Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Importance of a Post Player

As we move into conference play and the bigger conference schools take over ESPN every weeknight and weekend, I found it necessary to note the lack of quality big men around the country.  College Basketball has become a perimeter game that involves more three point shooting then ever before.  Over a third of #1 Duke's field goal attempts have been from three point range, although Duke is second in the country with a 44.2% three point percentage.  If you can make the threes, then it can be a huge weapon that can keep a team in every game; however, more and more teams are becoming reliant on threes which bodes poorly for readiness for the NBA.

Throughout the country, it is tough to find a great post presence.  Jared Sullinger is the most dominant of the bunch, averaging 17.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.  The ease at which he scores is absolutely beautiful to watch and he is virtually unguardable by one single player.  Just think about the options he has when he is fed in the post position.  He can go left, right, up and under, jump shot, hook shot, and passing out to open shooters.  The involvement of a good post player opens the game up in so many ways, as it creates more space for other players throughout the floor.  It is also the most reliable way to score, because it is hard to go cold from the post.

Kemba Walker averages over 26 points a game, but he may have an off night and score 18 points on 17 field goal attempts.  Walker shoots 48.6% from the floor, which is amazing for a perimeter player; however, Jared Sullinger shoots 60% and takes a lot less shots during every game.  He is more efficient scoring and Ohio State is shooting 40% from three point range, compared to 33% by the Huskies.  Yes the difference in percentage is not all the effect of Sullinger, but some of it can be attributed to the double teams that Sullinger demands from defenses.

A post player also allows for a team to control the pace of the game, forcing the other team to play at the speed that you want to.  Feeding the ball into the post can slow down the game and really put a team out of an offensive rhythm if they are forced to play tough interior defense every series.  In college, teams can survive shooting outside all of the time, but a player like Sullinger can take a team like Ohio State to a championship contender.  Sullinger has easily been the best Freshman this season and he is ready to jump into the NBA soon enough.

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