There were worse ways that you could have spent your time Wednesday night than watching the Bobcats-Raptors game. You could have been robbing a bank, for instance. Or molesting a zoo animal. Or getting suspended for a physical alteration with a rival TV commentator (side note: good thing you couldn’t put money on which CSN commentator Kendall Gill would get suspended for punching first: Stacey King or the field, because I would have bet my life savings on King. The fact that Gill burned a suspension on punching someone other than King seems like a terrible waste of an opportunity). All of those options have their merits obviously, but only the Bobcats-Raptors game offered the possibility of witnessing effective play from Josh McRoberts and Jannero Pargo.
I am not a fan of overstating things. I still remember several years ago when Rolling Stone magazine was doing one of those “Top Albums of the 80s” issues, and one of the selections was Metallica’s Master of Puppets. I forget the wording they used exactly to describe the album, but I remember something like, “a stinging rejection of Reagan-era policies,” and I remember almost choking on my Yoo-Hoo. Look, I love that album with all of my heart, but it had NOTHING to do with Ronald Reagan, or really anything reality-related. This was four metal dudes chugging beer and writing about metal stuff, period; one of the songs featured a gigantic sea monster. In fact, if James Hetfield ever reveals that “Leper Messiah” was really a rebuke against the Tax Reform Act of 1986, I’m going to be really bummed out.
So anyway, all this to say that overstating things can make you look really ridiculous. Still, the Bobcats have won two consecutive games (when this happens, Bobcats fans, it’s also known as a “winning streak”—I Googled it), and for the last few games they’ve gotten really good work out of both McRoberts and Pargo. Starting with Pargo, in 57 minutes (so take it with a grain of salt large enough for Gana Diop to add to his chili fries), the Bobcats are +13 in points/100 possessions with him on the floor. He already has more win-shares than Ben Gordon (although so does Reggie Williams, so it probably says more about Gordon than Pargo). Even better, he’s complementing Kemba Walker like Paul McCartney to Stevie Wonder, like Jim Carey’s Riddler to Tommy Lee Jones’s Two-Face: according to SynergySports.com, Walker works best as a pick-and-roll ball handler while Pargo is effective as a spot-up shooter (and both are deadly in transition). Pargo’s sitting on the highest personal foul rate on the team right now (even more than the undead Tyrus Thomas), so that obviously needs to come down; but it should, based on his history.
As for McRoberts, in 323 minutes he’s at a -1 points/100 possessions, because basically offense everywhere improves whenever he steps on the court—he’s like low interest rates for an NBA game. In fact I checked his career stats and the offense and defense has always scored/allowed at least 100 points/100 possessions when he’s wandering around out there—right now it’s 108 scored to 109 allowed, which is about the norm for his career, but pretty good considering his teammates. His post game continues to be non-existent and he’s still firing off too many spot-up shots that are less effective than North Korean missiles, but his offensive rebound game is negating all of his addictions to the long ball. Offensive rebounds are the source of 10% of his possessions (again, per SynergyStats, which will soon be the end of my marriage and probably my pet ownership), and he’s good for 1.82 points-per-possession on put-backs. To put this into context, a guy like Serge Ibaka gets offensive boards 15% of the time for 1.15 PPP. This was evident Wednesday when McRoberts grabbed 2 offensive boards as part of his double-double, one of them to preserve the Bobcats’ 3-point lead with 27 seconds left after Gordon had wandered around, electric-football-style for 18 seconds before hoisting a hopeless 19-footer.
Yep, McRoberts and Pargo have been a stinging rejection of Jordan-era cheap signings and 4th-tier trades. Let’s just hope they let poor Kendall Gill back to watch. But if not, I know where I’m putting my money in the Kendall Gill Fight Pool.
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