Red-White observations

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Starring Gafford, Jones, Hall, Macon and the 4s, with some other stuff mixed in.

Good comments on Macon but nothing on Barford.
His box score looked pretty good. What did you think of his play?

Great review. Thanks. Sounds like we are going to need scorers. Was hoping that even though we don’t have “shooters” coming in, we had increased our over talent level and that would include better overall shooting. Doesn’t seem to be the case. That said, do you think Jones is for real and can step into the role of a dependable scorer??

Barford had 14 on 6-11 FG, 2-4 3PT. 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 steals.

He was pretty laid back overall, something a few others who were there also noticed. It was essentially a scrimmage and I don’t think he went all out, but I’m not concerned about that at all.

He did exert himself a few times. Had a nice coast-to-coast dunk in semi-transition. Both of his 3s were open and he did a good job setting his feet, something he told me after he’s really worked on because that was a big part of his NBA feedback he got in the spring.

Mike’s teams are generally really good on offense and they’ll play in transition a lot, which will help, but scoring in the halfcourt will be interesting. Obviously Jaylen, Daryl and (to a lesser extent) Anton can create their own shot and shots for others, but that’s about it. Trey’s passing will be big. Dustin needs to step up in that regard, average like 2 assists per game.

I think shooting is a legitimate question mark. Darious continuing to improve/hone his shot will be so important, because I think he plays a lot and they need his defense and versatility.

I definitely think C.J. will be one of the top 4-5 scorers on the team. The floor for him is 7.5 per, which would be disappointing to me. I think it’s more likely he’s between 9-11. He’s got a nice shot and can hit the pull-up

The takeaways for me based on the reporting is that Gafford-Jones-Hall should fill a lot of the holes left by Kingsley-Hannahs-Watkins in an almost one-to-one correspondence. They won’t completely fill those holes, especially early, but with expected improvements from Bailey and the seniors a step back looks less likely than it might have.

On offense I would say my biggest concern at the moment is ironically replacing Dusty’s penchant for creating a shot for himself in the lane or getting fouled. He was really good at that, especially when the O was bogging down at critical times. Hopefully Macon and Barford will be able to take over that role. Macon excelled in that regard last season as well. This team may also compensate by hitting the offensive glass with more size and athleticism on the court. I also believe that Thompson’s ability to pull a big out of the lane and make great decisions with the ball will be important in games that grind into a halfcourt slog.

Beard is probably going to be a solid mid-30’s arc shooter, and Macon will be one of the better perimeter shooters in the nation. Jones would appear to have high 30’s+ potential. I expect Barford to be improved from the perimeter. I don’t expect arc shooting to be a limiting factor on the O. Anything we get from Thompson, Thomas, and Hall from the arc should be gravy, not that I wouldn’t very much like to see what CMA could do with a quality stretch four.

I’m sure, as always, that we’ll see a ton of combos from twin towers to small ball as we matchup in different situations. However, for base lineups I’m intrigued that possibly we’re much better on the baseline/wing than anybody is expecting. Two hockey lines of Thompson-Bailey-Jones and Gafford-Thomas-Hall are perhaps complementary combinations in terms of rebounding, shooting, ballhandling, and all-court defense. I’m getting more optimistic that we’ll be better on D despite losing Kingsley and Watkins. If we get solid two-way play out of the forwards…

The lineup versatility is really intriguing. Writing about it for next week. Mike will have a lot of options. How he staggers Barford and Macon will be very interesting to track. I expect at least one of them to be in the game at all times, but Beard and Thompson had better be on the court together if not.

I also think Jaylen will be a better shooter. He and I actually talked about how his percentage went down as a result of all the late-clock bail-out shots he took. Cutting those down with better early offense should get him into the low 30s without accounting for improvement and he’s been working on the shot all offseason because his NBA feedback was largely focused on that.

Daryl, C.J., Anton and Jaylen are capable shooters, but the rest of the team may not take more than 3 attempts per game. It’s something the staff is aware of. They’d like a stretch 4, like you mentioned. Obviously they had that with Perry until that went sideways. Not to get back into that whole deal, but wow, watching last night I couldn’t help but think he and Gafford together would’ve been an incredible tandem. They’d have perfectly complimented each other. (My bad for bringing it up)