Basketball is a year round sport, so due to that we’re going to do a year round mailbag. We’re still going to run this every Friday like we do during the season, but we’ll be talking about college hoops, transfers, NBA Draft, NBA and recruiting questions. That’s right you get an NBA and college hoops mailbag all rolled into one every Friday. Reminder you can always submit questions on Twitter @barstoolreags
Simply put, they only draft Kentucky players and it’s paying off. Well, to a degree, sure, but I wanted to annoy people with that. First, it starts with De’Aaron Fox. The dude is playing like one of the best point guards in the NBA, not just in the class from last year. He’s one of the fastest players in the league and uses that to his advantage. He’s attacking and picking his spots better. Then, look at who is surrounding him. Buddy Hield is having a career year and shooting the ball like everyone remembered from Oklahoma. Hell, the Kings are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country. They have guys like Bogdanovic out there who fit the role perfectly. They have depth. This is good, young team. Fox looks like he’ll be an All-Star at some point. They just need to find a way to stay out of their own way.
Is it better? No. But it fits better. Last year you had Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson both playing out of position. This year you have better wing play. Cassius Winston is the Big 10 Player of the Year. So everything is fitting better, making them a better team. They aren’t more talented or anything like that. More importantly they’ve decreased their turnover rate by over a percentage point. So, yeah, they aren’t as talented but the roster just fits better.
I’m not going to pick against Kansas simply because doing that would make you wrong 14 years in a row. Now, Azubuike is a great player and what he does means a lot to Kansas. But, they actually look a bit better playing around Dedric Lawson, who is the better player. Running that 5-out offense lets Lawson attack more. They do need to improve shooting, especially from Quentin Grimes. I’m not going to hold the loss at Iowa State against them. That’s an incredibly tough place to play against a really good team. I think we see something similar to last year where Kansas looks like they’ll finish 2nd before getting that win at Texas Tech late in the year.
Hear me out. Go team point guard. They have a bunch of playmakers in Zion, Reddish and RJ. Just get the ball and go. Try to speed the game up and not get into a half court game. They shouldn’t specify just one person as the ‘point guard.’ You can go a variety of ways here. RJ will likely be the one with the ball in his hands the most as a playmaker. It’s going to be important to just get out in transition as much as possible until Tre returns.
I’m still going with Virginia. They were 18/1 preseason and still 10/1. I love this team. I think they are quite comparable to the 2016 Villanova team. I’m going to keep riding with them until I’m proven otherwise this year by them. I’m not worried about past years in the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee at 12/1 makes sense too.
I think we’re going to see the same Syracuse we’re used to now. Inconsistent. That’s what happens when you have the offense that Syracuse has. You can rely on some stinkers in a row. You can rely on Tyus Battle bailing them out at times. I won’t be surprised to see them pop into the top-25 and then lose three games in a row. That’s just how this is going to be until the offense becomes more modern and more consistent.
Probably CJ McCollum? Part of that was his performance against Duke in the NCAA Tournament the year prior. McCollum went No. 10 in the draft. So I think it might be that if I had to think. I’m trying not to just take draft position into account here since each class is different. Jimmer obviously comes to mind as well since he was all over the damn place.
There are a couple of different ways to go here. Obviously the massive upsets like that come into play. But, Michigan beating the living hell out of Villanova on their new campus arena would be up there for me. Same with Duke just beating the hell out of Kentucky in the first game of the season. Obviously the names don’t make that much of a splash like an upset. But, a complete ass kicking is as shocking to me than an upset.