I really do not know where this team is now and sure am clueless about where we will be in mid March. This team has looked good at times and just plain bad at times. Let’s try to figure out where we are and guess where we will be after the SEC Tournament.
After roughly half of our games, we have some ares of strength. Gafford has continued to improve at a fast pace. His best skill is dunking from close range, both in half court and transition He is effective shooting around the basket with good post moves. His extra strength and weight make he a much better rebounder. He can make short jump shots, but he not as consistent as he will be later in his career. While I don’t expect him to be a 80% free throw percentage man, I do think that he can easily be a 65-70% shooter. He clearly is the best player on this team.
The 4 remains a big problem, especially when Adrio and Gabe are on the floor. Chaney has flashed some skill and toughness in the paint. I hope that role will change from being Gafford’s backup to playing most of the minutes at the four. When he plays, it is a plus. When Adrio or Gabe play, the 4 is a big liability.
Mason Jones has been a great surprise. He has turned into an offensive weapon. His handle is decent and his defense is pretty good. Joe is talented and can be a dangerous weapon with his smooth stroke from 3 point land. He plays pretty good defense and can handle the ball. His teammates need to set strong screens and he needs to take the open shot. Harris is a good point guard. SEC play has hurt his assist to turnovers ratio. He should be able to get that back to a good ratio as he gains SEC experience. He must improve his 3point shooting to keep his defender off him and that will let him penetrate and dish.
Sills and Embrey- Simpson have played good defense and showed flashes of being able to score in bunches. Stills can run the point and Embrey-Simpson can handle the ball. They, like the other freshmen, need SEC experience.
What does all this mean? I think at this time, the team has overachieved (Indiana, Texas A&M) and underachieved(Florida, Georgia Tech). I think that rest of our
games are tough. If they can have solid play, they could finish 9-9 in conference games. If we play like we did against Florida, they will be lucky to win more than a couple of games. The most likely outcome will be 5-6 more wins.
This team has talent. If they continue to run their offense through Gafford, they might surprise us, Jones needs to continue his excellent play. Harris gets back to a 4-1 assist turnover and can make a few more shots. Joe learns how to score off screens. And play Chaney. We could surprise, but it will take an overachieving effort by both the players and the coaching staff. WPS