We’re seven games into the season which is prime time to panic. Cause hey, what else do I have to do!?
In all seriousness though, through the first seven games of the season Carl Landry is averaging a paltry 12.4 points per game along with 4.4 rebounds and doing so on only 45% shooting. Considering all, 45% shooting isn’t too bad especially given the nature of Landry’s outside prone game, but it’s still well below the low 50%’s he’s accustom to.
So, what’s wrong with Landry? Is it the new big man heavy rotation? Is it just a slow start to the season? Is Landry already feeling the pressure of trade blues come February? Maybe it’s a combo of all three?
Whatever the case, Landry has been pretty much invisible (especially lately) to start the season and his absence has played a pretty large role in the Kings losing ways the past week and a half.
I like Carl and think he’s a fine compliment to the Kings organization and the current roster. He’s a very efficient scorer but he lacks a lot of the needed skill set outside of his scoring ability and not to mention, he’s a bit undersized. He’s always reminded me of a big man’s version of Kevin Martin. They can put the ball in the basket with the best of them and do so at an amazingly efficient clip (not to mention an ability to get to the foul line) but outside of that, they’re average everywhere else…and that’s on a good day. Now, don’t get me wrong. What Landry does and can do is very important, especially on a team void of scorers outside of Tyreke Evans. That’s evident in the way the Kings are playing right now. But much like Martin, they’re very flawed players. Very good, but very flawed.
Personally, I think Landry’s slow start to the season is just that….with a small rotation issue thrown in. Unlike last season, the Kings have plenty of big men (especially with the emergence of Darnell Jackson) and are being forced to play Jason Thompson at small forward (which is a joke in-itself), so the squeeze is certainly on as Landry is playing about 10 minutes less a game right now than he did last season.
But this all leads to a bigger question. Is Landry part of the Kings future?
With a looming NBA lockout on the horizon and Landry being a free agent at season end, you have to wonder what the Kings plan to do. You certainly don’t want to lose service time to an extended lockout and while that probably wont happen, it’s certainly a possibility. And speaking of the lockout, with a new collective bargaining agreement in place whenever the 2011-2012 season kicks off, it’s expected player salaries will be reduced heavily – some pundits saying up to 30%. You most definitely don’t want to get caught overpaying Landry more than you need to. Combine that with the fact of how vastly overpaid big men in this league are, the Kings need to be extremely careful.
In addition to the pure salary standpoint, the Kings are far better off roster wise than they were when Landry was traded to Sacramento late last season. With only Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes on the front line, the Kings were struggling to field the big men positions. However, with the acquisition of Samuel Dalembert along with the drafting of DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside to go along with Landry and Thompson, now the Kings have trouble getting them all playing time and are being forced to play guys out of position.
Am I an advocate of trading Carl Landry? I wouldn’t say that exactly. But at the same time, I’m not going to be heartbroken if he is moved.
He is a very unique talent and in a league that drools over big men who can score, he’s quite a commodity.
He’ll turn around his slow play without a doubt – he’s too good not to. And when he does, my phone lines would be wide open if I was Geoff Petrie.