Atlanta Hawks v New Orleans Hornets

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


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.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
Leave a comment

The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
Leave a comment

Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.