I keep reading that Whitt is a great driver. His stats don’t exactly bear that out. For one thing his FTA rate is low, significantly lower than Harris’, and much lower than what you would expect from an ace driver. He may avoid contact because of lack of confidence at the line, where he was no more accurate than Gafford the last two years. His FG% at the rim is almost identical to Harris’, which is solid but not exceptional. Where Whitt stands out on O is a very high 2-pt jumper FG% on a high number of attempts.
Having a guy in your offense that can help your team score efficiently in the midrange is a big advantage for three-level versatility. However, at the end of close games you want a PG like Macon that can seek contact and knock down FTs. Harris would still appear to be our best option there, though Jones was underrated as a driver last year and our best clutch player. Hopefully Joe will continue to improve his off-the-dribble game. It was significantly better by March than in November, when it was almost non-existent. Sills also has upside potential as a driver.
Just so you are aware, Harris shot only .615 on his free throws in SEC games, barely above Gafford at .590. Jones, at 80% and Joe at 76% were our only consistent free throw shooters in SEC play. IF he can improve his ball handling, Jones would be our best bet at end of games. We had no one, other than Gafford and Chaney, that were great 2 point shooters. Jones at 49% was better than Joe (44%) and Harris (40%) though. Jones would need to show marked improvement on his ball handling though before I’d completely trust him with the ball in his hands at the end of a close game. As you mentioned, maybe Sills can become that guy. As freshmen, he and Joe should make the biggest improvements this next season.
There’s also a chance that the “guy” to handle the ball at the end of close games may not be on last season’s roster?
I’m aware that Harris shot only 62% from the line in SEC play. However, he shot 75% as a frosh overall and 79% in the Mountain West. He shot 81% in nonconferense last year. What happened in SEC play looks like the anomaly. Harris played 32 minutes a game in nonconference and took a lot of hard falls on drives and and block attempts along the way. I was wondering if he could last all season back in December. I think he got worn down physically and mentally and lost some confidence, which affected his shooting from everywhere. Fans are too quick to dismiss him IMO. I suspect he is solidly still the best pure PG on the team.
Jones had solid ballhandling numbers for a wing. In fact, in SEC play his assist rate was as good as Sills’ with a lower TO rate. He’s the guy that made plays with the ball in his hands in the few close games that we won. He has quickness limitations, but he was definitely clutch.
I’m still amazed that Jones almost single-handedly beat UF in BWA when he scored 30 efficiently while the rest of the team was almost 0-fer. In SEC play his arc shooting slumped, too. Deep into conference Joe was the only player shooting above 30% from the arc, which is why we slumped as a team. Jones recovered to get his average above 34% in SEC play. Sills caught fire too at the end of the season in the last five conference games, but he had a fourth as many attempts as Jones in SEC play. Not sure what to expect from Sills on O. His defense is excellent, and he has definitely shown upside on O. I’m just not sure how sustainable his shooting was at the end of the season, but I like his attitude.
Harris a pure PG, Whitt is a combo guard. That should answer all the questions. It is the difference between “he plays PG” and "he can play PG’.
I expect Harris to make the biggest improvement from last year to this year. If his shot starts falling, he has all the skills needed to be one of the better PGs in the SEC. That is where it was headed before the coaching change. I don’t expect that to change.
Whitt came to Arkansas with a reputation of a slasher. During his one year at Arkansas, he did a lot of slashing but seemed to pull up for a midrange rather than drive all the way to the hoop. From your analysis, that hasn’t changed.
As Harley points out Harris’s FT% was low to trust him with the ball in hands late in the game. Unfortunately, Whitt’s FT% is even lower.
Also, it’s quite possible that CEM doesn’t believe a “true” PG is a necessity for his offense. His last 2 years at Nevada, his leading assist man (Cody Martin) was a 6’7" forward who was a good 3 point shooter. He may see quick multiple passing in his pace and space system to be more important than a penetrating off the dribble PG.
CEM has mentioned publicly that he plans to play Joe at the PG some this season. He may see Joe as this team’s Cody Martin, a very good shooter & passer with good court vision. With Joe’s scoring ability, he may prove to be a combination of Cody and Caleb.
I’m getting excited already just discussing the possibilities for this basketball season. We just need Blackshear to jump on board now as the finishing touch to a possible great basketball team.
Draymond Green is a great PG he pushes tempo and the offense as good as any. I have no idea what a true PG is, haven’t seen one is a long time, at least not one that people think of as a true PG.
I think it’s something from the past people try to hang on to.
A pace and space offense doesn’t need a traditional PG. Is Steph Curry a traditional PG? No. He penetrates and passes, sure, but Green passes more than Steph does. He leads them in assists by a wide margin as a 4.
Wasn’t a shot, I just don’t think true PG or traditional PG exists as we once knew it or mean it to be anymore. That type of PG left the game a long time ago. Anybody and everybody brings the ball down now and the offense runs itself. Especially in uptempo settings. The offensive system is the PG, not a particular positional player most of the time. Not anymore. Drive and shoot game, it’s not a called play game as much anymore as it is a make a play game.
Kinda funny this PG topic has come up, I just heard this talked about somewhere recently in one of the Play-off games or ESPN about a coach threatening his team during the game during a time out, ‘ You guys start running the offense or I’m going to start calling plays’
I was rolling laughing, wish I could remember who said it.
But the story of it is, run the playmaking system, I don’t want to have to call plays, we are not near as good if I do. We are way better if you guys use your talents making plays.
I don’t see a Draymond Green on this team. He is the point forward for Golden State on their best lineup. Also, when you have three of the most dangerous perimeter players who have ever played the game, a lot of schemes will work. We aren’t going to have the luxury of a big talent or athletic advantage against the SEC next season. Quite frankly Nevada’s lack of ballhandling hurt them against UF. I noticed it when I had no idea CEM would be on our sideline next year. They only had 4 assists to 14 TOs against UF.
I personally think Harris is important for next season. He can get around defenders and has excellent vision. We need him to make a few shots, but hopefully he will have a better opportunity to take advantage of his driving ability next season in an offense that doesn’t have a post player parked at the basket.
Mayberry, Beck, Reid, and Durham were all pure PGs. There is a pretty wide variance in their shooting ability.
No point forward for us I don’t think? Point being many or almost any can get us into our offensive system. That’s the beauty of today’s game, not really a need to wait around on one positional guy. It’s a system game, not a play calling game. It hasn’t been a play calling game in decades. Which to me is why this is so funny every time it’s brought up.