Season Preview | The Boneyard

Season Preview

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Well, it’s been probably the most exciting offseason I can remember as a UConn fan. With all the good chatter on the Yard I have seen the past few months, combined with my thoughts and excitement for the season, I thought I’d throw up a season preview of sorts before tipoff.

I’m gonna start it off with a buzzkill. I think other than Lamb, the offensive talent we have coming back is less than we might think. I really like Shabazz, AO, and Roscoe. They each had a huge role in winning the title, but I think their advantages to the team are more intangibles (poise, leadership, and experience) than putting the ball in the basket. This isn’t a knock on these guys’ skill sets, I just don’t think of any of them are going to contribute in the form of a huge offensive presence for the team. I am actually happy we have such glue guys coming back like this as opposed to scorers, because it only adds to the team’s balance.

Speaking of balance, I think this could potentially be the most balanced UConn team ever. I wouldn’t be shocked if we had 6 players averaging between 10 and 15 ppg. Lamb has a much higher room for offensive improvement than the other returning players IMO, but I think with defenses keying in on him he will definitely defer more and not be the 1st team all American some envision. As a matter of fact, Lamb has been so hyped up that he could come well short of expectations and still quietly be the best player on a top 5 team, which is exactly what I want. I like that we have a clear best player at this point (the exhibitions really validated that for me) because while all the offensive balance is important, you need to have that go-to scorer. Seeing Lamb step into that role early will be a huge team boost in the long run.

Obviously, offensive identity is going to be the hardest thing to replace. Last year, we had it before the season started. It was Kemba’s team, and everyone else could mesh into their roles. While it wasn’t the most beautiful system, having an entire season to get familiar with that role was a nice perk, and ended up paying dividends. This year? Not so simple. Lamb may be the best player, but is it Lamb’s team? Don’t think so. I think it’s going to take awhile to establish our identity, considering the 3 ball could be an issue, we don’t have the most potent returning offense, and we got new scorers that will need to fit in.

Fortunately, our top 25 ish offense is going to be paired with a defense that I think could be the best in the country. It’s scary thinking about some of the defenses we could put out there…Imagine 6’8 Deandre guarding an elite jump shooter at the 2? He can play right up on him, and if the guy drives through he’s facing AD, AO, and Scoe. Unlike the offense which will take time, I see defensive dominance right from the get go. This gives AD a place to really shine, because I think his offense will take a few months to fully click. My only fear is defending the 3, because we got burned on screens at times last season. Fortunately we can use teams’ hesitance to go down low as reason to tighten up the perimeter.

One final thought: I think Daniels is the 2nd best player on this team behind Lamb. He is just a ridiculous athlete, and brings 2 huge skills we are lacking: a tall speed threat in transition, and 3 point shooting. If he and Lamb can be leaders on offense, the balance behind them coupled with the elite defense is a recipe for March success.

That’s all I got: now let’s enjoy the ride. Tonight is going to be fun; I don’t think people realize how special a banner coming down is. Feel free to share your own "preview" thoughts.
 
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I translate your post like this : We have a lot of unknowns after losing Kemba.

I think DD is going to be really good- but a player that has never seen any time on the floor in a BE game is always good. If he really turns out to be the second best player on the team we are going to be very very good this year. Right now i would put them in this order,

Lamb, AO, Bazz, RS, TO, AD, DD, RB. Once they play we can move some of the young pups up in the order.

I really don't think offensive identity is going to be a problem. Unlike last year we will have a more even distribution scoring. It's not that complicated. We have two monsters in the paint. Two excellent players at the three. The best two in the land. Two point guards that just have to distribute the ball be patient and take OPEN shots. Then we have a few good role players in TO and NG.

We should be able to create a lot of O off our excellent D as well. One thing is for sure-

WE ARE DOOMED!!!!!!!!!!
 
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