Svi is not the key

  • While its true that if Svi lives up to his current 2016 NBA draft projection it will be huge… I still don’t think he is the biggest key to title for this year’s team. After a lot of thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that the key is… (drumroll please…)… Carlton Bragg.

    My guess is that the starters will be Mason, Graham, Selden, Ellis, and Diallo. The starting lineup is solid. One can reasonably assume that each returning player will have gotten slightly better than the previous year. It doesn’t always work that way but for simple analysis, the likelihood is that there will be at most one player that does not improve, gets injured, or regresses from last year. IMO, the key to being a championship contender is having someone (or more than one) take a big leap forward in comparison to last year. That’s what would make this team dangerous. Many think it will be Svi. But if its not, and someone else does instead, this team will be equally as dangerous. With the depth of the backcourt, the need for it to be a backcourt player isn’t critical. In addition, there are many alternatives to Svi taking the leap forward. It could be Mason (early reports saying he looks outstanding), could be Graham (made 7 threes in the scrimmage the other day), could be Selden (he’s due for it, he has all the tools, just needs to put them together), could even consider Greene or Vick as longshots as well. That’s 6 guys in our backcourt with the chance to be the difference maker which makes the need for it to be Svi not as great. There are other options.

    The frontcourt is a different story though, the depth is not as great. Perry has been KU’s workhorse and I’m assuming Diallo will be a solid compliment to Perry in the lineup (not a guarantee though). Off the bench we have Traylor, Lucas, Mick, and Bragg which at first glance appears mostly to just be stop-gap or specialty players. Traylor plays well at the top of the key where he can drive to the hoop or dish it but has a weak outside shot. Lucas is strong on the boards and has some success close to the hoop but no outside shot either. Mick hasn’t been able to crack the lineup over Traylor or Lucas and I’m assuming is a long shot at being the key next year. Bragg as a frosh is expected to be a serviceable backup with upside. What concerns me most about next year’s team is the dropoff when Perry or Diallo gets in foul trouble or heaven forbid, gets injured. It seems that over the course of history, players who make big jumps in their skillset in a year tend to do it in one of their first three years. Can’t think of too many seniors (or 4th year players) that come out of nowhere and end up playing way above their projection. If this non-scientific trend is true and continues for this year’s frontcourt, that leaves Bragg as the only candidate to be that guy. The lack of skilled depth in the frontcourt is why I think Bragg is the biggest key on next year’s team.

    Bragg has a nice jump shot, short clips from practice have shown he has some good ball skills too. I think the cards are in his favor on this one. He’s a five star athlete has the tools to be the guy. I’m calling it now, if KU makes a run to the title game next year, Bragg will be a big part of it. He is the key.

  • I’m thinking we live or die by Perry’s performance this year.

    Self is already selling it to the world that Perry is going to have a “break out” year. So will he vastly improve this summer? No. He doesn’t need to. He just has to bring a constant aggression to the game… something a lot easier to do than make huge technique improvements or muscle up over the summer. And Self is already selling him as a MVP so you know he is going to push Perry to stay intense and get more shots up on the rim.

    Perry can no longer take the back seat in games and chunks of the season. He is a senior who will be looked at as the leader of the team (to most degree).

    Perry is the only senior that is vital to the team. He has to step up. And he needs to if he wants to try to lift his NBA stock.

    I’m not saying players like Carlton won’t play an important role, especially come March. But we can never count on freshmen carrying the team. And we shouldn’t have to count on them. McD’s AA, senior Perry must bring it all this year… all the time! If we get Perry to not take games off he will get used to playing with great intensity all of the time and he will become a real monster everywhere on the floor!

  • Improvement is not linear. We have to assume that all of our juniors and seniors are going to play almost exactly the way they played last year. There is no real reason to believe that a veteran (Perry, Selden, Lucas, Mickelson, Traylor) is going to suddenly take a big leap forward. It just isn’t likely. They have experience in the system, so it is unlikely that some new lightbulb will click on and they will leap forward. Their limitations, whether physical or otherwise, have been well documented. It is unlikely that they will close a hole in their game that has existed throughout their collegiate career.

    Maybe Selden stays healthy, or Perry plays with a continuous chip, or Traylor gets a jumpshot, or Lucas is light on his feet, or Mickelson steps forward… but that is all unlikely.

    If any veteran emerges, it will likely be Graham taking a leap similar to what Frank Mason did last year. Outside that, any improvement we see will probably come from the freshmen.

    I agree with @RockkChalkk that Bragg is the key. However, I would add that Vick is the other key. This team needs a dynamic wing scorer. Experience has taught us that it likely will not be Selden. Maybe it’s Svi, but if not, maybe Vick adds a spark that is currently lacking on this team.

  • Perry’s stats last year weren’t too bad: 13.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG off of 28:46 MPG.

    There is a good chance Perry lifts his numbers slightly. But also, one has to think even though we have more depth in the post this year, that Perry will probably get even more PT this year. Self has already laid out the clues.

    I can see Perry’s stats this year being something like: 16.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG off of 31:25 MPG. That is only a slight performance improvement. His extra minutes are also adding in to his stats. Self and Perry are on the same team; Self wants Perry to play harder on a more consistent basis, and Perry wants Self to give him more PT so he can build his stat line for the NBA draft.

    If Perry gets a stat line like my projection, what other player will impact the game more than Perry? Maybe Frank? I’m thinking Frank will be focusing more on his assists this year and protecting the ball over being a big scorer. It is hard to statistically stick out on a “team first” coaching philosophy.

  • I’m pretty sure that Perry Ellis knows that he will have to help carry this team

  • @blackmild33 and he can!

  • @RockkChalkk

    Broken record time.

    Perry has to be the cornerstone, like Wayne and Frank have to be cornerstones. If anyone of those three flop, with Oubre in the NBA, and Jaylen Brown in HarryandCuonzoland, this team is just in serious trouble.

    And with a combination of likely weak experienced 5s and green wood Diallo being counted on at the 5, the 3 stands out as the tipping point position for this team.

    Put another way, this team can be as good as its 3.

    And the 3 comes down to Svi, Vick and Greene, if Greene were healthy.

    With Greene healthy, we really don’t have to worry about the 3 position much. Svi and BG ought to be able to committee the 3 adequately.

    But if BG is a slow heal, or a no heal, it starts getting scary.

    Freshman Vick’s leg diameter is sized with a spaghetti measure.

    Greene seems like it should take him a whole season to get back to sharpness and pop.

    Thus by process of elimination.

    Svi is the key.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    How about Davonte? After Perry and Mason, Davonte will likely be the most important player; he has the potential to be the team’s MVP.

  • Frank Mason’s development as a PG will be the biggest determining factor in whether or not KU wins a national title this year. His court vision and leadership will drive KU this season. KU had the fewest assists last season of any Bill Self coached KU team. That has to change and KU needs to have at least 150 more assists on the season. KU also has not had a take charge leader at the point since Tyshawn. Frank needs to be the one to assume the vocal.leadership on this team and it sounds like he’s trying to be a sponge with Nic Moore right now which is highly encouraging.

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    And he will!

    I’m in the books as putting Perry as my MVP this year. I agree with others that Frank and Devonte will be key factors. Perry can’t score if they don’t get him the ball, and in the right spot at the right time.

    I had an eye on Perry through HS. I know what he is capable of once he leaves all doubt behind. We still haven’t seen the Perry Ellis I know. It is his time. No tomorrow. It is now!

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Devonte will be very important, but I am hoping it will be backing up the 1 and 2 again.

  • There are different things being said that make sense, but that don’t seem to mesh.

    @jaybate-1.0 started all this by saying Svi is the key. Why? Because the key position is the 3.

    @RockkChalkk says Svi is not the key. Why? Because the key is not the position but the player who most improves. Either that or because the biggest hole is not the 3 but the 4/5.

    I don’t think @jaybate-1.0 meant that Svi was the most likely to improve, but his improvement is the most necessary because we haven’t replaced Oubre and Greene is hurt.

    To me, our point guard position is gold and our 4 is silver. For both the 5 and the 3, there is hope not certainty.

    As for the 2, the incumbent is a disappointment so far and has blocked others from taking over and doing better.

    Maybe Selden is the key! For if he doesn’t improve there is little hope someone else will get the chance to replace him.

  • Svi is a key player especially if he wins the battle against Greene. If Self uses a conventional PG/SG/SF lineup which he prefers then how much Svi can contribute to the starting lineup is right up there with the most important questions going into the year.

    I don’t agree that Bragg is the key because where are his minutes coming from?. Ellis is a shoe-in for 30 minutes a game, 28 last year wasn’t enough. When he was having his banner moment before the injury his minutes were up and he was producing with those minutes.

    Traylor is the guy standing in his way as he’s now a 5th year senior. I don’t think anyone would disagree that Bragg has more talent than Traylor will ever know but you can’t teach his experience and we all know that game with Self.

    Self has said Bragg has been a big surprise so far in terms of picking up things which bodes well for him being ready when his name is called. Ideally Bragg could get 10-15 minutes if he scraps a few playing the 5 spot as well. He’s likely to have the same impact Ellis did when he was a freshman. What is great about having Bragg is he’s the safety belt for Ellis being off the floor. How great is it going to be bringing in a backup PF All-American. It’s kind of like T-Rob his Soph. year. You knew he was going to be very good once he got his minutes but was able to produce in the time he got. I see that same situation, and Bragg can really stretch the floor offensively so defenses won’t be able to scout him and view him as a non-threat on offense.

    I still think Wayne Selden is the guy who needs to step up the most for this season to be a banner year. Frankly his production at the 2 guard has been anything but consistent. I don’t care if he averages 10 points a game again but if he does it consistently it goes a LONG way. When Greene has as many double digit scoring games off the bench as your starting Shooting Guard has playing 30+ minutes a game that’s an issue. Selden took too many nights off offensively and when you don’t get the consistent production that we expect from him, its the reason he’s still in College and not getting drafted next week. If he truly works on his ball-handling this summer he stands a chance to give us that 3rd key scorer that we need.

  • Banned

    Do not worry My KU friends. Selden will surprise this year.

    This will be HCBS toughest season. As he will have talent that delivers all over the place. His biggest decision will be should we beat this team by 25 or 50 points? I kind of feel sorry for him.

  • As much as I would like to see Bragg simply given a rotation level role, history tells us that Coach Self will play both Lucas and Traylor ahead of him, or at the very least, one of them. I really hope I’m wrong, and at least by conference play, Bragg has proven himself over at least Traylor.

  • @drgnslayr I think we all saw what Perry Ellis can do in that 5 game stretch before he hurt his knee. In the last game of that stretch against Texas (28 pts, 13 rebounds) he was unstoppable. He was averaging 22.4 ppg over those five games, throwing down dunks like I do on the 8.5’ rim in my driveway.

    Perry is the key. I expect him to average around 20 ppg, but still get outrebounded by Mason once in a while.

  • @HighEliteMajor Maybe it should be said that HCBS is the key.

  • Oh ye of little faith. Our MVP will probably change game to game, although Perry and Frank will rack up the lion’s share. The MVP of our team will be our depth, as two of our rookies are getting invaluable practice minutes, and will get to play in a slew of games that other recruits across the country won’t. So, Bragg and Vick start out the regular season with 1/3 of a season under their belts. Not the same intensity, of course, but more time learning the system is a good thing. Throw in a very deep, experienced team, along with the best big man recruit in the country, and you have a recipe for a title. somebody will take the 3 job, and run with it, and do a great job. Same with the 5. Our depth this year will be light years ahead of last year, and I flat guarantee Jamari will not average 20 minutes a game this year. I think my rose colored glasses are looking at a bouquet of roses.

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