Against Milwaukee, Corey Maggette played 15+ minutes in the first half. During that time, he scored 7 points on 2 shots, drew 4 fouls on Bucks defenders, including the third foul on Bogut early in the 2nd quarter, with no turnovers and a couple rebounds. (Corey's ability to draw fouls gets him to the line, but it also gets the opposition into foul trouble, and gets the team into the bonus; these team wide benefits are often overlooked.) He did not play in the third quarter, did not get another SHOT until 5 minutes left when the Clippers had a 22 point lead, and was the only one of the top 8 on the floor with the scrubs at garbage time.
The mop up duty is an interesting thing. I've mentioned before that Corey's playing time (27.8 minutes per game, 5th on the team) is inflated by garbage time. He certainly gets more (a lot more) of these minutes than the rest of the guys in the primary rotation. Why? It's possible that Corey and MDSr have talked about it, and are in agreement that it's a good thing to pad his numbers in the quest for the 6th Man Award. Certainly that's a benefit to being out there, and if he wants to win the award, those raw numbers will matter, regardless of how meaningless they are in the context of the game. It's also possible that MDSr is thinking of this, but has not spoken to Corey about it. And of course it's possible that MDSr views Corey as the 8th man, and counting backwards from 12, he's on the floor to mop up.
At any rate, the net effect of seeing the Clippers leading scorer from 2003 through 2005 on the court with Alvin Williams and Paul Davis playing against Lynn Greer and Damir Markota is a little depressing, and you have to wonder how Corey feels about it.
Even when MDSr is given a chance to praise Maggette, it sounds disingenuous and backhanded. In today's OCR, Art Thompson III briefly explored the 6th Man race, including this quote from MDSr:
Calm down there buddy! Try not to hurt yourself! It seems to me that MDSr is not really lobbying as hard for Corey has he did to trade Corey for his own son. To say that he could be very productive against favorable matchups is insulting; the epitome of damning with faint praise. Corey averaged 22 points per game, 13th in the league, in 04-05 when he was a full time starter. He is very productive against anybody.
Looking at Corey's numbers, it's pretty astounding exactly how stupid this whole thing is. Here are the 12 players who averaged more points per game than Corey Maggette in 04-05. Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Tracy McGrady, Gilbert Arenas, Vince Carter, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Michael Redd, Shaquille O'Neal. Those 12 guys - each and every one of them - have been all-stars, have been invited to play for their country in the Olympics, make 8 figures per season, and... what's the other thing... oh yeah... START! I know a fair amount about basketball, and I know that a guy's stats can be inflated by various factors. The 04-05 Clippers didn't have all the scoring options that the team has today. But c'mon. Look at that list. And Corey is only 27 years old. He was 25 when he scored 22 per game and had increased his scoring average EVERY YEAR HE WAS IN THE LEAGUE. And his scoring numbers weren't inflated by lots of shot attempts. The year he was 13th in scoring, he took fewer shots per game (under 15) than any player in the top 25. He was efficient, he was proficient, he was young, he was improving, he was signed, and he was a bargain.
So how did we go from a 22 point per game, hyper- efficient scoring machine, all star-in-waiting to a 15.5 point per game 8th man we're considering trading for James Posey? Well, Corey got injured after playing just 13 games in 2005 (he was averaging 22.4 points before the injury, once again increasing his scoring average), and then MDSr forgot what he had.
I know, the Clippers had terrific success with a defense-first approach, and they did well while Corey was hurt. I know that. But the truth of the matter is, they did better when Corey wasn't hurt, and although he is not a great defender, he is a top tier NBA scorer, and those don't grow on trees. Steve Nash has won back-to-back MVPs and is the odd's on favorite for a third, and he can't play defense at all. Ever watch Carmelo Anthony? I can only assume that MDSr would bring Melo off the bench as well. And let's not forget Sam Cassell, who is a significantly worse defender than Corey.
And this year's team has really struggled on offense. Yet our leading per minute scorer, second in the league in FTM per 48 minutes (to a guy named Dwyane Wade), one of the most efficient scorers in the entire league, doesn't start and only plays 27.8 garbage inflated minutes.
Well, this wasn't supposed to be a rant about the idiocy of the situation. Usually I leave that to Citizen Zhiv. But sometimes we forget how ridiculously good Corey is offensively. I know I had, if only for a moment. We're not talking about a guy who is the best scorer on the Clippers. We're talking about a guy who was on his way to the top ten in the league. 13th in the league on fewer than 15 shots a game.
You know, he could be very productive against favorable matchups.