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I don't want this to be a slam on our best player and a lottery pick. But I'm really frustrated watching him play the post right now. He played like an old man Barkley against BC, slowly backing his man down on the blocks while everyone else stands and watches. It really disrupted the flow of the offense.
Last night, I watched some of the 2002 game against UVA (final Cole game) on my iPad while I ran on the treadmill, and the biggest thing that Lonny and Wilcox and even Tahj did effectively was make decisive moves within a beat or two of catching the ball in the post. Lonny would catch the ball and immediately pass the ball back out to a shooter or make a strong move to the basket. There was no lost movement by the other 4 players waiting to see what he would do.
This is something that Len really really needs to work on. I'm not sure if he's being coached to play more of a slow backing-down game or if its a confidence issue or what, but he needs to catch the ball in the post and immediately make a move to the basket. There is nobody who can stop him when he is aggressive.
He waits for a guard to come double almost every time, but he isn't ready to make the right pass when the guy gets there. So then he either get stripped or has to make a weak pass out to a wing player to reset. Meanwhile, the other 4 guys just stand motionless, watching him back down.
He's still young and learning. It's a night and day difference from where he was last year vis-a-vis how he plays in the post. He's still gaining confidence, but it's hard to play the game intuitively and assertively if you're just learning the position.
Our entry passes are so bad that Len drifts out farther than either Wilcox or Baxter needed to in order to receive the ball. And Len faces far more focused defense on him - you couldn't double and triple Baxter and Wilcox up because we had too many weapons (including Baxter AND Wilcox). Generally (though not always), Len is okay close in (still dribbles a bit too much, still brings the ball down a bit too much).
Len - to my eye - has actually been very good passing out of the post whenever there's an open guy. The problem is the team standing around far too much.
Now, I'm not saying he's above criticism. He's still got a lot to learn. But he's the least of our worries.
Yeah I think people are expecting too much from Len based on the fact that he's projected to be such a high pick and his monster debut game this season vs Kentucky. He's projected to be picked as high as he is in the draft mostly due to potential. His improvement from last season has also been dramatic IMO. Last year he was very raw and I thought it was going to take him more time to start making the strides he's already shown. Against BC he still went for 16 and 13 on 50% shooting from the field. I agree that he could be more decisive but he still flashes the nice pass every so often.
He's continuing to improve/develop his game and he's already really, really good.
Len is a lottery pick on potential.
He's not only a sophomore but a young one -- at age 19. In 2012, Lonny, and Tahj were upperclassmen. Wilcox actually didn't come on as a real offensive threat until 2nd half of that season. Len aldo didn't play or get much coaching before coming to the U.S. He's very very raw.
He's still young, and needs to put on strength. With that said, I don't think we'll see those improvements at MD (since he'll be gone after this year) so I think the improvements he makes over the course of the season will not be substantial. Basically, we'll have to live with what we got.
It makes me think about how good Jordan was when the ball when into him. He would set himself up perfectly at an angle on one side of the basket, catch an entry pass, turn and lay it in all in one motion.
Aside from the occasional put back dunk, all of Alex's point seems to come on harder shots-- fadeaways, hook shots, and jump shots.
Lets be honest. He has made huge strides from last year until this year. He'll probably make even more strides in his game in the following few years. I think he is justifiably a lottery pick.
I agree with all of this. I don't get the idea that Len taking his time in the post disrupts the offense. If Len is touching the ball, it's been a successful possession. Lonny could be quick to the basket because Blake was putting it right where he needed it. We are really bad at this relatively basic basketball skill. It would be nice if Len were a Joe Smith type (basically maxed out his talent in college, huge production in college) instead of a pick just scratching his potential in college with low production but such is life. He needs to work on keeping the ball higher among other things but he makes our team so much better. As noted, his passing has improved tenfold since last year.
I got the shotgun. You got the briefcase. It's all in the game though, right?
kickin' the tires
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