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Confused By the Desires For Pargo

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The interest around the NBA in Jannero Pargo confuses me. 

It was hard to understand when there was talk of the Hornets making efforts to re-sign him in the summer.  Or when other teams around the league showed some desire.  Or most especially when his name appeared next to the words "Boston Celtics" occasionally during the off-season.

Currently playing for Dynamo Moscow in Russia, the six year NBA vet has his name back in the news.  The Arizona Republic's Paul Coro reports that both the Suns and Knicks have expressed interest in bringing Pargo back across to the states if he can get out of his contract overseas.

I don't understand the allure.

Yes, the 6-1 guard from Arkansas can score in bunches.  He came off the bench to put up at least 20 points five times last season, and he added another 21 double-digit scoring efforts for the year.  There is, however, a simple explanation for Pargo's penchant for the occasional volume scoring explosion: This guy takes a lot of shots.  Several.  Many.  Quite a few. 

The problem is that he doesn't hit a lot of those shots.  Pargo averaged more than eight field-goal attempts in less than 20 minutes per game last season (15.7 per 36 minutes), and he hit less than 40 percent of them.  He also only knocked down 34.9 percent of his three-pointers, helping him to a true shooting mark of 46.8 percent.  As ATH from At the Hive points out via this link, among guards who qualified for the scoring title last season, Pargo ranked dead last in true shooting, nearly two full percentage points behind Marquis Daniels at 48.7.  This was no aberration either: Pargo has hit the 50 percent true shooting mark just once in his six seasons in the league (50.4 in 2006-07), and he is a 47.8 percent true shooter for his career.  This is a bona fide chucker.

A season ago, Pargo had a usage rate of 24.2, which indicates that he was responsible for nearly a quarter of the Hornets' possessions (field-goal attempts, assists and turnovers are the three primary factors in usage rate, though they are weighted differently) that came while he was on the court.  To put this in perspective, consider the following list of players (among others) who had equivalent or lesser usage rates last season: Dwight Howard, Chauncey Billups, Deron Williams, Stephen Jackson, Devin Harris.  Gulp.  Jannero Pargo absolutely dominates the ball when he is on the floor, mostly for the purpose of heaving it toward the basket.

Pargo isn't a great passer.  He gives you little on the boards, and he isn't the world's most stout defender (although ATH gives him more credit here than I do).  Opposing two-guards put up an effective field-goal mark of 52.5 percent against Pargo last year, and the team was roughly even defensively with him on the floor and off it. 

So it's hard to understand what the interested teams in this league see in him.  The Suns have committed to staying efficient offensively and trying to improve at the defensive end.  Not sure how Pargo would fit into that plan at either side of the floor.  As for the Knicks, they already have enough freewheeling going on.  Adding Pargo to the mix of a frenetic offense that is still just 19th in efficiency would only seem to add to the problems.  Again, firepower isn't the issue there. 

That Pargo is supposedly a good dude is definitely a plus, and as an Eddie House fan, I understand the comment about ATH and his fellow Hornets fans enjoying the wild Pargo gunning.  But therein lies the key: There are plenty of players in this league who like to shoot the basketball.  The vast majority of them (House included), put it in the basket with far greater accuracy than Jannero Pargo does.  This makes signing the diminutive guard appear a questionable proposition at best.

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