Here are the 10 things you should understand about Daniel Giddens’ commitment to Alabama.
Fans are going to overreact to the Daniel Giddens commitment news and a lot of the same old arguments are going to come out again. Giddens’ decision not to come to Georgia should not be a shock and actually is not reason for any sort of outrage.
1. He’s a True Center
Daniel Giddens as mentioned before in a previous article has a limited offensive skill set and is comfortable on the low block. Once outside of the low block, he struggles. Note that comfortable does not mean dominant or even strong. He’s just comfortable on both ends of the floor being on the low block.
2. True Centers do not thrive under Mark Fox
The last True Center to thrive on a Mark Fox coached team was JaVale McGee. Versatile combo forwards and Power Forwards have thrived under Fox. Trey Thompkins, Jeremy Price, Yante Maten, Marcus Thornton and Nemanja Djurisic have all done quite well at UGA. John Cannon, Tim Dixon, John Florveus, Albert Jackson and Osahen Iduwe have all sputtered.
3. The Age of the True Center in Basketball is Over
Bill Russell, Bill Walton, Wilt Chamberlain, Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Robert Parish and the list goes on of great Centers in College Basketball and in the NBA. Name a prominent Center in College Basketball. Try really hard to think of a dominant Center in College Basketball this past season. It’s a challenging task. There were only a handful. Jameel Warney of Stony Brook, Jakob Poeltl of Utah, Rokas Gustys of Hofstra and Egidijus Mockevicius of Evansville could be considered dominant Centers.
In the NBA, the Center position is purely nominal for many teams. For instance, Al Horford is not going to be mistaken for a Center. He’s a Power Forward with Combo Forward skills. Tim Duncan was never really a Center, he was a Power Forward that was able to block shots. Dwight Howard, Hassan Whiteside and Roy Hibbert are the most prominent Centers in the NBA, a league that is slowly strengthening its emphasis on versatility.
4. Jimmie Taylor passes the torch to Daniel Giddens
Jimmie Taylor has not been very productive in Tuscaloosa. He was also part of the one of the most embarrassing rebounding efforts in Alabama Basketball history against Georgia in Athens a few months. Taylor will be a Senior next season and he did not have much in his way to stop him from earning a lot of playing time this past season.
If Taylor’s metrics are alarming they should be. He’s similarly built to Giddens and has a nearly identical skill set. Giddens’ metrics are also alarmingly similar as a freshman! Giddens was just far less effective scoring in the paint.
When it comes to efficiency ratings, Jimmie Taylor regressed significantly as an offensive player and improved on the defensive end.
As for Daniel Giddens, he was already ahead of Taylor on defense, but so far behind on offense. Giddens is also a fouling machine.
Taylor as a freshman was extremely effective in the paint and was good outside of the paint as well.
Giddens was effective as well, but not as effective as Taylor’s efforts. Giddens took more Field Goal Attempts for Thad Matta’s squad last season.
5. Look at Alabama’s Depth Chart
Daniel Giddens is being handed the keys to the Alabama frontcourt.
The names in blue are all being recruited by Alabama for the Class of 2017. Braxton Key and Daniel Giddens as a starting frontcourt would be a very similar combination to Shannon Hale and Jimmie Taylor. The Crimson Tide are expected to add a post or two in the Class of 2017. Would Giddens’ transfer impact Garrison Brooks’ or Ikey Obiagu’s decision? It might. More on Garrison Brooks to come next weekend.
6. Perimeter Shooting Needs for Georgia
Everyone knows that J.J. Frazier can knock down three pointers from every angle and location on the floor. However, there are open questions about the perimeter shooting capabilities of this team without Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann being there.
Georgia was a 36.8% three point shooting team last season, good enough for 69th best in the country. This is not something to take lightly as Georgia has not been a good three point shooting team for years. This was the best perimeter shooting Georgia Basketball team under Mark Fox. The best in the past decade was the 2006-07 Georgia Basketball Team (38.1%) that left a lot of people wondering, “What if?”
Georgia loses Kenny Gaines, a 38.3% three point shooter and a much improved three point shooter in Charles Mann, who shot 40% from long range using smarter shot selection.
Yante Maten was not really a perimeter threat for much of the season as he was scoring from the high post and low block for much of the season. Turtle Jackson appears to be primed to step up as a perimeter shooter and as long as E’Torrion Wilridge is involved and confident, he can be threat from beyond the arc as well. Kenny Paul Geno is serviceable, but certainly is not going to fill the void left behind.
Juwan Parker’s struggles from three point range are well-chronicled and hoping for him to return to his shooting ways from High School is unrealistic at this juncture.
At least 48.6% of the three point shots made and 46.3% of the attempts need to be made up somehow.
Tyree Crump and Jordan Harris are very talented freshmen with a lot of potential, but it would be extremely unfair to expect them to take the shooting torch. Crump and Harris may make a lot of trips to the Free Throw Line like the way Charles Mann did, but to expect them to shoot the lights out is unrealistic. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a 30.4% three point shooter as a freshman, Kenny Gaines shot 34.9% from long range and J.J. Frazier was only shooting 32.4%.
Jackson and Wilridge are expected to be the ones that take the biggest step forward on the perimeter and they both should be improved as shooters. J.J. Frazier will take the Marcus Paige sort of a role in the backcourt. Although one can argue that Frazier is far superior to Paige, but that’s a different article altogether!
7. Georgia’s Offense is Predicated on Versatility and Spacing
The need for a versatile Combo Forward was met in the immediate term by Pape Diatta who can play the perimeter, high post and low block on both ends of the floor. Georgia’s ability to run the floor and spread out defenses to set up cutters, drivers and spot-up shooters requires that everyone on the floor is capable of being able to play in the space of the floor that they occupy. Versatility and shooting ability forces opponents to have to either overreact or play completely honest on defense.
Last season, Houston Kessler’s struggles allowed defenses to double up Yante Maten and take away a staple of the Mark Fox offense, the cross-screen in the key. The cross-screen in the key is a part of a bread-and-butter set that has worked throughout the years. However, the non-threat at the perimeter or high post allows a defender to sag and play a cross between a man and a zone. Mike Edwards was also effected by this last season, but he actually took on the challenge at times and dribble-drived rather well. Edwards’ ability to work off the high post will be a big part of Georgia’s success next season.
An additional perimeter shooter would dissuade defenses from collapsing on Ogbeide, Edwards, Maten or Diatta. It would also provide dribble drivers with the option to dish the ball out for a catch-and-shoot three point opportunity as defenses typically collapse. Against zone defenses, having another perimeter shooter also comes in handy.
8. Why not Jakeenan Gant?
Let’s consider the case for Jakeenan Gant, as he would be a better fit for Georgia. Gant’s rather versatile and had the same sort of potential for upside that Yante Maten showed as a Freshman. The difference between Gant and Maten is that Gant did not improve much at Missouri and Maten went through “The Process”. Maten committed to ameliorating his game and he was aided greatly by working with Jonas Hayes. Gant did not enjoy such an advantage.
What Future150.com had to say about Gant as a High School recruit is rather eerie considering the same description could be used to describe Yante Maten at that point!
Yante Maten’s freshman to sophomore transformation shows the difference between his experience at Georgia and Gant’s at Missouri.