Last November, Jeremy Pargo said he had no idea Kyrie Irving was injured and about to miss a month of action for the Cleveland Cavaliers. What was so significant about that was it meant Pargo was going to be the Cavs’ starting point guard until Irving was healthy.
As it worked out, Pargo’s first start was against the Sixers in Cleveland. It also turned out to be Pargo’s best-ever night in the NBA.
“I got a phone call randomly at midnight from a friend saying that Kyrie was out for a month,” Pargo related. “I said, ‘Where did you hear that? I’m here and I didn’t hear that.’ Shoot-around was pretty normal and then I got the nod to start and I was just myself. I had fun [that night against the Sixers]. It was a great game.”
Pargo poured in 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting with four three-pointers that Nov. 21 night in a game that halted a three-game winning streak for the Sixers.
So if you can’t beat ‘em, sign them to a 10-day contract shortly after they clear waivers. In that case, the Sixers announced that Pargo had joined the team on Thursday afternoon. His contract runs through the All-Star break.
The Sixers can sign Pargo to a second 10-day contract after the first one expires. Following that, the team would have to sign Pargo for the remainder of the season or waive him.
Still, even with the solid relief work for the Cavs, Pargo was caught in a roster crunch. When he was waived recently, Pargo admits that the Cavs’ decision caught him off guard.
“It’s a bit tough,” Pargo said. “I didn’t see it coming, in all honesty. But it happened and I’m here now and I’m going to try and make the best of this situation.”
This season the Sixers have given a pair of 10-day contracts to point guards Maalik Wayns and Shelvin Mack. After Wednesday night’s 88-69 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Mack’s second contract expired and he was waived.
Mack appeared in two games during his nearly three-week run with the Sixers. In announcing the roster move, coach Doug Collins was dismayed over the fact that Mack had to go.
“It’s one of the tough things in this business to see a guy who was told last night that he didn’t have a job,” Collins said after Thursday’s workout session at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “I shared that with our guys today. How many looked around last night and saw [Mack] get his stuff and leave and doesn’t have a job.
“It wasn’t as if Shelvin didn’t do what we needed him to do. We have to leave ourselves options before the trade deadline. We just didn’t feel like we could make that commitment [to Mack] yet.
“But [Mack] is as a quality of a person as you’ll ever meet and to see him leave that locker room last night was very sad to me.”
In the meantime, there isn’t much known about what kind of role Pargo will play with the Sixers. On the depth chart he fits in behind All-Star Jrue Holiday and veteran Royal Ivey. Collins likes that Pargo is pretty adept at running the pick-and-roll and his physical style of play for a guard should allow Holiday to catch a few more minutes of rest during games.
According to Collins, Holiday’s minutes - he’s averaging 39 per game - have left him a bit fatigued lately. Given that Holiday has to run the offense, find points for himself and others and guard a player with the same role, the fatigue is understandable.
“We think he can play pick-and-roll. We think he can pressure the ball up the floor and give us some speed,” Collins said. “I’m hoping I can play he and Jrue together and get Jrue off the ball a little bit and get his minutes down.
“He’s got experience and he lit us up at Cleveland,” Collins said. “He’s got a motor, he's compact, he’s strong. Hopefully, he’s going to be able to help us.”
The 6-foot-2 and 26-year old guard has already burned the Sixers once. In 25 games this season (11 starts), Pargo averaged 7.8 points, 2.6 assists per game while shooting 40.1 percent from the floor. However, Pargo had a couple of other big games to go with the 28-point explosion against the Sixers.
On Dec. 8 he scored 24 points on 10-for-18 shooting in a loss to Detroit. He also had 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting in a victory over Atlanta on Nov. 30. Incidentally, Pargo’s brother, Jannero, is currently on a 10-day contract with the Hawks.
Next, Pargo will prepare for Saturday night’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats and he will also attempt to negotiate the topsy-turvy landscape of the NBA player on a 10-day contract.
“'Crash course' is a good term for it,” the self-described energetic and physical guard said. “This is my first time on a 10-day contract. I guess I’m just going to be myself, have fun and play hard.”
Richardson to get fourth opinion
Collins said Thursday that veteran guard Jason Richardson was “looking at season-ending surgery.”
Though the team did not confirm that Richardson will undergo a procedure to repair torn cartilage beneath his left knee, it did report that the 32-year old will get a fourth opinion.
Richardson will visit physician Dr. David Altcheck in New York City as early as Thursday.