James Posey. Last night was the nadir toward which Posey had been spiralling downwards for several weeks now. The sizzling three point stroke had already fizzled to nothingness, his defensive prowess had been successfully decimated by such luminaries as Stephen Jackson, John Salmons, Von Wafer, and Wilson Chandler, and as a final straw, his "calm," "veteran" presence devolved into him throwing the basketball at an official.
So, a couple graphs which may either offer some insight or tell us nothing at all. The first two are JP's Game Score (game-by-game version of PER) with Boston and New Orleans. Game Scores obviously do not include defensive performance components, but it still gives a good feel for the overall level of Posey's play. The line is a 5 game moving average.
The yellow dot on the Boston graph corresponds to where New Orleans' season currently is. The first thing that stands out is the sharp downward spiral Posey currently is on. He peaked halfway to the All-Star break, and it's all been downhill since. Recently, he's had an especially bad slump. What's interesting is that he had a similar downward spiral with Boston (leading to the yellow dot) before suddenly picking it up as the season closed. He parlayed that season ending surge into a very good playoffs. So you might say there's some sort of precedent (even though a one year sample is beyond silly) indicating he could recover.
But the next graph could indicate otherwise:
Basically, JP has far and away surpassed his minutes total of last year. In fact, he surpassed it at around Game 63. Right now, he's already played about 200 more regular season minutes than with Boston all of last year. Moreover, he's played more minutes than in any season since 2003. We still have 12 games left to go. As much as Posey deserves blame for his play of late, there's perhaps some evidence that the team hasn't used him properly. A very weak and shallow bench has led to a total disregard for Posey's career trend in minutes played. As if we haven't been cost enough already, it is at least possible that Posey doesn't experience anything near the season ending revival he had with Boston last year. After all, he'd played nearly 500 (!!) minutes less at that point. It's been a long season, and it's only going to get longer.