They Smell Like the Future: Jeremy Pargo

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 3, 2009 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

Photo by Getty Images.

Gonzaga Senior
6’2” (listed)/6’1.5”  in shoes (at last season’s Combine), 219 lbs.
23 years old
Point guard
Projection: 2nd round/undrafted
Highlights (from 2006-2007)

Jeremy Pargo is certainly a point guard, but I wouldn’t say that he’s the point guard.  There are distinct reasons why Pargo may still be on the board at the end of the second round: his strengths are countered by a lack of development in his scoring and decision-making abilities, and despite his physical tools, Pargo hasn’t been able to play and score efficiently.  That said, he may still be worthy of a roster spot as an undrafted free agent or a second round selection.  The Mavs seem to agree, because they’ve worked out Pargo along with other fringe prospects.

Pargo is certainly a capable distributor and a strong defender, two attributes that have no doubt caught the Mavs’ attention.  In fact, those are two attributes the Mavs are lacking in their backup point guards.  J.J. Barea still comes into the game with blinders on at times, and his near-midget status prevents him from fully blanketing his assignments.  Pargo doesn’t walk tall with giants, but he’s definitely closer to the height of a prototypical point and is strong enough to give pro point guards trouble.  I don’t know if he’ll ever be capable of lock-down defense at the next level, but all of Pargo’s physical tools (height, strength, footspeed, agility) make it a possibility.

That’s where Pargo’s flaws come in to effectively temper any expectations.  Pargo’s quickness and first step should allow for open lanes to the basket, but instead have gradually made Pargo more and more open to the idea of settling for jumpers.  There’s one large problem with that, and I’m going to put this delicately: Pargo can’t shoot.  His spot-up game is average, and his beloved pull-up jumper is more amateur fantasy than MJ.  Factor in a little bit of a hero complex, and we’ve got a very sticky situation on our hands: a quick point guard who can get to the basket and can set up his teammates, but too often opts for low-percentage, contested jumpshots.  Plus, Pargo’s excellent handle on the ball often betrays him, providing him with avenues to accidentally stumble into murdering possessions in the half-court offense.  If Pargo was an inefficient, turnover-prone player at the college level, then how will his skills (and flaws) be affected by the equalized talent of a professional league?  This isn’t the WCC anymore, folks; the top competition is going to be more of a handful than Patty Mills.

Pro-Level Projections:

Jon Nichols of used his Box Score Prediction System (BSPS) to project career numbers for Pargo.  The values given are career averages per 36 minutes, considering that per minute statistics at least partially eliminate variables such as abnormal playing time, lack of opportunity, etc.  The projections are based on Pargo’s four-year career at Gonzaga.  For comparison’s sake, I’ve dug up some other players who have averaged similar numbers over their careers (click here for an enlarged chart):

(Note: the years indicated in the chart refer to the last year of the season played.  For examples, the 2004-2005 season will be marked 05.)

It’s certainly not awful for company for a late draft selection.  Steve Blake is a low-level starter at best and a solid reserve at worst, and Jason Hart is similar.  Marko Jaric is perhaps better than we give him credit, although I’d hardly say he’s an incredible asset.  Regardless, to dig up young, contributing point guards for the league minimum is nothing to scoff at.  If he can show improvement in his jumpshooting or be reined in a bit, he could be a valuable commodity off the bench.

  • finzent

    I watched the youtube-highlights before I read your post, and what really catched my eye was the extremely low release-point of his jump shots. The video quality wasn’t perfect (and maybe I’m spoiled by being used to Dirk’s shot), but it semed to me that he releases the ball at not much more than shoulder height. I’m not sure if that says anything about his probability of improvement, but it sure looks awkward.

    The other stuff looked pretty good, though.

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