Earlier this summer, Royal stuck his toe in the free agent waters, but quickly realized he had a good thing in Philly. He opted out of his deal, only to re-sign with the Sixers for the minimum. It's his turn today in the Predicting 2010 series. Projections and analysis after the jump.
I think we got pretty much exactly what we bargained for out of Royal in 08-09. He was depth at the guard position, and a good back-court complement to Reggie Evans in the "annoy the other team to death," defensive unit Cheeks and DiLeo liked to throw out there. Royal and Evans pressured the ball, which slowed the pace and forced a lot of teams into turnovers. Of course, much like with Reggie, there were serious trade offs to be made.
Ivey's defense looked better on the floor than it did on paper. According to 82games.com, he was basically an average defender for the position. Of course, that made him the best defensive guard on the team, by a wide margin, but still, you'd like to see something better than average from a defensive specialist.
Offensively, Royal was an enigma. His effective field goal percentage on jumpers was 42.6%, which ranked him way up there on the Sixers (3rd, actually, behind only Donyell and Willie Green). His eFG on inside shots (basically layups and dunks) was an abysmal 42.2%. This has to be near the bottom of the entire league. It's not hard to imagine why, he was simply a terrible finisher.
Ivey's 3pt shooting was a revelation, and if he can continue to stroke the long ball at 34%, he'll be a useful guy in spurts off the bench. He returns as the third PG on the roster, just as he was last season, but there's more uncertainty in front of him. Lou Williams is penciled in for 30+ minutes/night at one of the guard positions, but who knows what the plans are for Jrue Holiday at this point. I will say that I'm not entirely comfortable with Ivey in the traditional point guard's role, I don't think he's a strong enough ballhandler, but we've been told time and time again that the Princeton offense doesn't require a true point, so maybe it won't matter.
The fact of the matter is, he's going to have to see time at the point regularly, and I think that will lead to a bump in his minutes, unless Jrue really breaks out.
Here are last year's stats and my projections for this season.
As you can see, I'm projecting Ivey to have minor increases across the board, mainly because I think he's a smart player who will pick up Jordan's system, and find open looks for himself within it. The fact that his minutes should be more consistent should also help. I don't expect big things from him, but he should hopefully improve upon his overall effect on the game over last season when he was a minus. If he can play about a quarter a game and not hurt the team, he'll be doing his job.