It’s an annual tradition in the NBA: Some player who flew under the radar for most of the season steps up big in the playoffs and finals, then gets rewarded with an oversized contract by another team that falls in love with that performance.
Miami’s Mario Chalmers is the leading candidate to be that guy this year.
Chalmers has knocked down big shots in the finals and has defended well on the perimeter. And, he’s a free agent after this season. When asked about that by Hoopsworld, Chalmers gave the standard answer involving family.
“It’s up to everybody,” Chalmers said about his possible return to the HEAT. “I love playing here. I would love to stay here, but, I mean, I’ve got to do what’s best for me and my family.”
Chalmers made $854,389 this past season and while there is a $1.1 million qualifying offer out there according to Sham Sports, Chalmers will get to test the market (whenever the lockout ends).
Chalmers has hit big shots in the playoffs — something he has done since helping Kansas to the national title in college — but during the regular season averaged 6.4 points per game on 39.9 percent shooting. He hit 35.9 percent of his threes, which is by far where most of his shot attempts come from.
Chalmers is a good defender, which matters a lot, but he is not going to give you consistent offense.
But some team always falls in love with these finals performances and overpays.
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.