Monday, December 15, 2008

Is Bill Using Sherron the Right Way?

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?


Raefzilla said...

I agree. More disturbing than Sherron's shot selection is the fact that Self doesn't seem to have a major problem with it. Its not like the other guys are just role players. They may be inexperienced but they certainly have the capacity to knock down shots.

We heard forever about how Brandon needed to take more shots and be more selfish. I think Bill wanted him to be "the guy" and I'm not sure he ever really became that. He was more comfortable (and it might have been better for the team) by not forcing up shots. Now, Bill wants Sherron to be more selfish, and its clear that Sherron has none of the hesitations that Brandon did. I'm not convinced that's the best strategy.

I think they should try to run the offense through Aldrich as much as possible. Try and get him a Simien-like amount of touches and utilize the high-low. At least he'll never go 6-21 if you get him the ball that many times.

Hiphopopotamus said...

I hadn't considered the Brandon parallel, but it does make some sense.

As for Cole, I think it's clear that we're under-utilizing him. Despite shooting 58% from the field and 89% from the line, we've only got him double digit attempts in 3 of our 9 games. That's just not enough. For a guy with his size and ability, he really needs to average 11 or 12 a game I think. But in order to do that, we need to get A LOT better at feeding the post, because right now if we don't have the perfect angle we either turn it over or don't even try to make the pass.

A-Citi said...

Raefzilla, NHCBS did give Sherron the green light shoot whenever and however he wants. Although I agree with your point. Brandon had the green light because he didn't have the balls to take it to the whole like he was capable of until Coach really got after him for it. Running the offense through could work except Cole looks like he gets tired out there and then he fouls, and then there is the problem of getting him the ball. That's another story.

Hiphopopotamus said...

I'm all for him having the green light. But just because you can shoot it doesn't mean you should. And it seems to me that whenever we start reeling a bit, Sherron thinks he needs to take over and get himself a shot. And while this may work on occasion, I'd contend the odds would favor moving the ball around until someone (possibly him) has an open look.