I’ve already floated it out there and I know I’ve seen it all over social media since yesterday’s commitment from Ashton Hagans: PLATOON. Everybody remembers the joy we experienced in 2014-15 when Calipari implemented a 2-team system, subbing 5 for 5 throughout the game. I think people may forget though, that experiment actually only lasted 10 games before Alex Poythress went down with injury. With the platoon, UK was 10-0. Without the platoon, they were 28-1. So it really didn’t matter that season what kind of system Cal employed.
For next season, only time will tell how a platoon system would look and work out. But when I look at the 2 rosters as they stand now, I see a noticeable difference:
Guards (4): Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker
Forwards (4): Alex Poythress, Trey Lyles, Karl Towns, Marcus Lee
Center (2): Dakari Johnson, Willie Cauley-Stein,
2018-19 (assuming Diallo and Gabriel leave)
Guards (6): Quade Green, Ashton Hagans, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, Immanuel Quickley, Jemarl Baker
Forwards (3): PJ Washington, Jared Vanderbilt, EJ Montgomery
Centers (1): Nick Richards
The 2014-15 team had a nice balance of guards, forwards, and centers. The 2018-19 roster has 6 guards in it’s Top 10 right now. And that would lead me to concerns about if there is enough time for guards to get their hands on it enough. We will see what roles the incoming guards will form for themselves, but guards tend to “need” the ball in their hands more than the big guys. And I wonder if there is enough ball to go around. Johnson and Hagans are supposed to be stars so you would imagine they will want the ball a bunch. Will a sophomore Quade Green want more of the action? What about an eager freshman like Herro.
I would much rather have too much talent at the guard spot than too little. I will take what Calipari has built for next year over almost any roster in the country. But I do think the concern will be spreading the wealth next year. You will have ALOT of guys on roster looking to prove themselves for various reasons. If any kind of platoon system is created that will certainly not increase a guy’s minutes. At least not the star players. The 2015 team accepted those roles for the first 10 games.
I think odds are very high we won’t see this team go to a platoon. Calipari has hinted as much that he won’t do it again. But the roster is deep enough to give it another try and it will be interesting to see if certain lineups mesh better than others with the amount of guards currently on roster.