Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Helping Fix Southern Utah's Offense

As things currently stand, Southern Utah is the worst offensive team in the country, and possibly the worst team in the country.

Here are some stats against Division I opponents:
- The Thunderbirds are scored 0.84 points per possession, last in the NCAA. The second lowest mark is New Hampshire at 0.87 PPP.
- SUU is shooting 36.1% on two-point FG attempts, again last in the country. The second lowest mark is Howard, at 38.1%. The lowest mark last season was Grambling State, at 38.4%.
- They have a 22.9 TO Rate, which is 339th (out of 351) in the NCAA.
- They rebound 24.6% of their misses, which is 332nd in the nation.
- They are not very good at getting to the line, as their FTA/FGA percentage is 33.8%, 309th in the NCAA. They have shot free throws well when they have gotten to the line.

Basically, they haven't done anything well offensively this year. Their defense hasn't been much better (allowing 1.17 PPP, 345th in the country), but Rome wasn't built in a day. I thought it might be fun to look at some personnel things that could be done to potentially help the offense.

- Give Casey Oliverson all the minutes he can handle - They may be doing this already, as he has played the third most minutes on the team. He has been their best offensive player, efficiency wise, this year. He's only shot 45% on the season, but he is an excellent offensive rebounder, which is good, because there are a lot of chances to grab them. The more minutes he can play, the better.

- Tell AJ Hess to start shooting more - The sophomore guard shoots four threes a game and makes 37% of them. In this offense, he should probably be shooting from the outside even more. He has been horrific inside the arc (6/28, or 21%), but he was a 46% shooter from there last year, so I think that's a sample size issue). If I were Nick Robinson, everything would go through him.

- Give all of Chris Nsenki's minutes to other guards - Nsenki's minutes to seem to be decreasing, as he has averaged 11 minutes per game in Big Sky play. For the year, he's played 37% of the team's minutes, but he is a minus offensively. After shooting 31% from downtown last year, that's down to 3/19 this year. He's made 32% of twos, but he wasn't great in that category last year (7/17). He doesn't get to the line either. John Marshall has not been a scorer this year, but has flashed some talent as a distributor (34.7 Assist Rate).

- Juwan Major might not be ready for big minutes either - The freshman is talented and I know they like him, but he has struggled badly offensively. He is shooting about 38%, and has a 10.7 Assist Rate vs a 34.6 TO Rate.

- Look to push for easy baskets - SUU plays at a slow pace, and their average possession length of 20.2 seconds is 337th in the country. While this might be somewhat driven by personnel, with all of their young guards, they should look to push the pace as much as they can to see if any easy baskets can come.

- Have Trey Kennedy and John Marshall attack the rim relentlessly - Both of these freshman have shown an ability to draw fouls and get to the free throw line. Kennedy draws 4.9 fouls per 40 minutes, while Marshall draws 4.4 fouls per 40. Both are good foul shooters, so the more times they attack the rim and get to the line, the more good things will happen.

Here would be my starting lineup, with notes in parenthesis:
PG John Marshall (Potentially good distributor)
SG Trey Kennedy (Maybe their most talented guy. He is going to be a good Big Sky player)
SF AJ Hess (The team's best outside shooter and all-around scorer)
PF Casey Oliverson (13.2 OR%... crash the glass!)
C Jayson Cheesman (But tell him that if he shoots anything other than a dunk or layup, he's out of the game! He shoots a poor percentage, but he is solid defensively, and showed some ability as an offensive rebounder last year)


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