Year In Review: Francisco Garcia
Reflecting upon Francisco Garcia's past, present and future following the 2013-14 campaign
Francisco Garcia began the 2013-14 campaign by doing his best impression of a human torch, draining close to 50 percent (14-of-30) of the 3-pointers he attempted over the course of the season’s first five games. Alas, a nasty case of regression to the mean kicked in, nagging injuries took hold as the season wore on, and Garcia finished the season with a 3-point percentage (.358) very near his career mark of .361. As a result, the ninth-year pro delivered impactful performances off the bench from time to time, especially during Houston’s final two meetings with Oklahoma City, but wasn’t able to do so with the kind of consistency both he and his team had hoped.
It’s tempting to select opening night as Garcia’s finest showing of the season, given that he seized the spotlight with a 19-point, 7-of-13 shooting performance (including a 5-for-9 connection rate from downtown) that helped Houston hold off the frisky Charlotte Bobcats. Or one might be similarly inclined to showcase his season-high scoring spree that took place a few weeks later when he dropped 21 points on the Atlanta Hawks.
But when it comes to pure, visceral, both-ends-of-the-floor impact, it’s awfully tough to top what Garcia brought to the table April 4 when the Rockets finally broke through and earned their first and only win of the season against the Thunder. The 33-year-old relished the opportunity to renew acquaintances with Kevin Durant and his harassing defense helped force a whopping six turnovers out of the league’s scoring champ. Garcia’s grit, heart and hustle were huge that night, as was the clutch triple he drained in the game’s final few minutes that gave the Rockets some sorely needed breathing room. And it’s no coincidence that his plus/minus of +7 accrued during his 28 minutes of action ended up leading all players; Garcia was a true talisman that evening, providing both an emotional and tangible edge that proved to be essential ingredients to one of Houston’s more memorable wins of the season.
THE NEXT STEP
Next season will be Garcia’s tenth as a pro, placing him squarely in that group of veteran leaders who tend to be capable of delivering just as much impact off the court as they can on it. The Dominican Republic native is well suited to such a role. Garcia is beloved by his teammates, and his aforementioned fearlessness and unflappability make him immune to the increased pressure of playoff basketball. He is a pro’s pro, always ready to play when needed – the kind of characteristic that comes in handy when a game is crying out for an unsung, out-of-the-blue hero. Then there’s this: Oklahoma City and Durant aren’t going anywhere. The more players you can have who are up for rising to that sort of monumental challenge, the better.