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Wasted Opportunity: A Season Review of Brian Roberts

Over the next week plus Pelican Debrief will be rolling out season reviews of all the players that at one point or another in the 2013-2014 season could be classified as rotation players. So far we have taken a look at Luke Babbitt, Darius Miller, Jeff Withey, Jason Smith, Alexis Ajinca, Greg Stiemsma, Austin Rivers and Anthony Morrow. Today we take a look at Brian Roberts.

Stats: 72 games played (42 starts), 23.2 mpg, 9.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.1 bpg, 0.6 spg

Highlight: In a two-game stretch in early February Roberts went for 19 points and six assists and 16 points and six assists in wins over the Hawks and Timberwolves. He also had games of 19 points and 14 points in back-to-back wins over the Lakers and Bucks.

The good: 94% FT%. It wasn’t on a ton of attempts, Roberts averaged just 1.8 free throws per game, but the 94 percent led the NBA. It is hard to choose anything over a league leading stat.

The bad: 41.3% field goal percentage from 0-3 feet. Roberts is a smaller player so he won’t ever been an elite finisher but 41 percent essentially at the rim is just terrible. The number was a stark drop from the 46.5 percent Roberts shot from that range as a rookie so there is hope it is a one year issue as his career moves forward.

The Ugly:  -4.2. The Pelicans’ offensive efficiency dropped by 4.2 points with Roberts on the floor as opposed to off of it, a bad sign for any player but specifically a point guard. The biggest reasoning behind the drop was a rise in the team’s turnover percentage when Roberts played from 13.9 to 15.3. As a point guard Roberts is supposed to be in charge of things, making sure they run smoothly, Roberts didn’t do that enough this year.

The 2013-2014 season was a great opportunity for Brian Roberts, thanks in large part to injuries that crippled the Pelican back court. Unfortunately for Roberts, he didn’t exactly make the impression that he would have liked, especially on the offensive end of the floor.

Roberts struggled in two main areas offensively this season. The first was his finishing at the rim. With his small, slight frame asking Roberts to be an elite finisher isn’t realistic but shooting around 40 percent at the rim is downright awful. Unfortunately Roberts didn’t exactly make up for the struggles by becoming a better three-point shooter, as his three-point percentage also dropped from 38.6 percent as a rookie to just 36 percent this season. Part of the issue was Roberts being asked to handle a much greater load this season with the loss of Holiday to injury and for a player with a limited skill set asking to carry an offense is probably not a reasonable request. Sadly for the Pelicans that bigger role combined with Robert’s personal struggles caused the Pelicans team offense to struggle when he was on the floor. The team’s offensive efficacy dropped 4.2 points with Roberts on the floor with the major difference being in turnover percentage.

Sadly for Roberts the other end of the floor didn’t exactly make up for his offensive problems. As a team defender Roberts didn’t harm the Pelicans, as the defensive efficiency dropped by just 0.2 points when Roberts played instead of sat on the bench. The rest of the stats paint a similar picture as opponents shot 46.6 percent from the floor with Roberts in the game and 46.5 with him on the bench, numbers that make sense for a non-elite defensive guard.

Sadly it all adds up to Roberts being a net negative, as he posted a net rating of -4.8 when he was on the floor and finished the year with a plus minus rating of -135, which was fifth worst on the team. Those numbers don’t bode well for a player that will be a restricted free agent this summer for a team with a crowded back court situation. As a Brian Roberts believer I think he can be useful rotation player for someone going forward, it just doesn’t look like that somewhere will be New Orleans.

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