As I wait for it to get a little warmer outside, I had some time to look at a few things, particularly at conference play, since the non-conference was so atypical.
In league play, we gave away about 7 possessions per game on offensive rebounding differential and turnover differential. That undid basically everything we did well.
The good news is the two leaders in turnovers are presumably leaving (though G Williams led in TO/40 min). The bad news is so is the leading rebounder by far, but Carlyle was also the low man in rebounders. So we don’t need to find a 9 rpg guy, we need to find two guys that can average 7.5 reb/40 min. Cue the “replace in the aggregate” scene from Moneyball.
One thing that really changed in conference play is the role of Jalen Williams. For the full season, he averaged 2.3 assists and 4.1 free throw attempts. In league play, he was at 3. 1 apg and 5.3 FT/pg. He basically became the point guard in all but name. That was a big adjustment that was made during the season.
Justice has throughout his career been a very ball-secure player. Having him for more games in the league certainly would have helped. But does he play the 3 or the 4? The answer might make a big difference in the season.
Pipes doesn’t figure to be either a big help or a big harm to ball control, and of course he does add outstanding shooting and should be a big upgrade to offensive efficiency over Carlyle (the worst starter in off eff by some distance). Relying on freshmen might lead to some turnovers, but it’s important to be better in that area.
Djuricic might help in both areas. He was not quite as good a rebounder as Vrankic (9.5 reb/40 in 2019-20) but with improvements elsewhere, is certainly decent. And he had a positive assist/turnover and averaged just 1.1 turnovers/40. That would be a big improvement over any SCU big. And he can stretch the defense (36% from 3 on 5.0 3 attempts/40). If his 20 mpg numbers can be extended to 30 mpg, he could be very good.
If I was looking to add something else, it would probably be another big to make it easier to play Justice as a 3, Djuricic as 4, and either Caruso or new guy as 5, with new guy ideally able to play 4 or 5. Maybe that guy is in the recruiting class. Hard to say about that.
We are also presumably replacing Mitchell’s bench production as well, which was as a shooter quite good, and as anything else not as much (decent rebounder but not good enough for a 4). Likely either a freshman or transfer, no one on the current roster looks likely.
And now it’s warm enough to bike without a jacket. I’m gone. Hope this is informative to someone.