- Sep 28, 2007
Parker Struggling To Fit In With Heat:
Moments after he finished interviews with reporters Tuesday, Heat guard Smush Parker walked back to the security door that leads to the team locker room.
It was locked. He didn't have an access card and, he said, his fingerprint wasn't on file yet in the arena's sophisticated system.
Simply put: Parker was on the outside looking in.
''I hope they're not trying to tell me something,'' Parker joked. ``I don't know if that's a bad sign or what.''
The situation might best describe Parker's status at this point in the season. Parker, a former Los Angeles Lakers point guard who was the Heat's biggest free agent acquisition, enters his fourth game of the season still uncertain of his role with Miami.
He has not played in the past two games. And he is not guaranteed to be in the rotation Wednesday night, when the Heat (0-3) visits the defending champion Spurs.
The Heat faces a difficult stretch as it tries to overcome a slow start without leading scorer Dwyane Wade, who traveled with the team but is not expected to play as he continues his recovery from knee and shoulder surgeries. His absence has left a huge void in the backcourt.
When Parker signed his two-year deal in July, there was talk he would push incumbent Jason Williams for the starting job. But four games into the season, Parker has yet to supplant undrafted second-year guard Chris Quinn as the top backup.
A TOUGH FIT
Heat coach Pat Riley said Tuesday that Parker still has yet to factor into the mix at point guard and is better suited as a reserve shooting guard -- where minutes also are tough to come by behind Ricky Davis and rookie Daequan Cook.
''No, he hasn't [shown enough],'' Riley said when asked why Parker has remained on the bench the past two games. ``That's the reason. He'll get his chance. He's more of a scoring point [guard]. I really don't need that right now. What I want is somebody who'll get us organized.''
That, apparently, has been Quinn.
Parker said he met with Riley on Tuesday to clear up issues regarding his role. Riley's assessment was blunt.
''He said he didn't like the way I was running the point, running the offense,'' Parker said. ``I'm a point guard at heart, but he's playing me at [shooting guard]. I just have to reboot my system.''
IMO Smush was great for the Lakers in 05-06 through midway 06-07 but as of today, his confidence is pretty low. He seems nervous every time he's on the floor. I hope he gets back to his real form and is able to show Riley what he can do.
"The best there ever was, the best there ever will be."