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Sunday September 24, 2006 2:53 pm

Dropping Dimes Draft Blog: Round 4, Pick 5

Peja Stojakovic
Round 4, Pick 5 Peja Stojakovic, SF, New Orleans Hornets

Thanks Al for the write up on Stephon Marbury! Just wanted to give you another outlet to express your man-crush. Now it is my turn to write about my fiancée’s crush on Peja Stojakovic for Al’s team. Just proves to show that chicks dig the long ball.

Peja Stojakovic is one of the best shooters in the NBA. It is no fluke that he is the two-time All Star 3-Point Shooting Contest winner (’02-’03).  He sports a mean 5 o’clock shadow that is reminiscent of the cowboys in the old spaghetti westerns, so imagine Peja with a cowboy hat, cowboy boots with spurs, poncho, rifle, and a six shooter, and you know he could totally pull it off. In the off-season, Peja the gunslinger for hire was signed to 5-year $64 million contract with the Hornets to ride shotgun with Chris Paul. Peja and Chris can be the modern day Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid with Peja playing Butch and Chris playing the Sundance Kid…wait hang on. Chris Paul is not white. (Check out Sarge‘s color blind article) ;o)

If your team needs 3-point shooting you cannot go wrong with Peja. For his career he has averaged over two 3-pointers per game. Last year with the Pacers he averaged 2.3 3-pointers per contest at 40.4% accuracy. Peja is money from free throw line as well; he made 90.3% of his free throws while averaging 3.9 FT attempt during his tenure as a Pacer. Peja averaged about 2.0 assist/game last season. Peja is a shooter, he is not paid to pass the rock. He is paid to put the ball in the basket.  Despite mostly shooting from the perimeter, Peja’s FG% is pretty respectable at 46.1%. Since the ’00-’01 season Peja has average at least 20 points per game. His best season was ’03-’04 when he averaged 24.3 points per game. With Chris Paul running the offense, you can expect a lot more open looks for Peja. Imagine Chris Paul leading the fast break, drives the lane causing the defense to collapse. Chris kicks the ball out to Peja who is open beyond the 3 point line… swish. Money.  This will be a recurring Hornet’s highlight this season.

Peja is a decent rebounder for a SF. He averaged 6.1 boards which ranks him amongst the better rebounders at the 3 spot. Not as good as Richard Jefferson (6.9 rebs/game) but better than Carmelo Anthony (4.9 rebs/game) in rebounding.  Peja will get you the occasional steal but he has no shot blocking skills whatsoever. He averaged 0.6 steals/game and 0.1 blocks last season. He’s certainly no Ron Artest in regards to the hustle stats.

It was mentioned that in Al’s Lamar Odom write-up that it was too early to pick an injury prone player such as Peja Stojakovic. Peja played in 71 games last year and 66 games in the ’04-’05 season. The most games he played in a season (’03-’04) was 81. If Peja plays in 75 games or more this season then the rewards definitely outweigh the risks. This is a four game improvement from last year which is not unreasonable. 

Looking at the team make-up with Elton Brand, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom it was time to either add in a PG and/or a 3 point shooter. Looking at the PG still available in the draft, Tony Parker and Andre Miller were tossed around, but it is difficult to draft a PG that does not shoot the 3 ball. Baron Davis is more injury-prone than Peja, so toss out that idea. Peja is the best 3-point shooter available at this point of the draft. Too early to draft 3-point gunners like Raja Bell, Kyle Korver, and Ben Gordon. You can expect 20+ points, 2+ 3 pointers, 6+ rebs with decent FG% and excellent FT% & 3pt% from Peja this upcoming season. Not bad for a forth rounder!

Other team members

1.8. Elton Brand, PF Los Angeles Clippers
2.5. Pau Gasol, PF/C Memphis Grizzles
3.8. Lamar Odom, SF/PF Los Angeles Lakers

 

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