This is the first of a three part series on BYU guards. The second part will come after 20 games have been played and the third installment will come at the end of the season. To read a statistical analysis of the BYU big men so far this season go here.
BYU started this season will a lot of question marks at the forward and center positions but things seemed pretty solid along the guard line. The lingering question of how well Chase Fischer would fill in for the departed “Matty basketball” remains, while the question regarding how Kyle Collinsworth would be completed healed from his off-season ACL surgery has definitely been answered. All things considered, the BYU guard line has started the 2014-15 looking pretty good. There never were any questions as to who would start (Haws, Collinsworth, Fischer), but as always Dave Rose is testing out dozens of different playing combinations before BYU gets into league play. Expect this to continue for the next several weeks.
Who is Running the Point?
BYU’s high octane offense is averaging 90 points a game, top in the league. But who is running the offense? This was perhaps the biggest positional question mark going into the season. Collinsworth and Winder both returned from last season with some experience running the offense but it was widely assumed that they would step aside so Chase Fischer could run the point. Fischer has been praised for his leadership abilities—even being named a team captain before even playing a game for the Cougars—but unfortunately he has not yet shown he is a deserving captain of the on-court offense. So Rose still has some decisions to make. If he wants a PG that can dish then he should go with Collinsworth. If he wants a PG that plays defense then he probably wants Collinsworth. If he wants a PG that can score and rebound then he wants Collinsworth. But If Rose wants a PG to perfectly replace Matty basketball (streaky, inconsistent, but occasionally amazing) then he definitely should stick with Fischer.
The following graph shows all the major offensive and defensive production numbers through the first 11 games. BYU is a freakishly good shooting team, with the top shooter being Anson Winder (.554 and .463 from three) while Skyler Halford in limited touches has seen the greatest digression (.368, .333). As a guard line they are shooting 48.1% from the field, 42.2% from downtown, and 80.3% from the line. Last season the guard line averaged 44.7%, 35.6%, and 72.2% so the shooting percentages are up considerably in all three categories, but most noticeably from behind the three-point arc. The Cougars are also on pace to shoot 40% more threes than last season (or 200 more total by season end).
|Frank Bartley IV||11||6.2||1.6||1.4||1.5||0.5||0.2||0.6||.500||.500||.000|
So the guards are shooting incredibly well. None more so than potential All-American Tyler Haws who has seen improved production despite less minutes. But he is still getting plenty of minutes. What if every player was playing Haws-level minutes? The table below shows the PER 40 for each player based on their production thus far. These numbers are inherently flawed because garbage minutes are usually filled with players simply dribbling out the clock so those with fewer minutes thus far this season should have lower P40 numbers than those with more significant playing time.
|Frank Bartley IV||68||.155||8.8||9.4||2.9||1.2||2.9||4.1||10.6|
*440 total minutes so far, 11 games
Tyler Haws has amazingly improved over last season in every statistical category except minutes, steals, and turn overs. In three less minutes per game he is averaging a 0.7 more rebounds, 0.9 more assists, and 0.6 more points over last season while taking less shots. Clearly his decision to shoot more threes was a good one. That he is so improved over last season is especially impressive given he was the WCC player of the year and an All-America honorable mention. Hopefully his ankle sprain does not keep him out for long. Stock rising.
Kyle Collinsworth was a big question mark coming into the season because of his ACL surgery. He was eased into action over the first few games but quickly showed that he is 110% back—literally. His P40 line is insane with 17.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 3.2 steals. Those are NBA all-star type numbers. Currently he is averaging six less minutes than last season but his shooting numbers are similar in percentages and points scored. His off-season free throw work is paying of as he has gone from a .576 free throw shooter to .723. He is averaging more assists, blocks, and steals in few minutes, and more in every other single statistical category when you factor in the P40. Stock rising.
Chase Fischer is averaging twice the minutes he got at Wake Forest but his statistics reveal that he is performing at almost exactly the same level he was two years ago. He has shown slight improvement in scoring and assists but he has been pretty much as advertised. Further, he suffers from Matty basketball syndrome as he’ll go off for 10 three pointers in 23 minutes one game and then go 2 for 11 in 38 minutes the next. Stock falling.
Anson Winder is getting 10 more minutes per game than he was last season, and he has earned every additional minute (and more). He is improved in every statistical category except free throw percentage and turnovers. His shooting percentages are top on the team and he is getting more rebounds than every big man not named Austin. His P40 line of 20.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.1 steals are pretty stellar for a sixth man. Don’t expect him to be coming off the bench for long. Stock rising.
Skyler Halford is getting two fewer minutes per game this season. His shooting percentage is down six percent (to 36.8%). He is averaging 1.6 more assists per game this season but two fewer points. He is basically the same player he was last season and I expect he will continue to be used sparingly for the rest of his BYU career. He does bring some defensive intensity but not enough to mitigate his low shooting percentages on offense. Stock falling.
Frank Bartley IV has seen few minutes this season despite improving his shooting percentage from 37 to 50% and increasing his assists from 0.7 to 1.5 per game. He brings positive energy off the bench but in such limited minutes it is hard to tell how much of an impact he is actually making. Stock maintained.
Jake Toolson has shown glimpses of his potential in his limited time this season. His 53.3% three point shooting will likely drop with more shots, but he definitely has a great outside shot. He probably will not get a chance to shine this season but does have a bright future as a Cougar. Stock rising.
Jordan Ellis has not really played and probably will stay on the bench for the rest of the season. Stock falling.
BYU Insider Conclusions and Recommendations
BYU’s guards are really good this year and if they stay healthy and the bigs develop than the Cougs might do some real damage in the post season. Haws and Collinsworth have cemented their roles as starters and significant minute getters. Winder makes a good case to replace Fischer as a starter although he’s already getting starter-type minutes so bringing him in off the bench might simply be a strategic move by Rose. After the big three (Haws, Collinsworth, Winder) BYU is pretty shallow in the depth pool. Fischer can be an instant offense guy, sometimes, as can Halford. And Bartley and Toolson certainly show potential. If one or two of those four can step up and give consistent production than BYU should be in great shape.
First third MVP: Kyle Collinsworth
First third most improved: Anson Winder