For the bulk of what has been an impressive NBA career, DeShawn Stevenson has been routinely terrible by just about every metric you can shift your eyes toward. We call his 13-year NBA career “impressive” because, holy cow, DeShawn Stevenson has been in the NBA for 13 years despite shooting under 40 percent eight times, registering a single-digit Player Efficiency Rating (15 is average) nine times, while sometimes doing a good job guarding perhaps the NBA’s least important role of the post-Jordan era – the scoring swingman.
This is why the Atlanta Hawks waived Stevenson last week. This is why he cleared waivers over the weekend. What this doesn’t fully explain away is DeShawn Stevenson’s plea to the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, who are pretty well-stocked at the wing position despite recently waiving Mike Miller. Stevenson wants a gig with Miami, which would make sense if this weren’t the same guy that spouted off at LeBron James numerous times between the times James’ old Cleveland Cavaliers battled with Stevenson’s Washington Wizards in the playoffs (battles James’ Cavs won in three consecutive years), and the Miami Heat’s fall in the face of Stevenson’s Dallas Mavericks in 2011.
Still, that didn’t stop one of the least self-aware NBA players of all time (and that’s saying something) from coming through with his lone Hall of Fame skill – that crippling lack of self-awareness. From DeShawn’s Twitter account:
Miami Heat Where I Wanna Go!!! Lebron Make it Happen
— dsteve92 & JMarie (@DSteve92JMarie) August 4, 2013
Yeah LeBron, make it happen! Go for the guy that capitalizes every opening letter in his tweet, yet fails to land the upper-case “B” in “LeBron!” Go for the dude that shot 28 percent from the floor two years ago.
In Stevenson’s defense, he was a model citizen during the 2011 Finals (relative to his previous spats), and gave James and his Heat a back-handed compliment partway through 2011-12, correctly pointing out that James’ crew looked like an eventual title-winner. He’s come a long way from calling James “overrated” half a decade ago. At the very least, he’s come some way. A small, step of a way.
If the Heat let free agent Juwan Howard go and decline to exercise the option on Jarvis Varnado’s contract, the team will have one roster spot left after signing Greg Oden. And though Mike Miller wasn’t much of a factor for the Heat over the last two regular seasons, the team still could use another swingman to look at, even with rookie James Ennis on board. Another big wouldn’t hurt, either, and the team has been rumored to be looking at veteran point guard Sebastian Telfair. There are holes in this top-heavy team, so there’s always a chance.
Stevenson is up against it, though.
Somehow the guy has started 115 NBA games over the last three years, but at this point all he can do on offense is stand behind the three-point arc and shoot long range shots; succeeding on hitting those shots at a below average rate. He never turns the ball over, but that’s mainly because defenses are allowed to ignore him, and his defense (to these eyes, at least) has been falling off since before his time on Dallas’ championship team.
Not to pile on, but it was Dallas’ modified zone defense and LeBron’s own failings that led to Miami’s loss in 2011, and not so much Stevenson’s defense (though he did hit for a remarkable 13-23 threes in that series, before letting the championship festivities get to him).
If Miami passes on DeShawn Stevenson, it won’t be because LeBron James put the kibosh on anything. LBJ can barely be bothered at this point, and even Stevenson admitted (and this was prior to Dallas’ besting of James in 2011) that it was the frustration of losing to James that caused his “overrated” comment.
No, it’ll be DeShawn Stevenson the player, and not the provocateur, that will cost him a job with the Heat.
(Unless LeBron, feeling his oats, really wants to get weird with this thing.)