We pause from NBA draft and other June items, thanks to a lengthy email from Portland Catfan about potential playing time and contributions next season...

Already this spring, it has become clear that Sean Miller next season may play three guards (even without MoMo Jones around), that he will probably play Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom together instead of having them share small forward and that each of the four freshmen will be expected to contribute (Josiah Turner at point guard, Nick Johnson at shooting guard, Angelo Chol at power forward and Sidiki Johnson at power forward or center).

So you basically have a roster that could break down roughly as follows (with some overlap, of course):

PG - Jordin Mayes, Josiah Turner

SG - Kyle Fogg, Nick Johnson

SF - Kevin Parrom, Brendon Lavender

PF -- Solomon Hill, Jesse Perry, Angelo Chol

C -- Kyryl Natyazhko, Sidiki Johnson, Alex Jacobson

Portland Catfan dug so deep into the possibilities that he said he couldn't find the appropriate thread to post them on so I'm posting it here.

Here's Portland's analysis:

"Arizona loses 48 minutes from the C-PF positions (Derrick Williams, 30; and Jamelle Horne, 18). They return about 35 minutes put in last year by Jesse Perry, 19.5; by Kyryl, 9.5; and by Tree, 4.5. Those add up to 83 min/game, which just means that for an average of 3 minutes a game, more than two of DW, JH, JP, KN, and AJ were on the floor at the same time.

"Let's assume that, between Perry and Kyryl, they will improve enough to warrant a total of 10 additional min/game over last year. If Tree stays about the same, that will give a total of 35 minutes to Angelo Chol and Sidiki Johnson at C-PF (80 total minutes). That includes the assumption that those times when Miller goes really small (like three guards and one wing with only one of the C-PF guys on the court) will roughly offset the other times when the Cats go bigger (like Chol or Sidiki getting some minutes at the three spot). Another way to look at the minutes would be that Perry might get around 25 min/game while Kyryl-Chol-Sidiki would split about 50 min/game. That could work for the C-PF minutes; what about points?

"Last year, Arizona C-PF guys contributed about 35 points/game (Williams, 19.5; Perry, 6.6; Horne, 6.1; Kyryl, 1.9; Tree, 0.5). DWill was the only real post-up threat, but he also got a lot of his scoring from outside shooting, from pick-and-roll action, and from assists off of dribble penetration (a lot of passes from Fogg, Parrom, and Solo). It seems likely that next year's C-PF group will produce more like 15-to-20 ppg - unless the point guard play is so much more effective than last year that assists-off-dribble-penetration and screen-roll production both go way up, which could definitely happen. Arizona only averaged 14 assists, against 13 turnovers, last year. Only Fogg, MoMo, and Parrom averaged two assists per game - 2.6, 2.4, and 2.0 respectively. Those numbers could be a lot better next year, which would help the C-PF group score even if they can't create their own shots much.

"No wings left the program. Solo and Parrom totaled 45.3 minutes and only 15.6 points per game. They could be on the court together next year a bit more. Since Sean Miller's rotation tends to cluster the main contributors around 25 min/game, we could see Solo and Parrom totaling more like 50 min/game, maybe a bit higher. With improved ball movement, dribble penetration, and assist-turnover efficiency from the whole team, both Solo and Parrom could get more high-percentage looks at the basket in the half-court sets, as well as more opportunities to finish fast breaks. They might easily double their scoring to a combined 30 points/game or more.

"Among the guards, the departures of MoMo and Daniel Bejarano subtract 29.8 minutes (26.0 and 3.8) and 10.5 points (9.7 and 0.8) per game, but only 2.4 assists/game (with 1.9 turnovers). The returning guards - Fogg, Mayes, and Lavender - averaged 50.5 minutes (25.5, 14.3, 10.7) and 16.6 points (8.1, 4.9, 3.6) per game. Keeping the assumptions made above for next year's playing time, there would be a total of 70 minutes/game to split among Fogg, Mayes, Lavender, Josiah Turner, and Nick Johnson. If Mayes gets more minutes, and if Lavender gets correspondingly fewer minutes, and if Fogg stays about the same, then there would only be 20 min/game left for JT and NJ. That's not nearly enough! The only place additional minutes can realistically come from is to ‘steal' them from the C-PF guys.

"Arizona will have to be able to play smaller lineups more of the time in order to utilize their best talent, so those smaller lineups have to be able to force poor shots, and to finish stops off with the rebound. That's why the biggest improvement areas collectively for the team, in terms of making next year's roster work, will have to be defensive rebounding and offensive efficiency. Arizona needs to maximize their number of possessions (limiting the other team's offensive boards, limiting UA turnovers), as well as their points per possession (making the extra pass, knowing what's a good shot, using their athleticism to draw fouls and challenge the offensive glass). And that's why the competition for playing time at every position will be even more determined by defense and rebounding than it was last year.

"Arizona may not average 76 points/game, as they did last year, but they may have a better average scoring differential. They suffered losses last year of 22 points (twice) and 17 points. I don't think that will happen next year. However, in close games, the Cats will not have Derrick Williams and MoMo Jones to generate shots and/or get to the foul line. It's likely that they will find themselves coming down to the wire in a lot of close games, so one very important thing to determine as a team is what to go to when you must score. Josiah Turner, right?"


Nikola Vucevic might have the kind of http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/chris_dortch/06/18/possible-surprises/?ls=iref:nbahpt1" target="_blank">long NBA career that KO has predicted.


The Salt Lake Tribune's Kurt Kragthorpe says http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/utes/52026599-89/pac-utes-krystkowiak-basketball.html.csp" target="_blank">the Utah basketball team "probably should stay hidden" for a while in the heavily exposed world of the Pac-12.




Sportswriter for the Arizona Daily Star covering Arizona Wildcats basketball