Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review and preview: Jordan Farmar

First of all, I’d like to thank Jordan Farmar for his four years as a Laker, and wish him well in his future career, as he will not be returning to the team for the 2010-11 season.

Strengths: He has really improved as an open shooter, up to 37.6% from the arc this year (40% in the playoffs). He finishes well, using his athleticism and touch around the rim. Defensively, he plays the passing lanes well.

Weaknesses: In short, decision-making. He overdribbles, breaks plays, makes poor decisions with the ball, and passes poorly (breaking Kobe’s finger this year being the worst example). After four years, he still does not understand some of the basic principles of the offense. Defensively, he is poor on the ball, gambles too much, and does not fight through screens well. Just a poor defensive player, who gets lit up by a lot of the league’s backup 1’s. And he has been a bit of a malcontent, defying and talking back to coaches and refusing to play within the system.

Last year: In 18 minutes, put up 7.2 points on decent shooting (.535 TS%) and not much else, leading to a 12.3 PER. Had the lowest assist and turnover rates of his career, suggesting that he was looking to get his more than in the past. In the playoffs, more of the same, 4.6 points on a .526 TS% in 13.1 minutes, 11.2 PER. He recovered some from the disaster of 08-09, but was still just so-so even for a backup point guard.

Next year: A restricted free agent if the Lakers tender a qualifying offer ($2,874,126) They likely will not, as they are looking to shed salary and probably would not want him back even at the QO price, much less match any offer above it. In short, his Laker career is over.

He ends his four year run with the Lakers as a guy who came with some potential, but after a solid sophomore season he regressed and ultimately really did not improve much from the day he joined the team. Fisher bashers have called for him to be a starter, but there’s nothing beyond faith (and hate) to suggest he would have been up to the job of playing crunch minutes on a championship team. All of the primary lineup combinations have been better with Fisher than with Farmar.

I always liked the kid, as despite his many run-ins with players and coaches he seemed from the outside to be a good kid. Sure, he’s make you yell at the TV over and over for his many gaffes, but I always hoped he would start to get it. Until we got far enough into this season for me to become resigned to the fact that it just wasn’t happening and he needed to go.

He wants to run his own team and play big minutes, and of course he wants to get paid. As well he should, with his first child on the way. But I fear that, while he will get paid at least once, he just is not as good as he thinks he is, and he will spend his career as a fringe starter on bad teams or a rotation guy on good ones (and that’s assuming he decides to get on board with future coaches). He’s just not one of the top 30 point guards in this league, no matter how you slice it.

I thank him for his contributions to two titles and another Finals appearance, and wish him the best as we bid him farewell.

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