Random thoughts from random game.
– I like it when guards constantly push the ball, but Devan Downey took this to extremes. He played like a mentalist, with one of the weirder 33-point outings that I’ve ever seen. Downey went 6-15 from two-point range, 7-9 from three, and 0-2 from the free throw line, making a series of tough threes when the game was out of reach that served only to make it overlap into the Syracuse game that was on afterwards. (Thanks for that, Devan.) He is one of the quickest players with the ball that I’ve ever seen, and clearly was a talented shot-maker. But he looked to pass about as much as Donte Greene, which is less excusable when you’re the lead guard who dominates the ball. And at 5’9 with a penchant for ball-watching, Downey didn’t have much value on the defensive end, either. He was explosive fun, much like a good curry night is, but he has some big old flaws.
– Alex Tyus is going to have a nice career ahead of him, somewhere. Decently sized, athletic and with some nice touch from both hands. I didn’t see him challenge a shot all night, which was worrying, but the offensive talent is there.
– Dominique Archie was impressive, too. He tended to drift towards the middle on defence, and toward the perimeter on offence, which was a bit odd. But he’s a good athlete, a slasher, a decent finisher, rebounder and help defender.
– Zam Fredrick’s professional future, as a 6’0 shoot-first-second-and-third scoring guard without a terrific shot making ability, looks speculative.
– I soon learnt that Nick Calathes is not much like Pat Calathes. At all. He’s far better, for a start. However, I worry about Nick’s future. It’s a lot easier to be a 6’6 lead guard with decent speed at the NCAA level, but it’s far harder to be in the NBA, where the athleticism, man-to-man defence and ball-handling of others all take a sharp upturn. Calathes looked comfortable on the ball, wasn’t flustered whenever the far shorter but infinitely quicker Downey was matched up against him, and passed the ball well. But Florida were only able to cope with the Calathes/Downey matchup by using the 5’8 and almost equally quick Erving Walker on Downey, on whom Calathes didn’t stand a chance. Walker played well, kept Downey out of the lane as much as could be expected, and was able to expose him back on the defensive end, but this highlights a problem Calathes is always going to have. As a point guard, he’s always going to have to play alongside someone who can help pick up the defensive matchups that he can’t handle, because any real speed seems to do for him. That’s going to mean playing primarily alongside point guard-sized players. And point guard sized players like to (and normally should) have the ball in their hands. If Calathes is going to be playing more off the ball – and I didn’t see anything that suggested that he could, but then again, they had no reason to take it out of his hands – he’s going to have to rely on his flat-footed jump shot and ability to be average when defending bigger guards. And if he’s going to stay as a tall primary ball-handler, he’ll have to up his mid-range game, Joe Johnson stylee.
– Sam Muldrow looked undersized, clumsy, strong and ruthless. So he’ll probably make a decent career in Europe.
– Mike Holmes was quiet for most of the game, so it’s hard to know what to make of his lefty mid-range jumperness. Similarly, Chandler Parsons didn’t do much that was significant, but he looked solid in all aspects, apart from his carnal desire to avoid shooting free throws.