The Spain trip can be used as an early barometer for this upcoming 2015-16 season, giving us some indication of who will play and how productive they might be. Note that these games were played against talent inferior to WCC competition, but better than some of the other pre-season “barometer” games and scrimmages. The following tables show the players four game averages for the trip.
Playing Time and Shooting numbers
It seems clear that Fischer, Collinsworth, Davis, and Kaufusi will see significant minutes this season and most likely will start most games. Fischer and Collinsworth are returning starters and I expect them to lead the team. Kaufusi has shown marked progress over last season and may supplant Nate Austin as the starting center. Nick Emery and Jamal Aytes both had fewer minutes than I expected, while Chatman had considerably more. I would guess that Rose is easing Emery in, as he is post-mission and coming off an injury. We know that Aytes was held out due to injury concerns (also easing him back into things). Jordan performed well, earning the minutes he got.
One of the shooting statistics that jumps out to me as a major positive is the three point percentages for Kyle Davis, Jamal Aytes, Corbin Kaufusi, and Nate Austin (the post players). As a group they went 0-0 (.000) from beyond the arc. I appreciate having a big that “can” step out and knock down threes, but much prefer having the bigs spending all their time in the post, collecting rebounds for those that should be shooting threes. I think it is no coincidence that rebounding numbers are up when bigs shooting threes goes down. Here are the rest of the game statistics.
At first glance it is interesting to note that we went 3 to 1 or better against our opponents in several statistical categories. We out assisted 71-18, out blocked 19-4, out stole 44-1, and outrebounded 46-14.5. We also out fouled 75-45 and out turned over 75-38, both roughly a 2 to 1 ratio. In stacking our players up against each other (statistically) I find it helpful to take the PER 40, rather than just the limited minutes played. There are inherent problems doing this with such a small sample size, but it’s the pre-season, so what the hay.
|NAME||% MIN PLAYED||REB||PF||AST||TO||BLK||STL||PTS|
PER 40 Statistical Leaders on Spain Trip
- Rebounds: Kaufusi (19.4), Austin (15.7), Davis (12.8), with Jamal Aytes fielding an * as he only played 20 total minutes on the trip. However, his line of 27.1 rebounds and 33 points PER 40 is encouraging—even as a very small sample—as it shows how aggressive he can be.
- Personal Fouls: Toolson (1.2), Emery (2.0), Collinsworth (2.9), holding Cooper Ainge out for lack of minutes
- Assists: Collinsworth (10.9), Seljaas (3.7), Fischer (3.5)
- Turnovers: Emery (1.5), Chatman (1.8), Austin (2.2)
- Blocks: Kaufusi (3.1), Collinsworth (1.8), Davis (1.7)
- Steals: Collinsworth (5.8), Fischer (3.9), Austin and Davis (1.7)
- Points: Fischer (27.1), Davis (20.2), Collinsworth (17.7), Chatman (17.0)
I am a little concerned that the bigs are continuing to not get blocks. While having such a low personal foul and turn-over margin is great, I’d love to see a little more aggression on the defensive side. And the whole team (sans Collinsworth and Fischer) was pretty low in the steals category. Having low numbers in blocks and steals shows a lack of aggression on the defensive side, similar to what we’ve seen in recent years. I was hopeful that Nick Emery would step in and be a defensive presence similar to his brother, but it doesn’t look like that will be the case (1.02 steals PER 40). I was also a little disappointed in Chase Fischer’s 3.48 assists PER 40 because it feels like he’s trying to fit into the Jimmer/Ty Haws “shoot only” mode. If he was as good a shooter as those two it would be o.k., but 47% from the floor and 40% from the three on this trip didn’t overly impress me. Hopefully those shooting percentages hold and he is the next Jimmer, but I’m not holding my breath. Assists in general were lower than I expected, especially considering how much shooting was done (87 PPG).
Overall, I think the numbers are encouraging. It is incredible how balanced the scoring attack was on this trip, with eight players averaging between 13-18 points per 40 minutes. Even Nate Austin has started shooting a little more. Also, the rebounding has definitely improved on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. If we can keep scoring and rebounding than the offense should continue to put up a massive amount of points like they did last season. We’re still looking for answers on the defensive side of the ball, but even there we saw encouraging play. In particular, Corbin Kaufusi has made great strides (on both offense and defense) and has become more of an inside presence. If he can get even half of his PER 40 line of 11 points, 19 rebounds, and 3 blocks we’ll be much improved down low. With the bigs pulling their weight this appears to be a much more balanced team and I think we have reason to be optimistic going into the season.