Heat clear out Carlos Arroyo to make way for Mike Bibby. Is that an upgrade?

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To bring Mike Bibby in, somebody had to go.

So adios Carlos Arroyo. Thanks for your services.

Arroyo was bought out by the Heat, sent packing to make room for Bibby, who is expected to sign with the Heat on Wednesday when he clears waivers. Bibby sacrificed his $6.2 million salary next season to be bought out by the Wizards and get to a contender.

Bibby for Arroyo. Is that an upgrade?

Well, it is if Bibby plays. Arroyo has appeared in just two of the Heat’s last seven games, for a total of 21 minutes.

In the Heat offense the point guard doesn’t do a lot of ball handling, most of that goes to Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. The point guard is mostly a spot up shooter. Particularly from three.

Overall Bibby both have been very good three point shooters this season — Bibby 44.1 percent, Arroyo 43.8 percent. But in spot-up threes Arroyo is shooting 46.3 percent to Bibby’s 44.3 percent, according to Synergy Sports. All this says is that both are really knocking down the long all this season.

Step inside the arc through and Bibby is shooting just 37 percent on long two pointers (longer than 16 feet) while Arroyo is hitting 48 percent. Neither of them get to the rim much at all (but Bibby finishes better when he gets there once every other game or so). Also, if asked to be the pick and roll ball handler Arroyo is more effective, scoring 90 points for every 100 possessions in that role, compared to 69 for Bibby.

Bibby is better in transition this season, shooting 54.2 percent in that case to 48.3 percent for Arroyo, and Bibby is a much better three point shooter in transition.

On defense, Bibby’s reputation is terrible, which pretty much matches up with the eyeball test. But over at ESPN’s Heat Index blog the very smart Tom Haberstroh says Bibby is not that bad a defender, noting that the Hawks were a decent defensive team with Bibby playing big minutes.

• This season, the Hawks were better defensively with Bibby on the floor than when he sat on the bench. The Hawks allowed 105.4 points per 100 possessions with him and 106.6 points with him riding pine.

• He grades out as an “average” defender this season according to data from Synergy Sports. The grade spectrum for a given player is as follows: “poor,” “below average,” “average,” “good,” “very good” and “excellent” depending on how many points he allows on every play he directly defends.

That the Hawks were better with Bibby on the floor than off could speak to Bibby being a better defender than we thought. Or it could speak to Jeff Teague (the Hawks backup point) being an even bigger disappointment than we thought.

Also on Synergy, Arroyo does a little bit better in holding down the pick-and-roll ball handler than scoring, and seems to stick better with spot up guys at the arc better (Arroyo hold spot up three shooters to 8 fewer percentage points).

All of this really points to is that Bibby is not some massive talent upgrade over Arroyo at this point in his career. Most guys bought out and picked up on waivers are not — they are on waivers for a reason.

But if Bibby can get on the court and just be what he was in Atlanta, that is still more than the Heat have been getting out of Arroyo.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.