23 March 2007

The Face on the Milk Carton Series: Pat Garrity

It wasn't too long ago when Pat Garrity was important to the Orlando Magic. He'd come into the game, camp out on the right wing and wait for Tracy McGrady to kick it out to him for a three-point bomb. Garrity -- or, as my friend Jake called him then, "G-Pat" -- was a fan-favorite. You can't help but love unathletic white guys in the NBA who have only one skill, and if you don't believe me, ask Heat fans about Jason Kapono or Knicks fans about David Lee.

But now, just five seasons removed from his best, in which he averaged 11.1 points per game and shot .427 from beyond the three-point arc, Pat Garrity is arguably the least important player on the whole team. He's appeared in just 31 games this season, and in those he's only averaged 8.3 minutes. He has nearly as many field goal attempts (65) as he does points (67). He's hitting just 36.7% of this threes and only 32.3% of his shots overall. And although rookie James Augustine has appeared in just two games so far, Augustine is 7 years younger and appears to be able to rebound the basketball, something Garrity has struggled with throughout his career.

As I alluded to earlier, Pat Garrity made a living by camping out at the three-point line and waiting for the ball. But what happens when a three-point shooter stops making his threes? In most cases, it means getting cut in training camp or spending the season on the inactive list. In Garrity's case, it means sitting at the end of the bench each night, cursing the knee injury he suffered in 2003 that he never fully recovered from.