Aging shooters have been something of a trending topic on NBA airwaves this week. On MLK Day, Knicks announcer Mike Breen said Steve Nash should be in the discussion as maybe the greatest shooter in League history. During Hawks/Heat on Tuesday, one Miami announcer called Mike Bibby “one of the all-timers” in terms of pure shooting. And last night, Ray Allen got his usual heaping amount of praise after he buried another game-winning bucket to lift the Celtics over the Pistons.
Now another of the League’s veteran snipers may be on the free agent market soon for a mid-season pickup, and some top playoff contenders are listed as potential destinations. According to ESPN, Peja Stojakovic is close to reaching a buyout agreement with the Toronto Raptors, and has the Mavericks, Lakers and Hornets high on the list of teams he wants to play for next.
Stojakovic has only played in eight games this season, and just two for the Raptors since coming over from New Orleans in the Jarrett Jack/Jerryd Bayless trade. He’s been sidelined by a knee injury since early December, on top of the recurring back problems he’s had throughout the latter part of his career.
In 13 years in the NBA, the three-time All-Star Stojakovic has averaged 17.2 points per game while knocking down 40 percent of his three-pointers and 89 percent of his free throws. He currently ranks 5th all-time in threes made, 28th in three-point percentage, and 4th in free-throw percentage.
Peja’s defense has always been a weakness, and at this point in his career he’s an automatic “Find whoever he’s guarding and clear it out” kind of player. Considering that he’s 33 years old and injuries have made him even slower and even more of a one-trick performer, don’t be surprised if Peja doesn’t get picked up. So far it’s not clear whether the Lakers, Mavs and Hornets are actually interested in Peja, or if those are just the teams he’s interested in joining.
At the same time, playoff contenders are always looking for extra shooters. And Peja can still shoot. Like Kenny Smith said in the TNT studio a couple weeks ago, a basketball player’s jump shot is like a good woman: It will never leave you.
Would you want Peja on your team?