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The NBA
Jackie MacMullan
March 01, 1999
Kick Shinn Now George Shinn should sell the Hornets before he completely ruins them
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March 01, 1999

The Nba

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More Bang for Your Bucket
Our Working premise: It's not how many times you shoot, it's how much you get out of each shot. Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal leads the league in scoring (28.6 points a game), but we wanted to know who the NBA's most efficient scorer is, so we cooked up a rating based on points per field goal attempt. When total points--including free throws, most of which are scored by players fouled while shooting--are divided by field goal tries, Cleveland's Shawn Kemp (14th in scoring, with 20.5 points a game) ranks as the NBA's most efficient scorer. O'Neal (18th in efficiency) and Jazz forward Karl Malone (fifth in scoring, 12th in efficiency) were the only top-five scorers to crack our top 20. The league's second-leading scorer, Sixers guard Allen Iverson, wasn't able to cross over. He ranks 35th in efficiency.

PLAYER, TEAM

SHOTS FROM THE FIELD*

TOTAL POINTS

POINTS PER GAME

POINTS PER SHOT

Shawn Kemp, Cavaliers

93

164

20.5

1.76

David Robinson, Spurs

87

148

14.8

1.70

Steve Smith, Hawks

121

193

21.4

1.60

Reggie Miller, Pacers

119

189

18.9

1.59

Bryon Russell, Jazz

76

119

13.0

1.57

Derek Anderson, Cavaliers

62

94

11.8

1.52

Cliff Robinson, Suns

81

122

13.8

1.51

Othella Harrington, Rockets

91

136

13.6

1.49

Robert Pack, Mavericks

65

95

9.5

1.46

J.R. Reid, Hornets

80

116

14.5

1.45

*Minimum of 60 field goal attempts

Kick Shinn Now
George Shinn should sell the Hornets before he completely ruins them

An open letter to Charlotte owner George Shinn:

Dear Mr. Shinn,
Pack up your keys to the city, the civic plaques and those cute little teal-and-purple basketballs. It's time for you to go.

You've had your fun, but being an NBA owner means you have to do more than take bows at half-court and give high fives in the locker room. There's this little matter of building a contender. Your team and your fans—what's left of them, anyway—are tired of waiting, tired of your letting good players flee to better teams. You and I both know that you have no intention of cracking open your wallet, so do everybody a favor: Sell.

Your stinginess has destroyed the franchise. Your executive vice president of basketball operations, Bob Bass, has kept his mouth shut about the nearly impossible job you've given him. For two seasons your coach, Dave Cowens, bit his lip, too, but he cut loose last week. His team, decimated by injuries to its two best players, Glen Rice (elbow surgery) and Anthony Mason (torn triceps), was in a tailspin, falling to 1-7 by week's end, and the prospect of being forced to trade Rice because of a salary dispute, plus Cowens's own uncertain future (he's in the final year of his contract), spurred him to lash out. He told the Winston-Salem Journal he probably won't be with the Hornets next season because "I just don't think they're prepared to pay what I want So I'm a lame dude That's just the way it is." Cowens, the league's lowest-paid coach at $675,000, is looking for the league average—around $2 million a season—but is sure he will not get it.

What Cowens didn't say, Mr. Shinn, was that he had signed an extension last spring, but when he did not bow humbly and express profound gratitude for a contract that still left him as the lowest-paid coach in the league, Cowens's attorney, Dennis Coleman, says you pulled the deal off the table.

There's no question Cowens's timing was ill-advised. It's generally considered heresy for a coach to criticize management; George Karl made a career of it in Seattle, which is why he's now coaching in Milwaukee. Bass, who hired Cowens in 1996, citing his refreshing candor, was shocked by his coach's complaints. "I really feel it damaged our team," says Bass.

Meanwhile, Bass appears to be waiting for Rice to get healthy so that he can ship him to the Lakers, along with B.J. Armstrong and J.R. Reid, for Elden Campbell and Eddie Jones. The reason Rice has to go: He wants an extension, and you don't want to pay out superstar money. Not even for a superstar with the purest shot in the NBA.

The word is out all over the league that Charlotte will not pay top dollar for top players. So which free agents are going to sign with Charlotte? Only second-tier players with baggage or limited options, or both (see Derrick Coleman). As one of your current players observed, "Even if we get Eddie Jones, what chance do we have of keeping him?"

Tell us, Mr. Shinn. Would Eddie Jones, who will be a free agent two years from now, be worthy of a contract extension that would pay him his market value? Or would you let him walk away, the way you did Kenny Anderson, Dell Curry, Vlade Divac and Matt Geiger?

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