER (Despite my dislike of "single number" attempts at capturing a player's value, PER is a decent catch-all measure of the value of a player who's contributions are primarily of the offensive variety.) has declined each of the last four years. He's due $15.2M this year. It's the final year of his contract. Atlanta spent the 11th pick of the 2007 Draft on a 22-year-old point guard who has shown glimpses of offensive ability but struggles defensively. I can't see how Mike Bibby could be long for Atlanta.
His (presumably) short time here is likely to be viewed as that of a valuable contributor. He may have been worth the extra win that got the Hawks into the playoffs while his play in the playoffs should disabuse anyone of the notion that Bibby should be kept around for any length of time beyond the expiration of his current contract. He can be expected to provide league-average production until Acie Law is able to play sufficient minutes at a competent level and Bibby's expiring contract will either draw welcome attention from other NBA teams or give the Hawks the opportunity to acquire one or two useful, younger free agents in the summer of 2009. That's a pretty good return on Anthony Johnson, Tyronn Lue, Shelden Williams, Lorenzen Wright, and a 2nd-round draft pick even if it has helped prolong the Mike Woodson Era.
Acie Law IV
If I recall correctly, expectations for Acie Law IV's rookie season were realistically modest. It was generally recognized that Law dominated the ball at Texas A&M to a degree that he could/should not be realistically expected to match on an NBA team. He did not take great advantage of the college three-point line (though his relatively few attempts could be devastatingly effective). There were legitimate questions about his ability to defend NBA point guards.
Despite the frustrating fact that none of these concerns were addressed during his rookie season, it would be difficult to blame Law for any of these concerns lingering. The lack of development (either positive or negative) in his rookie season is due to both the injury he suffered on November 14th as a result of a pointless, dangerous display of empty, false hustle by Ryan Hollins and Mike Woodson's complete disinterest in giving Law a chance to learn how to be an NBA point guard should doing so in any way risk Woodson's tenuous prospects of future employment as an NBA head coach.
Given three below-average options at point guard to start the season (Law, Anthony Johnson, and Tyronn Lue), Woodson decided not to make a decision and just play three point guards. Some nights they'd all get to play in the first quarter. Lest this non-linear approach to a depth chart seem to be the result of a coach trying to make the best of a bad situation rather than another example of Woodson's inability to think ahead thus causing him to do nothing more than react to every occurrence, keep in mind that Woodson managed to get Law and Lue on the court at the same time for almost 74 minutes (further keeping in mind that Law and Lue were simultaneously healthy for only 22 games) of game play. That's two small point guards, both poor defenders, one of whom has no off-the-ball skills, (Seriously, Law would trace an arc around the perimeter following Lue's dribbling while asking for the ball. Law had no idea what to do or how to move without the basketball.) and another who has little interest in letting his teammates touch the ball outside of an offensive rebounding context. Those were completely wasted minutes for Law.*
*I fear I could use much of this paragraph for the 2008-09 Season Review once I replace "Lue" with "Murray."
After the Hawks acquired Mike Bibby, Law struggled to get minutes (when healthy) as Woodson rode his starters (at least those who weren't in danger of potentially getting into foul trouble) nightly in an effort to make what is shaping up to be an extremely counterproductive playoff appearance. The silver lining there might be that the Bibby/Law backcourt was avoided for all but 3 minutes of game time.
Not that Law deserved to be handed minutes. The quality of his play was inconsistent and cumulatively it was quite poor. Only Zaza Pachulia and Solomon Jones (among his teammates) turned the ball over more frequently. Law's assist rate was closer to Josh Smith's and Tyronn Lue's than it was to Joe or Anthony Johnson's and nowhere near Mike Bibby's. Law's jump shooting resembled Smith's as well. Law made just 7 of 34 three-point attempts (20.6%) and 33 of 99 jump shots from inside the arc.
I still don't know if Acie Law will develop into a league-average starting point guard (though I suspect that's the most optimistic scenario for him). I do believe that the brief flashes of good play we saw from him last season and his outstanding college career make it a reasonable expectation that he play 15 minutes a game backing up Mike Bibby and run a lot of pick-and-roll with Zaza Pachulia, David Andersen, or Al Horford. If Law plays well, we'll know that the Hawks have at least a quality backup point guard on the roster. If he plays poorly when given a fair chance to succeed, the Hawks can move forward knowing that Law was simply Billy Knight's last bad draft pick.
Pachulia largely escaped criticism last season which was, to my mind, largely fair. He was hurt. His absence was obvious but he wasn't very good even when he played. Limited to 943 minutes last year, Pachulia was far less effective than expected: attempting fewer shots while making a lower percentage of them, matching that diabolical double (fewer attempts/lower percentage) in terms of free throws, not lowering his turnover rate, grabbing fewer offensive rebounds, and appearing even more limited than usual defensively. I believe it's fair to speculate that the drop from getting 2000+ above-average minutes out of Pachulia to getting less than 1000 poor minutes from him cost the Hawks 1 or 2 wins last season even before considering who (Shelden Williams, Lorenzen Wright, Solomon Jones) picked up some of those lost minutes*.
*Josh Smith (possibly) and Al Horford (almost certainly) picked up some extra playing time in Pachulia's absence so 1 or 2 wins may well be the extent of the damage.
A return to the form (if not the volume of minutes played) displayed during his first two seasons with the Hawks falls quite heavily on the reasons-to-be-optimistic side of the 2008-09 expectations scale. A healthy Pachulia would help in the half court offense (both by scoring efficiently and as an offensive rebounder), provide the opportunity to play Al Horford at the 4 should matchups necessitate doing so, and allow Randolph Morris to be brought along slowly in the wake of his wasted 16 months with the Knicks.
On the other hand, even having access to a healthy, productive Pachulia for 15-18 minutes a night likely won't be enough to keep the Hawks in the playoff hunt past the All-Star break at which point his reasonable, expiring contract and ability to be a useful role player will quite possibly make him a desired piece for inclusion in a trade wherein Rick Sund gets someone to take on the remainder of Mike Bibby's contract. Or Marvin Williams' contract. Or, if the right offer were made, Joe Johnson's contract.
West didn't play much; his 270 minutes were spread over 64 games with 20 appearances consisting of less than one minute of playing time. West's effort was always obvious even as he displayed skills useful to winning basketball games less frequently. Part of the problem lay not with West but with Mike Woodson utilizing a player poorly. (Shock! Horror!) Rather than using West's energy to disrupt the opposition's second unit for a couple of minutes every so often, Woodson decided that Mario West was a defensive stopper who should guard the other team's best wing player for one half-court possession at the end of a quarter. West usually responded to this assignment by committing a foul at the first opportunity.*
*Mario West scored 59 points, grabbed 48 rebounds, and committed 61 fouls in his 270 minutes of playing time.
West played fairly well in the two games he started, scoring 11 points and grabbing 7 offensive rebounds in 31 minutes. If you put him on the court with good players the other team may forget about him long enough for him contribute positively. If he hopes to stay in the league as an energy guy for a another season he'll have to learn to defend without fouling. If he hopes to stay in the league for any significant length of time, he'll also need to start knocking down jump shots. He made 2 of 12 jump shots in his rookie year. If he didn't spend the summer working on his lateral movement and shooting thousands of corner three-pointers he'll find Jeremy Richardson or Thomas Gardner holding down his old roster spot.
Jones looked every bit the project in his rookie season but there were a few skills (shot selection, free throw shooting, shot blocking) that looked as if they might serve as a foundation for a career coming of the bench and providing useful minutes.
None of those skills were evident in Jones' second season. His field goal percentage fell from 50.8% (128 attempts) to 40% (30 attempts). His free throw shooting dropped from 78.7% (75 attempts) to 55% (20 attempts). He blocked almost half as many shots per minute while committing fouls slightly more frequently. He also managed to turn the ball over on 22% of the offensive possessions he used.
Furthermore, he looked every bit as bad as his numbers would suggest. His lack of basketball awareness or game-readiness rendered his athleticism largely useless. I've no idea why the Hawks have chosen not to send Jones to the D-League so he can get some practice playing basketball. Of course, the bigger question is why they wasted the 33rd pick of the draft of the 2006 Draft on Jones in the first place, other than to demonstrate what can be accomplished when Billy Knight's drafting acumen combines with Mike Woodson's facility for developing young players' skills.
Despite his desperate need for anything approximating game experience, Jones declined to play on the Hawks' summer league team, a decision which presumably makes it more likely that the Hawks trade him to someone, anyone, willing to take on his guaranteed contract.
Over the last two years, Jeremy Richardson has played 152 minutes of NBA basketball across 33 games for 4 different teams. It would be folly to try and derive any meaning from his NBA stats.
He's scored effectively and efficiently in over 1000+ D-league minutes. He deserves a chance not just to make the 2008-09 Hawks roster but to earn some minutes in the rotation (If only due to Josh Childress's massive absence.) as either a shooter or scorer, essentially serving as second-unit insurance for both Maurice Evans' jump shot and Acie Law IV's dribble penetration.
Salim will be missed by those of us prone to forever believe in his potential to serve as a (likeable) Jannero Pargo type. Rarely used in any way that made sense during his final season in Atlanta, Stoudamire compounded matters by shooting the ball often and with very little success in his rare appearances, setting career lows in two-point, three-point, and free throw shooting. Still, I'll root for him wherever he ends up.