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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Does a 2nd Year Point Guard Improve?

Maybe the top advantage Kentucky will have next season over any other Calipari team of the last 5 years will be an experienced point guard.  In fact, it will be the first time since 2008 that Kentucky will return it’s starting point guard from the previous season.  I think Andrew Harrison’s improvement is most key to seeing Kentucky cutting down the nets next year, even with Tyler Ulis waiting in the wings.  But check this out.  Look at the key stats for each Kentucky starting point since probation in his first year starting and his second year starting.

SEAN WOODS
1989-90: 9.1 PPG, 5.9 APG, 48.7% FG, 28.6% 3P, 2.1 A/TO
1990-91: 9.7 PPG, 5.6 APG, 44.5% FG, 30.0% 3P, 1.8 A/TO

TRAVIS FORD
1992-93: 13.6 PPG, 4.9 APG, 52.7% FG, 52.9% 3P, 1.8 A/TO
1993-94: 11.3 PPG, 5.9 APG, 39.5% FG, 38.0% 3P, 2.1 A/TO

ANTHONY EPPS (started sparingly at PG in 1994-95 but not full-time starter until 95-96)
1995-96: 6.7 PPG, 4.9 APG, 42.9% FG, 41.0% 3P, 3.3 A/TO
1996-97: 8.9 PPG, 4.8 APG, 39,2% FG, 38.8% 3P, 3.1 A/TO

WAYNE TURNER
1997-98: 9.3 PPG, 4.4 APG, 48.0% FG, 36.8% 3P, 1.9 A/TO
1998-99: 10.5 PPG, 3.9 APG, 49.5% FG, 27.9% 3P, 1.6 A/TO

SAUL SMITH
1999-00: 6.6 PPG, 3.5 APG, 33.7% FG, 27.0% 3P, 1.4 A/TO
2000-01: 6.8 PPG, 4.0 APG, 37.5% FG, 34.8% 3P, 2.2 A/TO

CLIFF HAWKINS
2001-02: 7.1 PPG, 4.3 APG, 39.1% FG, 31.2% 3P, 1.5 A/TO
2002-03: 6.3 PPG, 3.8 APG, 41.2% FG, 38.1% 3P, 1.8 A/TO

RAJON RONDO
2004-05: 8.1 PPG, 3.5 APG, 51.0% FG, 30.3% 3P, 1.7 A/TO
2005-06: 11.2 PPG, 4.9 APG, 48.2% FG, 27.3% 3P, 2.1 A/TO

RAMEL BRADLEY
2006-07: 13.4 PPG, 3.8 APG, 42.0% FG, 36.7% 3P, 1.4 A/TO
2007-08: 15.9 PPG, 3.4 APG, 42.1% FG, 37.9% 3P, 1.0 A/TO

8 guys on that list and only TWO have increased both their points per game and assists per game from year 1 to year 2.  And interestingly, it is not the 2 guys that many Kentucky fans would consider the best point guards.  In fact, Saul Smith would probably win the worst point guard on the list almost unanimously.  Yet, Smith and Rajon Rondo are the only ones to increase points and assists from Year 1 to Year 2. Now certainly there are other factors in play for each guy, such as what role that guy is supposed to play.  But this list also tells me the odds are high that Andrew Harrison’s points or assists is likely to dip a little next season, while the other stat goes up.

My question is this: which stat would you rather see Andrew increase next year, his 10.9 ppg OR his 4.0 apg?  

Article written by Bryan the Intern

49 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Does a 2nd Year Point Guard Improve?



  1. jhjb
    9:07 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    I think after he figured out how to play point guard in the post season, it is inevitable that his APG will increase. Imagine him playing the entire season like he did during that run. PPG will probably go up as well.



  2. UKgrad'13
    9:08 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    I would assume Andrew’s APG goes up simply by default. Heck, all he has to do is throw it up in the paint somewhere and one of the trees will put it in.



    • Bunny
      1:20 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

      Duh. Assists…



    • Dimes
      1:41 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

      During the Cal era I’ve always considered one of our most important offensive statistics, albeit an unofficial one, to be lobs. When we’re lobbing it well it, it almost always means that the offense is running smooth and, of course, efficiently. We’ll average 5+converted lobs/game this year-and we’ll be undefeated in games which we hit that mark.

      Hell after this year/team, they just might make it a official statistic in the record books.



  3. BobKYCats
    9:09 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Assists. There’s no worries about scoring next season, not with an army of seven-footers and Aaron Harrison, Devin Booker, Poythress, et al, out on the wings.

    Andrew’s biggest problem was turnovers. He needs those to go down and his assists to come up.



    • Justin
      9:12 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

      Spot on!



    • Dacci
      11:43 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

      Exactly, I think the most important stat listis is A/T ratio, in which most cases went up. A scoring point guard is nice, but I’d rather have a guard that sets up other players and takes care of the ball.



  4. Matthew
    9:12 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    With the influx of talent on next year’s squad, I would much rather see Andrew spread the ball around and have his assists go up. In my opinion, our need for him to score is outweighed by our need for him to be the floor general that keeps everyone’s productivity up.

    Also, keep in mind that only Rondo could be considered an elite talent like Andrew. Rondos increased productivity increase would show a more reasonable expectation for Andrew (rather than the other guys)



    • GoCatsWin9
      9:17 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

      My thoughts exactly. A future pro should continue to improve all around… better player, better coach. That said, as his assist:turnover goes, so will the Cats.



    • Martha in Paducah
      11:28 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

      I honestly do not see either twin as truly elite talent, and certainly there should be no comparison to the likes of Rajon Rondo.
      Moreover, as several commentators have noted elsewhere in these comments, BTI has once again focused on the wrong statistics: it was Andrew’s turnovers and lack of defense that cost us the national championship this year, not his failure to score or get assists.



    • UKfan
      2:57 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

      BTI is focusing on the positive aspects of the position but I agree with you. Andrew needs to focus on defense, running the offense and free throw shooting. The rest will take care of itself.



  5. Shotgun
    9:14 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Andrew’s biggest problem is defense, not points or assists.



    • Luther
      1:22 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

      And his 2nd biggest problem is turnovers…



  6. schwing
    9:20 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    travis ford’s second year was without mashburn to draw attention. it was not a good year for him.



  7. louie
    9:23 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    BTI sucks.



    • Bunny
      1:22 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

      No he doesn’t…



  8. chad spalding
    9:30 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    They other thing all these guards have common, other than the second year, is that they were coached by someone other than Calipari



  9. average fan
    9:34 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    I have made this argument before. Second year players don’t typically make big jumps in production. Some do but what you see is usually what you get from year 1 to year 2.



  10. Beatle Bum
    9:34 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    I doubt much serious discussion happens in these comments, but I would hope that Andrew would improve on defense next year. I wonder how many of the listed PGs were better individual and team defenders in year 2.



    • Matthew
      9:50 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

      That would be interesting. I would like to see the opposing point guards’ production from year 1 to year 2. That’s the only way you could track defensive production IMO. You wouldn’t always have the same opponents, but still interesting.



  11. KevinM
    9:37 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Cal’s learning curve is much faster. The one that comes closest to Andrew is Rondo, who simply did not fit with Tubby’s conservative approach. Flashy and the total opposite to Saul.
    Expect Andrew’s numbers to increase in both points and assists. Then he’ll move aside and let Ulis learn the position under Cal. Hawkins=odd man out.



    • UKfan
      2:59 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

      I disagree. Hawkins will get PT on his defense alone.



  12. J Bond
    9:37 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    A study on 2nd year PG under Calipari might be more accurate, if there are any 2nd year PG under Cal.



  13. Yev
    9:46 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    BTI, you missed a huge bit on information in your analysis. How did UK’s offensive overall stats change as the point guards came back? I really don’t care what Andrew’s personal numbers do, just hope that they become a much more efficient offensive team. The “tweak” when Andrew started passing more was full of “hockey assists” where Andrew would make a good pass, then that player would make a pass for an easy basket. In basketball Andrew gets no credit for this statistically, but it is huge for the team.



  14. Boogie Fan
    9:48 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    I’d like to see him average about 6 assists per game next year and I think he will. He got much better at feeding the post late in year, especially with his left hand. Big things await for Andrew.



  15. UKmachoman
    9:50 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Oh yeah



  16. Pierce Buster
    9:55 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Has to be assists and A/TO Ration in my opinion. I think this team will have plenty of scoring, so if he keeps his scoring roughly the same at around 10/gm, and improves A/TO, I like our chances.



  17. Musehobo
    10:03 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    I don’t think Cal will do it, but I’d rather see Andrew play the 3 spot next year. He’s a 6’6 guard who’s specialty is driving into the lane. Sounds like a 3 to me. I’m guessing Ulis will be a better ball distributor. But I know Cal wouldn’t do this to Andrew cause it would hurt his draft stock. Plus, this is the first time at UK his PG has returned. It will be nice for him not to have to start from page 1 from that position.



  18. Megan
    10:10 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    More faux analysis from KSR. A sample size of 8, and BTI is drawing conclusions. Seriously? None of these players played under Cal. Doesn’t that seem relevant? And why limit the sample to former UK players? If you want to draw a general conclusion about point guard performance in their second years, there’s a world of data out there.

    We really are hard up for content during this dead period.



  19. Cals Cats 3.0
    10:10 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Since all of these stats are non uk players, you might as well use any random team to come to this conclusion. The fact they are wearing uk jerseys means very little here.

    Second these numbers does not truly tell us if they developed or not unless you had a stat for non forced turnovers. Getting those freshman types of mistakes out of their system.

    Andrews ppg may not go up next year just because of all of depth of talent we have. As Cal continues to say MKG and Davis were 4th and 5th in scoring. if MKG played for a team with less talent his numbers would obviously be higher but that doesn’t equal better. So the notion that we need to see an increase in stat numbers to determine if a player has improved is a misconception.



  20. The CAT
    10:11 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Stat not here… reduce turnovers



  21. Turner the Burner
    10:14 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    In no way is the moon farther from the stars. The moon is the closest thing to earth.



  22. jimlowe7
    10:15 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    If Andrew averages 9 points and 9 assists we will win # 9.



  23. Tom Blevins
    10:17 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Can anyone still think of Saul Smith as our worst point guard ever after watching Michael Porter? I’m sure he was a great guy, and I believe he did his best, but he could NOT play defense.



  24. PW
    10:20 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    This comparison is MEANINGLESS! Only 1 of those point guards has stuck in the NBA, so if we truly believe that Andrew is an NBA level talent then we shouldn’t worry if he progresses like Saul or Ramel. He has the potential to make a big jump, let’s just hope that he works hard enough this summer to realize that potential.

    Second, even if the individual comparison wasn’t completely without merit you can’t look at the seasons in a vacuum. None of those teams will look like our 2014-15 team, so how do you compare guys playing with Orbzut or whoever else to Andrew playing with our lottery picks?

    In conclusions, ugh. Worst BTI post of the month (so far).



  25. Dan
    10:20 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Hawkins didnt start in 2002-2003. He was suspended for the first semester due to academics and came off the bench in the second semester. Fitch and Bogans started at guard.



  26. Dee
    10:33 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Assist….when he’s dishing….we be winning



  27. Captain Obvious 2014
    10:46 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    The real answer to this question is that Andrew Harrison needs to shoot way better than 36.7% overall. His 3 point shooting was good enough for a PG at 35.1% (though it would be nice if that got to the high 30’s), but when your 6’6″ PG is only hitting 36.7%, it means that he’s either taking a lot of really bad shots, or failing to finish at the rim an unacceptable amount of times. Or a combo of both.

    Andrew needs to get that % up over 45, and it will do wonders for UK’s offensive efficiency.



  28. Blasphemy
    10:47 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Neither (directly). I personally want his 3 pt percentage and attempts to go up. Then the opposing defenses wouldn’t slack off of him and he would get easier buckets AND easier passes because his path to the rim wouldn’t be so clogged. Both his apg and ppg should go up by default when that happens assuming he’s getting better at his ball handling skills, passing, and finishing through contact skills.



  29. mountainman
    11:03 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    how hideous are the Vandy uniforms in the above picture?



  30. Pistol Pete
    11:06 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    The guys you list for the most part, played for Tubby. Tubby’s offense did not give the point guard much freedom. They mostly stayed on the perimeter and gave the ball to the big men down low. The only surprising thing is that their shooting % did not improve.



  31. Cat Fan
    11:31 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Ok BTI, as usual you suck, and the reason is that you’re entire premise is flawed since none of these players were under Calipari. It doesn’t matter what Tubby’s players did. If you’re using the past to predict Andrew Harrison’s 2nd year growth, at least use relevant data. But then of course, there really hasn’t been any Calipari 2nd year PG’s recently, so I guess you had to write something. But nevertheless, I’ll play your little game. The improvement won’t be seen in stats, instead it will be seen in wins and losses. The twins learned how to win games in the tournament (finally), and that was the real problem the whole season. It’s not FG% or turnover margin, its who wants the game at the end and makes clutch plays. We lost games all season to more veteran teams that had players who made big plays, while our freshmen seemed to wilt in the biggest moments. I fully expect that growth to carry over to next season, and Cal can begin implementing even more stuff since there won’t be that huge first year learning curve.



  32. Bryan the Intern
    11:55 am May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Some of you people are just WAAAAAYYYYY too wound up about my posts and this team. It is a basketball team of enjoyable players but many of you only hate on everything. Relax and you will enjoy everything, including these posts, so much more.

    And as always, feel free to send me post ideas. Funny how I never get any. Easier to chirp from the cheap seats I guess.



    • Mick Jagger
      3:44 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

      Like me, BTI has a very tiny todger. At least, I have fame, women and money. Bryan just has his shortcomings.



  33. Bdmnky81
    12:56 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    I enjoy your articles, BTI, but I skipped straight to the comments as soon as the picture popped up. THAT guy is my worst memory of anything UK related. Worse than the Billie Clyde era for me……



  34. Rajon Rondo
    1:07 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    “it is not the 2 guys that many Kentucky fans would consider the best point guards”… what idiot does not consider me the best point guard on this list?



  35. Ryguy
    1:24 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    You have to say assists. You have to. If you want Andrew scoring more than 10 points (most of which will be from the free throw line in the second half anyway) then you don’t realize that we will have 5 people in double digits points. Possibly 2 20-point scorers. I would be ok if Andrew dropped 1 ppg. 10.9 ppg and 6apg would be a stat line to praise for years. This is a good article. I hope the BBN realizes the asset we have in Andrew.



  36. Willis from Different Strokes
    3:47 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    Does anyone else think that the Harrisons look like my little brother?



  37. Wiz10
    8:41 pm May 6, 2014 Permalink

    I love to watch pass first point guards, oh, and who can also shoot free throws. I’m hoping the team as a whole is working on improving the free throws. If we shot em better in Texas, we’d have #9.