Great breakdown Jimmy. I couldn’t argue with any of your slotting into the 3 categories.
Jalen Barford - I agree with your summation on him. I’ve posted this a couple of times before, and “I don’t want to beat a dead horse”, but tell me what I’m missing.
It seems like such an easy solution to just remove all PG responsibilities and let him play the positions he played in JC. Positions that he excelled at in JC to the tune of 1st team All JC. He’s never played PG before (unless it was in HS). His play was amazing as a scoring and rebounding (and decent passer) 3 or stretch 4. Turn him lose, tell him to score, rebound and play great defense.
I have heard that he wanted to play PG because that was probably his path to the NBA. Is that true, and are we just honoring that? Surely he and the coaches understand that playing poorly at PG won’t be his path to the NBA. It seems clear that both he and the Hogs would benefit by moving him to the 2-3-4. What am I missing?
I think there’s a chance you could see him playing off the ball a little bit more often moving forward. Anton can function as more of a lead guard with that second unit. Macon and Anton have clearly been better table setters than Jaylen.
But I think he’ll still have to run point/be a primary ballhandler and be effective doing so, just out of necessity based on the roster makeup. Anton is really the only guard who consistently sets other guys up. Macon is getting better at that, but he’s also your best scorer and having to figure out that balance. I really like Mike’s decision to put the ball in his hands more.
It’s been a rocky transition. I think he and the staff both thought he could handle being the guy running the show. In practices he showed signs of being good for it, but obviously that hasn’t translated. Obviously Mike knows there’s an issue, which is why he moved him out of the starting lineup (for better or worse) and cut his minutes the last two games.
I like pairing Cook with Thompson. Makes for a scrappy bench unit. The starting lineups have all included Dustin and all performed pretty well. Maybe close with Cook if he’s playing better.
I do think Dusty fits better coming off the bench, but that means you have to either move Barford or Beard back into the starting lineup. I think Beard fits better with Dusty, but Macon and Beard have both been better suited to be primary ballhandlers than Jaylen. So if Jaylen is back with the starters, I’d play him off the ball more. Obviously he’ll still have it in his hands a good amount, but let Daryl or even Manny initiate the offense.
I agree with that except for the still starting Thomas. On the road you have to get off to good starts, can’t afford the quick silly fouls and letting their guys like Grant Williams get confidence early in the game. He’s the type of guy that physical that will take advantage of Thomas early. You posted the stats he’s had against high major teams he’s been horrible no way to sugar coat it. And I’m not trying to bash any Thomas, I’m actually a guy that said in the off-season I was most excited to see Thomas play of all the new comers. Like you, I thought he’d be able to stretch the floor and really be a difference maker. He’s played well against mid-majors, but in the big games he’s disappeared, When anybody else has not shown up, CMA has taken them out of the lineup. I think the same thing has to happen with Thomas. Maybe that will get his attention a little bit.
I don’t think Cook or Thomas have shown the ability to stretch the floor or score from the post consistently for that matter. All our post players have to find some offense to be pressure release for our guard heavy offense. It’s too easy on the defense when our post players can’t score and prefer catching the ball 25 feet from the hoop.
Still cook has excelled at making free throws and that is a big big thing. He hasn’t made mistakes to not deserve starting. I think the ability to get to the line and sink some freebies is looking like our best hope for some post offense. He deserves a chance, as does Thompson. I think we will see Mike mixing things up significantly now, and hopefully giving the freshmen minutes too. We got to find some chemistry. This one dimensional drive to the hoop offense isn’t going to cut it against big teams like Florida (it might work against Tennessee) but we all know Arkansas/ Mike Anderson teams thrive on assists. Hope we find that chemistry tonight! (Cook and Thompson are the best passers on the team)
The key on the power forward who starts is to stay out of foul trouble. I think sometimes you decide as a coach who you want at the end and make sure he’s not in foul trouble. If that means not starting him, so be it. I do know that Nolan did that at times. Mike might do it some, too.
I think it is interesting to note that Hannahs is averaging even more points per 30 minutes this year (18.6) than he did last year (18.3). Would love to see more shots falling, of course … but if he had made 4 more 3s this year, he would be shooting the same 43% this year as last year. Of course, he hasn’t made 4 more 3s, and that is 12 points that we don’t have. Not trying to say that it doesn’t matter, but the %s can fluctuate pretty rapidly.
I think his slump / productivity is perceived as worse than it really is (if it even exists) because he is playing less minutes this year. Still not quite sure why that is.
Yea, I thought it was time for Cook to get a shot. He’s playing alright right now, Thomas still struggling.
The positive thing I’m looking at is Jaylen Barford getting going. That’s the big thing IMO. He’s just too important not to be playing a lot of minutes, he single handily stopped us from getting blown out in the first half. Things could have got ugly.
Also, Watkins, I’ve said this in several threads, people are probably tired of me saying it, but his offense is a real liability I don’t care what his stat lines look like, he can’t shoot at all. As a 6’3 guard, as a senior, he’s gotta be able to make a 1 and 1 and hit open 15 footers every once in a while, plain and simple. I wouldn’t have him out there if we’re struggling on offensive end, soon as he went to bench we went on a run. Teams just clog the lane when he’s out there.