They've both earned the right to make a few mistakes sans criticism. But I think this is a fair question. Sherron is the unquestioned leader of this team. He has the most experience on this team. He plays harder than anyone on this team. And he's definitely the best player on this team. But he is still on a team. And part of being on a team is playing with that team to create something that's better than the sum of its parts. I don't believe that's being done.
Quite publicly, Bill has said that this team will go as far as Sherron can take them and that he should be taking 18-20 or so shots per game. To an extent I believe the first part of that statement, but I wondered about the second and a simple look at the numbers calls it even more into question. For reference, Sherron has taken more than 17 shots exactly twice this year. In those two games we're 0-2 and he has combined to score 40 points on 33% shooting while totaling six assists and four turnovers. The points are great, but not when they come at a price of wasting possessions with bad shots. But more importantly, we're winless win it happens. In the other seven games we're undefeated. And not coincidentally, the time he took 17 (Jackson State) we looked pretty awful despite ultimately winning by 24. Every other time he's taken 14 or less and we've looked demonstrably better. Now, I'll be the first to admit that other factors are at work here and both of those games were plenty winnable, but in the end I think it's pretty tough to refute that it's at least a significant factor. If we can get him 20 good looks a game, then I'm all for it, but if we're going to get him 5 and he's going to get 15 on his own, then I think we're being counter-productive.
Shocking as it may seem, Tom Keegan hit the nail on the head when he said that this team won't grow until Sherron learns to trust his teammates. I could not agree more and I'd actually add that the assertion extends to Bill Self as well. Having lunch with Ryan Robertson the other week, he remarked to me that he didn't feel like Brady or Tyrel looked confident enough to make a play when they had the chance. I think Tyrel has somewhat come out of that lately, but Brady still looks a little hesitant. And honestly, when every single person watching the game knows what play you're going to run and you do exactly that, it's hard to argue this point. I'm all for putting the most trust into the guy that's been there, but if neither he nor the coach trusts the rest of the guys on the floor, how are we to expect them to step up when it's needed? Do we really think Sherron is so much better than everyone else that we trust him more to make a shot while being double-teamed than we trust anyone else to make one wide open? If so, I think that's a problem.
Like I've said above, I think both Bill and Sherron have earned our trust. But I also don't think that makes them immune from either mistakes or criticism. And right now, I think they're making a big one. It's very easy to point the blame at the Morris' for a lack of hustle or even Sherron for being a little selfish, but I think it's more than that. I think Bill is treating him differently than he has anyone else before and certainly anyone else on this team and I don't think it's conducive for improving the team as a whole. It's easy to find pros and cons when things are going well, but it's much more informative to figure out the tendencies that pop up when your back's against the wall. And while there are plenty of others to point to as well, I think this is the most prevalent and also the most concerning.
What are your thoughts?