What kind of player are the Heat getting in Parker?
Kurt, the writer of Forum Blue and Gold (one of the best NBA blogs anywhere on the net), was kind enough to email me his thoughts on Parker's game -
Smush had a bit of a tumultuous run as a Laker, at least as fans see it. By the end of last season the Lakers camp seemed to be divided into “smushaholics” and “Smushaphobes” (to use a phrase coined by one of my commenters, drrayeye).
What you will think of Smush depends on what you expect from him. If you’re looking for a guy with a great story, a guy who can come off the bench for 15-20 minutes a night and provide an offensive boost, Smush is your guy. He has range (37% from three the last two years), can be a spot up shooter or create his own shot on the drive, and plays with some flair, learned on the playgrounds of New York City as a youth.
However, if you’re expecting a guy who can start, who can play quality defense, who can provide the night-in/night-out effort an NBA starter should give you, then you will be disappointed.
It was his defense that did him in while under Phil Jackson. Smush likes to gamble on defense (a remnant of the playgrounds?), getting some steals but more often taking himself out of position. His defensive rotations were slow, at best. He can’t stay in front of quick guards -- he got burned by the Steve Nashes and Tony Parkers of the world, which is why Laker fans came not to trust him, particularly in key situations.
The Lakers mistake with Smush was asking too much of him – while he was the starting point guard on a playoff team the last two years, that was in spite of his defense, not so much because of him. But he brings good energy on the offensive end and can fill it up. If the Heat use him in that backup role for 15-20 minutes a night, he can be a nice fit and at a good price.
Kurt also sent me a link to this blog post, which he says sums up the love-hate relationship Lakers fans had with Smush.
All of that confirms what I initially thought about this signing. He'll be a decent back up for Jason and give us some nice energy off the bench. He has his flaws, but at this stage of the off season there really aren't any better options available in free agency.
It sounds like the only way we could have gotten one of the better point guards we were targeting (Rafer Alston or Navarro) would have been to make a trade and take on a bad contract (Alston's contract stinks, and the Wizards wanted us to take on either Stevenson or Haywood's bad contract in a Navarro deal).
Thus, I think this was a decent move.