Arizona coach Sean Miller said he’s considering a new starting lineup Thursday at Cal, possibly one without slumping shooter Dylan Smith.
The Wildcats shot just 25.4% collectively in their 65-52 loss against UCLA on Saturday, and Smith was 0 for 7 from the field while extending his streak of missed 3-pointers to 17.
“We could change the lineup, I mean, we're at that point, yeah,” Miller said Tuesday, during his weekly news conference. “Sometimes it relaxes guys when they don't have the pressure of starting. Sometimes you just change it up, mix it up, it helps everybody. So that could potentially happen. We're not there yet. We took Sunday off and we practiced yesterday, we haven't practiced yet today, so the next couple days I think we'll make that decision
“But regardless, Dylan is going to play. The guys who haven't started are going to play. And we just need quality play. That's what we need. Our team has to play well.”
Miller said after the UCLA game that he needed Smith’s length and defense on the floor, while adding that his offense earlier in the season also made a big difference.
Getting him back to that rhythm, whether as a starter or reserve, is the coaches' mission.
“We’re really working with Dylan to shoot the ball,” Miller said. “He’s obviously in a tough stretch but I go back to the Colorado-Utah homestand when he played really well and shot the ball well. Boy, we were a lot better team. Arizona State at home, you know, back to the Wooden Classic and some of our nonconference games.
“But with Dylan I think the hard part is when he's been off, he's really been off, and he's in in a tough slump. But we win as a team and lose as team; it doesn't fall on Dylan not making shots. We have a number of guys who could play better. There's a number of things we're trying to do coaching wise to be better. So we have to go on this trip and be the best that we can be.”
Miller said the Wildcats have been practicing through some small group drills in an effort to bring that confidence back. That’s typically the kind of work UA does early in the fall semester before full-team workouts are allowed.
“At this time of year, it's not easy to do,” Miller said. “Not for a grueling workout but just shooting, groups of four where we're able to practice and do the things that we need to do as a team. Just kind of carve out some time for 40 minutes, and watch them, really to allow them to watch the ball go in the basket and shoot quality shots and just get their rhythm back.
“it’s amazing sometimes when you mix that in how a guy’s confidence can return because we have a couple guys have certainly gone through that confidence bug. Usually you work your way out of it.”