Musselman: Lykes coming on at PG in recent weeks

"We have seen growth in his execution and also the pace he’s practiced with.”

On the development of transfer point guard Chris Lykes, who in Eric Musselman’s eyes has made a big jump in the last 3 weeks:

3 Likes

Question. When Muss talks about positionless basketball, but expresses his biggest concern is the PG position. How am I supposed to interpret that?

I interpret it, that we have a fantastic coach, and I’m really enjoying this ride.

GHG

I guess I’m asking for another poster smarter than me to please explain what positionless basketball is, exactly? I’m trying to better understand Muss’ coaching philosophy.

I remember a lot of throwing around of the phrase “coachspeak” just recently. LOL. :smiley:

I’m gonna take a stab at this. I think Muss wants multi-dimensional players who can play various positions, but someone has to initiate the offense and get guys in their proper spots on this team.

I think about the 1996 team as being the opposite of positionless. Kareem Reid was a fantastic point guard, but not really a great shooter. Pat Bradley was a phenomenal shooter, but definitely not a combo guard…a legit shooting guard. Derek Hood could get you 10 boards on a bad day and jump through the roof, but no one would ever call him a stretch 4. Those 3 players had well defined positions. Muss wants guys who can do a bit of everything. That’s just how I see it. Hope that helps.

2 Likes

The way I see it too Jeremy, guys who are kind of between positions but can execute both of those positions well. A guy who can beat you off the dribble, post you up, and drop a 3 is a nightmare to try and defend.

1 Like

And if you have eight 6-5 to 6-9 guys who can all do that, and play great defense, you might just take it all.

2 Likes

Positionless basketball means nobody really has a position… they are all capable of playing all over the floor which makes it very hard to defend. There are several people on this team capable of having the ball in their hands and directing the offense. What Muss wants to see out of the point guard if someone who’s looking to run the offense and get others involved and take the shot if it’s available. We have several who will take the shot first and look to pass second and that is not what he is looking for based on what he’s been talking about.

2 Likes

That he expects his guards to be able to run the point, but none of them have seemed to excel there at this time.

Positionless basketball is primarily about being able to defend multiple positions while also being able to create mismatches on offense. Two great examples from last year… J Tate was generally taller than his defender and was a mismatch around the basket but could defend players smaller or bigger than him. J Smith was big enough (strength and jumping ability helped) to guard players taller than him but he was often quicker and a mismatch for his defender. Muss said this week that those two guys’ defense may not be replaced this year. We have guys with more offensive talent than those guys but maybe not the lock-down defense those guys provided.

2 Likes

multitaskers or multidemensional players. Do what needs to be done where ever you are on the court offensively or defensively.

1 Like

You nailed it.

Right. Also I always want pure PGs. Whenever someone says he “can” play the point, I interpret that to mean that he can handle the ball but doesn’t really see the court as well and cannot manage the game tempo as well.

In other words a pure PG plays the point, whereas a combo guard “can” play the point.

In our case, Lykes and KK are pure PGs while Devo and JD are combo guards.

2 Likes

This sentence might explain what Muss is shooting for with his “positionless” basketball.

In order to play effectively in a positionless basketball system, you need players that have **multi-dimensional skills on both offense and defense.

ie “bigs” who can play the 3-4-5 spots and guards/SFs who can play the 1-2-3 spots both offensively and defensively.

Last season, Smith, Tate, and Moody were great examples of those type players. I guess we will find out if we have 3 of those players on this team. Defense is probably the most important skill needed in Muss’ system.

1 Like

I’m generally in agreement, but I don’t think Muss agrees.

His best team (sweet sixteen) at Nevada, had a 6’ 7" SF as his primary ball handler and facilitator. I think he wants a facilitator who understands the details of his offensive and defensive plans and executes those plans correctly. Tate, last season was a similar facilitator.

I believe Lykes, because of both his specific talents and limitations (height) will require Muss to use what we call a pure PG. The rest of the best 6 or 7 players will be positionless players.

1 Like

Good points. That’s why I still hope we get Black. Swiss army knives don’t grow on trees.

1 Like

Right now I think Lykes, JD, and Devo are going to get their minutes. I think minutes between Umude, Toney, J Robinson, Wade, Johnson, and Moore may be earned on the defensive end more than offense. I think Williams, because of his size will also earn minutes at the 5. Plus he has proven his ability to help on the defensive side. Vanover’s minutes will also be determined more by his ability to be an asset on defense rather than a liability. I guess I’ve covered every one except for KK. He’s competing with the three guards for minutes, but it’s possible that three of these four guards may be on the court together a lot.

I expect all 12 to get their chances in November and December. It’ll take time but they’ll figure it out.

1 Like

I gotta believe if Muss can get a quality 4 or 5 star pure PG, he will prefer that. I don’t think Muss is any different here than other coaches.

Reality is that there are not that many quality pure PGs. So coaches make do with combo guards and thru player development turn them into adequate PGs, History of Arkansas basketball is riddled with combo guards playing the point because of the inability to land quality pure PGs,

Was listening to muss on Jon rothstein’s podcast from Monday (which was 30 min well spent by the way). Muss was talking about Lykes and said he really wants him to provide a boost or spark when he checks into the game off the bench. He quickly corrected himself and said or provide a spark if starting. It made me think muss sees Lykes as a come off the bench kind of player who brings a change of pace, pick the other PG up full court, get points in a hurry kind of guy. I think he’ll play a bunch of minutes and may give us a repeat sec 6th man of yr

1 Like