Those are some pictures they want back…
ESPN Goodfellas Paul Biancardi and Dino Gaudio tried today to answer the question: Can the ‘Cats recover next season what they’re losing to the Draft in June?
Check out the video here. The experts examine scoring, assists, defense, and leadership, and wonder who can replace Lamb, Teague, Davis, and Miller, respectively.
The lost assists and defense are expected to be replaced with Ryan Harrow and Nerlens Noel, which comes as no surprise. Noel is rumored to be a better shot blocker than Davis, and Harrow is a pass-first point guard with a year of practice in Cal’s system.
What did surprise me a little are the results they came up with for the other two categories: scoring and leadership. While many, including myself, may have expected to see Archie Goodwin in that “scoring” position, filling Lamb’s spot at the 2, Biancardi instead believes that Alex Poythress will lead the Cats on offense next year. Hopefully Alex’s game can live up to those expectations, and we can look forward to seeing him average 15 points (or more) a game next season. He’s certainly versatile enough to do it. Biancardi could be right on with this one.
But when it came to replacing the leadership provided by Darius Miller (and MKG, who was left off the list), Pauly B drew a blank, to no great surprise, and instead of picking a player, picked Calipari himself. Next year’s team will be more saturated with freshmen than any we’ve seen, and it’s possible we won’t know the answer to “who will lead this team?” until conference play starts.
While it’s interesting for us to pore over where the stats will come from next year, I don’t think the players are thinking about it at all. What we saw with this past year’s team is that when players don’t worry about their numbers, the team is rewarded with a great season. That lesson likely isn’t lost on this incoming class, and regardless of who carries the torch for the departing guys, we can expect them to care less about this stuff than we do.
And that’s a great thing.