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Starting PF: Andrew White

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What this tells me is Hammond will not start unless its for the opening tip. Our three and four will look the same on offense, and I could see Andrew White guarding the four on defense since he has more bulk than Shavon.

 

Were you thinking that Andrew was going to be the SG and that Tai would come off the bench?

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So what are we thinking the starting lineup will be?

 

1. Benny/Watson

2. Tai

3. Shavon

4. AW

5. Morrow?

 

Depending on how well Tai is playing and the size of the opponent I could see us rolling out a 

 

1. Watson

2. Benny

3. Shavon

4. AW

5. Morrow

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What this tells me is Hammond will not start unless its for the opening tip. Our three and four will look the same on offense, and I could see Andrew White guarding the four on defense since he has more bulk than Shavon.

 

Were you thinking that Andrew was going to be the SG and that Tai would come off the bench?

 

I just had Shavon and Andrew flipped.  They've always called Shavon a forward and Andrew White has been listed as a guard.  Shavon is also 10 pounds heavier than Andrew, so it seemed likely to me that Shavon would be the PF, Andrew would play wing and Tai and Benny would start in the back court.

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In theory playing White as a stretch 4 would open up driving lanes which plays into Shield's favor. By all accounts I have heard, White has been one of our best rebounders. The one thing that needs to happen with that lineup is Tai needs to be a credible threat from 3 or it will big things down.

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Will we ever see a lineup without Watson or Benny and who is the point guard/point forward then? Bakari? Someone else?

Tai started at point his first 2 years here.  His defense is not quite as good as Benny's but still pretty good.  He has better size to drive the ball.  And he's probably a better shooter as well.  If he's not playing SG, he could play point in a pinch.

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In theory playing White as a stretch 4 would open up driving lanes which plays into Shield's favor. By all accounts I have heard, White has been one of our best rebounders. The one thing that needs to happen with that lineup is Tai needs to be a credible threat from 3 or it will big things down.

 

Tai is a career 20% 3pt shooter. There should be no lineup/configuration that is dependent on him being a 3pt threat.

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In theory playing White as a stretch 4 would open up driving lanes which plays into Shield's favor. By all accounts I have heard, White has been one of our best rebounders. The one thing that needs to happen with that lineup is Tai needs to be a credible threat from 3 or it will big things down.

That's a good point about White and rebounding.  During the limited scrimmage, he certainly appeared to be somewhat of a beast on the boards.  And having him come out to set high ball screens sets him up for the pick and pop.

 

I agree also that we need a deep threat at the SG spot.

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Will we ever see a lineup without Watson or Benny and who is the point guard/point forward then? Bakari? Someone else?

Tai started at point his first 2 years here.  His defense is not quite as good as Benny's but still pretty good.  He has better size to drive the ball.  And he's probably a better shooter as well.  If he's not playing SG, he could play point in a pinch.

 

 

He did get moved to SG last year but he definitely is capable in a pinch. We could roll out quite the zone defense with Tai as our PG and filling in the rest with 6'6"+ guys

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What this tells me is Hammond will not start unless its for the opening tip. Our three and four will look the same on offense, and I could see Andrew White guarding the four on defense since he has more bulk than Shavon.

 

For some time now, I have not heard great things about Hammond's toughness.  It would not surprise me to see Fuller play down in the post over Hammond.  Putting White at PF would make sense based upon what I have been told from an offensive standpoint.  I could see McVeigh stretching the floor allowing White to make plays.

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The concern with "going small" will be on the defensive end of the court.  I think we can create match up issues on offense, but defending the post will obviously be an issue.  Coach Miles will probably have to mix in more zone this year to keep teams off balance and will have to have a great deal of ball pressure on the perimeter when we are man to prevent easy entry into the post. Might even see a little more full court stuff.  

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In theory playing White as a stretch 4 would open up driving lanes which plays into Shield's favor. By all accounts I have heard, White has been one of our best rebounders. The one thing that needs to happen with that lineup is Tai needs to be a credible threat from 3 or it will big things down.

 

Tai is a career 20% 3pt shooter. There should be no lineup/configuration that is dependent on him being a 3pt threat.

 

In fairness to Tai, everyone was pretty bad last year shooting from deep.  I think it was a team-wide funk and I think there was a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that contributed to the malaise in the program that most people not affiliated with the program might not realize.  There were some pretty big egos coming back from 2 seasons ago and a couple of them were incompatible. 

 

The first chinks in the armor that I noticed were Walt's self-pitying tweets after the NCAA tourney loss about not getting the ball.  I've been told by a very reliable source (who, for information about Petteway, falls into my first category of sources, if you remember what those were) and he's said that Petteway couldn't stand Pitchford.  I've also been told that Shavon wasn't particularly fond of Terran, either.

 

The players have made comments this year that have been quoted in the paper that give one a strong sense that there was a lot of dissension in the ranks last year, and our shooting numbers from a year ago seem to show it.

 

So, looking at Tai's career numbers:  We know, as a freshman, his confidence took a hit during the season.  He went from being nearly a double-figure scorer during the first third of the season to practically not scoring at all in the last third.  Which is about the opposite of what you'd expect for a player -- you'd think they'd get better as their freshman season went along.

 

Last year, we were in a team-wide funk where no one was shooting very well (as I've detailed above) and still Tai improved his shooting percentage by 6 points from his freshman year.

 

Tai was actually much better as a 3-point threat last year than Shavon.  And Shavon had been at least a reliable threat from deep in his two seasons before that.

 

So CAN Tai turn it around and become a threat from deep?  Oh, absolutely.  Will he?  I have no idea.  But I suspect the coaches do.  And, FWIW, Tai has seemed a lot more confident and playing within himself in the action I've seen since last season -- both in Spain and at the scrimmage here.  So, take it for what it's worth, but I'm not ready to kick Tai to the curb.  I still think he can be a pretty good player for us.

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So what are we thinking the starting lineup will be?

1. Benny/Watson

2. Tai

3. Shavon

4. AW

5. Morrow?

I am one who hopes Miles just goes with Watson as starting PG from the get go. Live through the ups and downs of having a freshman point guard and get Benny back to his come off the bench spark plug/stabilizer role. We know what Benny's ceiling is. Watson's is obviously much higher. We've heard that Watson's defense may be lacking some but that's when you bring in Energizer Benny to crank up the defense or to stabilize things if Watson starts turning the ball over. We don't gain anything by starting Benny. Not a knock on Benny, he's earned his, but he's just better off the bench.

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I've never understood why White is listed as a guard.  He's 6'7",  relatively slow and can't dribble. Almost nothing about him says guard to me. Not sure about PF either though.  Sure it can work on offense, but defense is always the issue in these small ball arrangements. 

 

Pace of play is also a huge question this year.  Small ball is usually predicated on a fast pace, but there has been no indication that Miles wants to play with pace, and we all know Molinari's philosophy (he had the slowest pace of play in all of basketball before he came here).  My guess would be that Miles will come out early in the season experimenting with a faster pace but after a few transition defense breakdowns and high scoring games (losses?), we will see things slow down as the year progresses.

 

 

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The concern with "going small" will be on the defensive end of the court.  I think we can create match up issues on offense, but defending the post will obviously be an issue.  Coach Miles will probably have to mix in more zone this year to keep teams off balance and will have to have a great deal of ball pressure on the perimeter when we are man to prevent easy entry into the post. Might even see a little more full court stuff.  

Yep.  We've never been much for offensive rebounds under Miles anyway, so big, small, medium, whatever, isn't going to make a big difference for us on the offensive glass.  And, it's never really been our style under Miles to try to score points in the paint by a post-entry to a big man.  Usually, our points in the paint come from penetration.  So, again, playing small doesn't really affect that.  Going small might actually allow us to exploit some match-up issues against the other team when we're on offense.

 

But even with a 6'10" guy with great leaping ability last year, we got used in the paint by teams.  Remember the second half against Creighton?  Remember Indiana?  They just used Walter like he was a cheap slut.  I don't know how we're worse off throwing Andrew White and Ed Morrow out there, but that's probably a big part of why we went 13-18 last year.  (The other big part was we couldn't shoot for crap and hopefully that has been rectified.)

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I've never understood why White is listed as a guard. He's 6'7", relatively slow and can't dribble. Almost nothing about him says guard to me. Not sure about PF either though. Sure it can work on offense, but defense is always the issue in these small ball arrangements.

Pace of play is also a huge question this year. Small ball is usually predicated on a fast pace, but there has been no indication that Miles wants to play with pace, and we all know Molinari's philosophy (he had the slowest pace of play in all of basketball before he came here). My guess would be that Miles will come out early in the season experimenting with a faster pace but after a few transition defense breakdowns and high scoring games (losses?), we will see things slow down as the year progresses.

I think there were indications during the Spain trip that we'd like to (can) get up and down the floor and score it a bit more. Hopefully with improved offensive talent we can get away from some of that stagnant ball and those grind it out games. I think we go back to the way Miles wants to play defense a bit more this year. Certainly keeping some of Coach Mo's principles but a whole lot more trapping to create turnovers. You know, GATA.

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So what are we thinking the starting lineup will be?

1. Benny/Watson

2. Tai

3. Shavon

4. AW

5. Morrow?

I am one who hopes Miles just goes with Watson as starting PG from the get go. Live through the ups and downs of having a freshman point guard and get Benny back to his come off the bench spark plug/stabilizer role. We know what Benny's ceiling is. Watson's is obviously much higher. We've heard that Watson's defense may be lacking some but that's when you bring in Energizer Benny to crank up the defense or to stabilize things if Watson starts turning the ball over. We don't gain anything by starting Benny. Not a knock on Benny, he's earned his, but he's just better off the bench.

 

I agree 100%, but I won't believe it until I see it.  Miles has almost always chosen defense over offense in these types of situations in his past 3 years here.

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I've never understood why White is listed as a guard.  He's 6'7",  relatively slow and can't dribble. Almost nothing about him says guard to me. Not sure about PF either though.  Sure it can work on offense, but defense is always the issue in these small ball arrangements. 

Relatively slow, can't dribble, can't play guard, can't play power forward.

 

Sounds like we should bring him in off the bench in garbage time.  He can take the place of Trevor Menke, maybe.  :rolleyes:

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