CHARLOTTE NC - DECEMBER 29: Anthony Parker #18 of the Cleveland Cavaliers tries to stop Stephen Jackson #1 of the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 29 2010 in Charlotte North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Cavs fans were given a taste of Christian Eyenga on Sunday night, and by all accounts, it was hard not to like what they saw. In his 15 minutes, Eyenga showed athleticism, hustle and a refreshing energy. It wasn't pretty, but it was something. And with his 4 points and 3 rebounds, I found myself asking, is it time to turn it over to the youngsters for good?Rewind one day to January 1 against the Bulls and take a look at the box score. Don't worry, I'll wait. See anything out of the ordinary? Yeah, Ramon Sessions -20 stands out, but that's not it. Oh, you mean, Alonzo Gee's 28 minutes? No, try one more time.
Got it? Ding ding ding, Anthony Parker's 40+ minutes. No, seriously. 40 minutes. For a 35 year old journeyman with an expiring contract on an 8 win team. Well he must have had a GREAT game, right? 3-14. Not only did Parker take the second most shots on the team AGAIN, but he shot 21%, along with a sparkling 1-6 from the three-point line.
Youth revolution!!! That's the way to rebuild!
I've said this so many times it really is making my head hurt, but Anthony Parker has no business getting minutes on this team or even being on this team in the first place. He can hit open threes. That's it. He has poor ballhandling skills, he's an awful defender, he does not distribute the ball well, he makes bad decisions, and there is no positive in playing him significant minutes. Give him 10, give him 15, but, 40 minutes? Really?
Since the Dec. 2 game against the Heat, Parker is averaging 33:15 minutes a game. And he's shooting 39%. Now's the time to cut the cord. The Cavs don't know what they have with Eyenga. He could be a bust. But they won't know unless he gets real minutes on the floor and gets the chance to play at NBA speed on a regular basis. Let the kid play along with Manny Harris. See if they have something there from either of them. And bring Parker in as the third SG and for SF depth until you can find a team to take him off the Cavs' hands.
Look, I know I sound like Anthony Parker ran over my cat and slept with my girlfriend. I really don't have any problem with the guy. He's a decent veteran three-point shooter that is a nice piece on a championship/playoff team.
But he is not a guy who should be playing 35 minutes on one of the worst teams in basketball. He offers nothing to the fans, to the rebuilding effort or to talent evaluation. He's on the last legs of an average, journeyman career. He isn't going to suddenly find the fountain of youth and turn into Kobe Bryant for five years.
He's going to continue to hit a couple threes sometimes, shoot poorly otherwise, make bad decisions, take turnarounds after dribbling out the shotclock and let his man get right by him after he falls on the ground and rolls around.
With Eyenga, there's potential, there's excitement, there's the "What if?" factor. That's what the Cavs need right now. And it's time to let it play out.