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December 17, 2012

Men's basketball: It is time to panic

A few weeks back, PWD suggested we wait until at least after the Tech game for a freak out on the hoops program. His reasoning was that there were some games that we could win and that having Donte back into the line up might make a difference from the very blah efforts we saw on the court early on. He suggested that 3-5 or worse after Tech would spell the time to panic. We were 2-6.

Well, I decided to wait until now.

I thought we showed some promise after the Brooklyn games against Indiana and UCLA. While we know Indiana is the real deal, UCLA is in at least as big a crap pile of blah as we are. In horse racing parlance, we 'challenged gamely, faded late' in both games. Is giving a strong Indiana all they could handle for 37 minutes going to be the high point of Georgia's basketball season?

What is going right?
Well, for one, we have one of the most dangerous scorers in the nation, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, on the team. KCP is averaging  17.3 ppg, which puts him in the top 100 in the nation. We are also playing very good defense. Currently, we are ranked 69th in scoring defense, even with the 81 point debacle to Iona in overtime.  We've held every team but Iona to below their season scoring average, including holding Indiana, who is leading the nation in scoring, to more than 20 points below their season ppg total.

So defense is a bright spot.

What is going wrong?
The rest of the team is scoring 41.7 ppg. We are 309th in the nation in scoring. We are 298th in FG%. We are 270th in FG attempted. We are 280th in 3pt%. We are 287th in FT%. We are 297th in True Shooting percentage (measure of efficiency that takes into account 3pt attempts, FT attempts and FG attempts). We are 295th in possessions per game. We are 285th in points per possesion.

To put it bluntly, we don't take many shots and don't have enough possessions. When we do take shots, we don't take good shots, and we don't do a good job of putting them in the hole. Even the free ones. I'd love to say that is all Fox's offense (of which, in theory, I am a fan of), and I believe part of it is. The other part is that we either aren't working enough on opportunities for the high percentage shots when they come (which is coaching) or we don't have players that can execute the offense as it is drawn up (which is coaching and recruiting).

It is time.
Our offense is one dimensional, especially when Donte isn't on the floor: get the ball to KCP and let him shoot it.  He is taking nearly 30% of all of Georgia's shots. We have a big man, Neme, who is taking over 1/3 of his shots outside the arch. He is hitting under 19% of those shots. When we can find a place for Donte underneath, he has been shooting a solid 59%. Regretfully, he is only taking about 6 shots per game. I don't think it is hard to see that the offense isn't getting multiple looks or good looks, nor are the players converting the opportunities they are being given.

Either way, that is at the foot of one man.

Any cause for hope?
The only cause I have is the defense. We aren't going to make the post season this year. Hell, we probably aren't going to win more than 6-8 games. However, if there is any chance we will make some sort of miracle run, it'll be due to the defense. Yes, we have to shoot the ball better.

Also, we have some promise in Morris and Mann. How much is yet to be seen. Other than Donte's maddening ability to collect three fouls in the first three minutes of every second half, he's been the solid big man we've been hoping to see. Either Neme has to be toughened up for the American game, either through coaching or a code red, or he needs to be put on the bench. As an aside, Neme is one of my favorite players, but when you are 5-27 from 3pt range, you should be coached to throw the ball out of bounds before shooting from the perimeter.

Look, I like Mark Fox. The players seem to like him and he has shown some promise in coaching. However, we are on a boat that is approaching the falls and unless he can find some big oars and some people to pull them and soon, it is going over the cataract. I don't want to think about the coaching search that we'll have to deal with, but the fact is we are going to have to think about it absent some very big changes.



Unknown said...

I think the defensive stats are inflated in our favor due to the offensive pace.

JJBA said...

I witnessed a lot of bad basketball in person during the Felton era. Right now the product on the floor is as bad as I've witnessed at Georgia.

Stevie Buckets said...

Paul is absolutely right. The pace we play keeps games low scoring. That's not a bad thing, though. If we are to win games this year, we will have to win them ugly.

Reason for optimism? Umm...let's see. You change one play (take your pick) or even just hit a few free throws in two of the losses, and you're 4-5. That's about the best I can do.

I will say, though, that I like what Morris and Mann are doing the last couple games. I want to see less of Nemi (I was really optimistic about him this year, but he is just not getting it) and more of Morris, and I want to see less of Williams (solid, but he has hit a ceiling) and more of Mann.

One final thought: it will sound crazy given the stat you cited above, but I want KCP to shoot more. He is, by far, our best (all around) player, and he needs to be more selfish.

Anonymous said...

Ok the new mobile format sucks. Slow,slow,slow, and can't see your links to GTP, etc.

Tony Waller said...


Not sure if that is a bug or a feature. Right now it is a feature. Annon 2:25 is right. If we are to win, it'll be like the Butler v. UConn national championship game, not like UNLV/Duke.

Pace is the only reason we aren't losing games 100-75.

Tony Waller said...

Annon 2:25,

While I agree we need to find more places for KCP to take shots, doing so from 28 feet with 3 seconds on the shot clock isn't what I have in mind.

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