Monday, February 14, 2011

Opinion: Chalmers Needs to Go

February 14, 2010

So much for earning back his starting role at point guard.

Mario Chalmers proved once again that he is good at one thing: failing to capitalize on prime opportunities.

Anyone who's been watching Miami Heat basketball lately will confidently say that Chalmers has not played up to expectations. For a player that was hyped up as a "steal" in the second round and an athlete with untapped potential, it's looking a lot like Chalmers is what he is: an inconsistent point guard with little resolve.

I'm not blaming Sunday's loss on Chalmers - it was a collective loss. But I am arguing that Chalmers is more risk than reward for Miami, given the expectations the team has of the third-year player. Compared to Carlos Arroyo, Chalmers is supposed to be a better scorer, defender and overall athlete. However, we've learned that this is an assumption that has made an "ass" of "u" and "me."

Had we painted Chalmers out to be a certified back-up point guard in the league, there would be little complaint from me. Since that isn't the case, we must deal with the consequences of placing hope in a near-bust. I mean, this kid came from being a full-time starter for all 82 games of his rookie season to a player who's struggled to earn minutes.

Let's look at some stats to illustrate this decline. Here are Chalmers' averages over the span of his career:
  • 2008-09: 32 minutes, 42% field goal pct, 10 points, 4.9 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2 steals
  • 2009-10: 24.8 minutes, 40.1% field goal pct, 7.1 points, 3.4 assists, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals
  • 2010-11: 21.8 minutes, 39.5% field goal pct, 6.4 points, 2.2 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals
That's regression across the board each successive season and a cause for concern if you're the Heat. Beyond the stats, Chalmers' poor ball handling skills makes the case against him even stronger. The amount of turnovers Rio has committed in recent games is unacceptable for a professional athlete that is supposed to hold the label of "floor general." If you can't handle the ball, you're not an NBA PG. Period.

I doubt Miami moves him before the trade deadline as there are too many obstacles in the way, including cap room, salary structure and Chalmers' trade value of course. I do expect him to lose the starting job by season's end and traded or let go in the offseason.

Sad to see it come to this after I raved about (what I called) the emergence of Mario Chalmers (and Michael Beasley). I was wrong, dead wrong, but have no problem admitting it. It's time to move forward now.

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