Observations w/vid (Moses jumpers, musical chairs at the 4, D issues, Clutch Barford, hot shooting)

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— More than half (10) of Moses’ 18 shots were jumpers. Hit his first 2 mid-range shots and 3 of his first 6. Missed his last 3 on some tough looks. Hit his only 3 and is 5 of 8 this year, 4 of 5 in the last 5 games. His jumper has become a much bigger part of his game lately as the Hogs cut down on his post-ups and he’s been hitting it at a decent clip when he’s balanced and has room. LSU started respecting his shot and he used that to pump fake his defender and set up a floater, which was nice to see. If he can keep hitting, that helps spacing and unclogs the paint. Obviously he still has utility as a roll man, duck-in guy and on an occasional post-up, but the extra spacing is nice.

— Dustin isn’t doing himself any favors by violating team rules. Arlando may have started regardless given how the 2 played Tuesday. Thought Arlando was solid. Trey Thompson is the 2nd-best big on the team but the results playing alongside Moses haven’t been spectacular. Really, really liked what I saw from Adrio Bailey. Had 2 good passes and was active. Easily the best athlete of the frontcourt players. Wished he could’ve gotten some run in the 2nd half. His ceiling is high.

— Lot of time spent on second-half defensive issues. LSU shot 66.7 percent. Two of the main issues were related: laziness (not getting back) and mental lapses (falling asleep, miscommunications). The press occasionally disrupted LSU and the Tigers didn’t score in the last 2:30, so maybe they ran out of gas, but it also created an avenue for them to generate shots against a defense that was scrambling fairly often. Skylar Mays was only averaging 6.3 points coming in and his career-high was 14. As someone who hadnt seen him before, that was hard to believe. He was highly impressive. Had 22 and a number of big-time plays in the pick-and-roll.

— Jaylen was huge down the stretch. Had all of his 14 in the second half and scored 5 of the Hogs’ 8 points in the final 2:39, including a big reverse layup to stretch the lead to 94-86. He had a number of tough finishes that he’s so good at. Even gave a cheerleader a high-5. With Macon so often being the go-to guy late, it was encouraging to see someone else, especially Jaylen, step up.

— Hogs hit 6-12 3s in the first half and generated some nice looks against the zone and man. Finished 8-16 after only taking 4 in the second half, including Dusty’s 30-foot swish in the final minute. Would like to see them generate more 3s. Teams haven’t been able to really run Daryl off the 3-point line yet. He’s got enough shake to free himself up for looks most of the time.

— Stray thoughts including Mike going small to close, Manny being sick but C.J. not taking advantage, the student section and more.

I’m just glad to see us finally settling in on a rotation, it took a while, but I think it’s right. I really like the starting backcourt of Beard, Macon, and Barford. All of them are solid on defense and can all score in multiple ways. It’s a good balance and allows Hannahs to come in off the bench with less pressure. And Cook probably started due to Thomas getting suspended for a half, however I’d be surprised if CMA changed it back. Everything seems to be clicking with Cook right now, and he’s been more aggressive since the mask has come off.

On a side note I Thomas is going to really have to step it up or he could see himself on the outside of the rotation, Bailey gave some good minutes yesterday. He was lost on defense a couple times, but he was very solid and active and we seemed to play well with him on the floor. Thompson is also improving, which I’m happy to see, I was worried about him regressing at the start of the season.

I was really impressed by what I saw from Adrio. Active and athletic. Mike has some interesting decisions to make between what to do with a struggling Dustin, whether to give Adrio a bigger role and how much Trey should play alongside Moses. That last one is probably the most interesting to me, because it seems clear he’s the second-best big, but is he the best fit next to Moses? Because if not, it puts them in the position of having the second-best big topping out at around 15 minutes a night.

I think around 15 MPG is where Trey needs to be, when he’s out there too long he gets tired and starts committing silly fouls. IMO, CMA has got a nice rotation going with him right now, which is him backing Moses up then playing him around 5 MPG on the floor alongside Moses, I don’t think he can squeeze too much more out of him than that. I think we’ll probably start seeing Cook playing around 20 MPG, probably dropping Dustin 10-15 MPG, and then Adrio and Thompson will get the remaining minutes at the 4 spot depending on situation.

Trey could benefit from putting an emphasis on his conditioning going into next year, for sure.

Adrio getting better and more minutes and confidence for Thompson would be great. I love TTs passing! Works wonders for our offense. So strange to see from the biggest guy on the court but he’s good at it. I would worry if he got significant minutes at the 4 how we would handle foul trouble for either him or Kingsley. Plus, I worry that TT couldn’t handle any more than 20 minutes well. He doesn’t look like he has a deep energy reserve to draw from. For some players less is more.