Recapping the genesis of the Red Shirt Theory, today we tackle the always entertaining Pacific Divison.
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Ben McLemore. This isn’t such a condemnation of McLemore as much as it how poorly he was handled by the Kings. The rookie SG had a 7.7 PER, 8.8 points on a field goal percentage of 37.6% is not the worst, but McLemore played in every game and started in 55 of them. And while the Kings are deep in guards, they’re like the opposite of the Phoenix Suns in that they seem to have no way how to use them correctly. And McLemore was subject to that this season. He will improve and his stats will rise, but being doubled by the limited-ness of Grevis Vasquez shows not a great season.
Los Angeles Lakers
Ryan Kelly. This one was actually difficult. The Lakers had a terrible record, a patchwork team and only 6 games of Kobe Bryant. Ryan Kelly was a rookie out of Duke, a program that almost never translates to NBA success, but given how open the field became once Bryant went down, only weird players stepped up.
Kelly had 42% shooting, but ended with 8.0 points per game. He had 25 starts. He occupied the Power Forward position with Jordan Hill and Shawne Williams. And with Hill re-signing, Kelly is on the bench for a while. How long until Kobe yells at him?
Ish Smith. Even that name should put him in the Red Shirt Theory Hall of Fame. Jeff Hornacek turned the NBA world on it’s ear, at least temporarily, by playing two traiditonal point guards together and it mostly worked! The Suns finished 48-34 behind their young and quick team. And then there was Ish. In 70 games, Hornacek as guard mastermind coach, could only garner 3.7 points and 2.6 assists per game. He put in 1006 minutes total and still had the lowest True Shooting Percentage, 44%, of the entire team. But don’t worry Suns fans, with Eric Bledsoe seemingly at odds with Suns brass about a contract extension, they’ll always have old Ish in the chamber ready to go!
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Golden State Warriors
Harrison Barnes. Barnes was supposed to be part of the Warriors future along with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, but after this season, it looks like he hit his ceiling. His PER dropped to 9.8, his FG % went to 40%, he went from 81 starts in 2012-13 to only 24 starts this season. His FG attempts went up, but his made shots stayed the same. Andre Iguodala and, even, Draymond Green seems to have put Barnes on the bubble. But if he pulls off another decline, he’s burst.
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Los Angeles Clippers
Jared Dudley. 6 field goal attempts in 23.4 minutes per game. A PER of 8.9 and a FTr of .130. Jared was such a dud, that coach Doc Rivers sought to bring in the animated corpse of Danny Granger in mid-season after Stephen Jackson and Hedo Turkoglu failed to make a run at replacing him. His points-per-game dropped by 4 fromlast year and his field goal percentage went from 46.8% to 43.8% in a season. Dudley seems to be another in a long line of players bolstered by the system in Phoenix, only to be exposed for how bad they are on another team.