When I fell asleep last night, I was ready to rip Poythress apart in this post today, comparing him to Daniel Orton, etc…but after a night to sleep on it (and after reading this from Jay), I’ve decided to take a little different turn. Because, you see, the frustration with Poythress is not that he’s terrible, but that he is woefully underachieving by our super high expectations and his super high ceiling. But neither of those things are THE problem with this team. I mean, AP was 2/3 and 3/4 for 7 Points and 6 Boards, but why only 3 shots? He’s gotta do more.
The problems with this team are two-fold: 1.) Players who can be MORE dominant are NOT, and 2.) These Cats can not run their O against a good zone.
You see, most of us are quick to lambaste Alex Poythress for not being assertive enough or aggressive enough or having a VW motor in a Hummer body, but he isn’t the only one. For example, in the game against Vandy, Nerlens Noel was 6/8 for 13 points and had 7 Rebounds Those are solid numbers to be sure, but when our team is struggling, and he obviously couldn’t be stopped in the post, HE has to step up his game in the way we expect of Poythress. Noel can do more. Much more. A lot of people compare him to AD from last year’s team and how AD didn’t have to take up much of the scoring but Noel must because Lamb, Jones, and Miller aren’t coming back folks. It seems like this team is content letting many players have minimal impact offensively when this team isn’t tooled for that to be a successful combination. The same can be said about WCS and his Offensive impact. He was only 3/5 for 7 Points but had 8 Boards and 4 Assists. That’s a solid game for him but he can do more. He has to understand that. To be fair, WCS is coming on VERY strong over the past few games so maybe he will get there soon.
Harrow has worked his ass off just to get in shape and get comfortable with the Offense and become the vocal leader on this team and it is paying HUGE dividends. He took the second most shots (13) on a team with 3 Lottery Picks in 2013 and maybe 4. He is not likely a Lotto pick so can anyone explain to me why the big guns aren’t stepping up like this? Is it because they don’t have the work ethic? Same sense to prove themselves worthy of wearing the Blue and White or because, as I said last night while tweeting with my friend @catfangeorge about possible Poythress issues, perhaps they realize they’re 2013 Lottery Picks regardless if they win a title or not. Or even play well for that matter since the NBA is a potential driven league.
And as for playing against a zone, I’m not a coach but I’ve always been told there are three ways to break a zone: 1.) Shoot them out of it, 2.) Feed the monsters down low, or 3.) Run a motion Offense. So there’s that. I’m not sure what combination of anything will help them get over the shell shock when teams pop into 2-3 Zone but if that’s all it takes to get this NBA roster rattled to the point they throw enough bricks to build a pyramid…it’s going to be a long season because EVERY team will throw that on us.
The Bottom Line is this: For all the grief we give Poythress, all the Cats, save for Harrow and Goodwin, MUST be more aggressive on the Offensive end.
These domesticated cats better find their inner Wildcat fast or we can kiss any NCAA Tourney run goodbye.