A deeply informed knee-jerk reaction on Randle, Wiggins and Parker

Caption goes here.

Not just yet.

It’s far too early in the season to look at individual statistics, blah blah blah, let’s look at individual statistics.

We’ll start with the group that’s played a whopping three games. Relatively speaking, Kentucky’s 2013-14 season is ready for its commemorative coffee table book. 

               %Min  %Shots  2FG%   3FG%   OR%    DR%
Randle         75.0   26.7   65.6    N/A   18.3   30.9
Young          75.0   26.7   50.0   27.3    4.9    5.5
An. Harrison   77.5   12.1   45.5   60.0    N/A    3.2   
Aa. Harrison   60.8   24.2   66.7   15.4    1.5    8.2
Poythress      56.7   22.8   58.8   20.0   22.7   26.3
Cauley-Stein   54.2   13.0   50.0    N/A   20.3   18.0

When pondering a rotation comprised of five McDonald’s All-Americans and a sixth player projected as a 2014 lottery pick, the only plausible nit an observer could pick in the preseason pertained to shooting. That worry remains in place after three games, as the Wildcats have hit just 26 percent of their threes and shot 62 percent at the line. Thus far this offense’s best playcall has been to miss a shot, as Calipari’s men have pulled down fully 49 percent of their misses.

With seven percent of his college career in the books it’s safe to theorize that Julius Randle is a complete freak of rebounding nature. There’s also an apparent possibility that with all this talent — abundant even by UK standards — Andrew Harrison’s going to be something we haven’t really seen before from Calipari, namely a highly-touted pass-always point guard. Meanwhile brother Aaron has flailed about haplessly with his perimeter shooting, but to his credit he’s also recorded five steals in a mere 127 personal possessions.

Lastly, no, I don’t expect Alex Poythress to finish the year as the best offensive rebounder the college game has seen since DeJuan Blair (though seven offensive boards in 27 minutes against mighty Michigan State is certainly nothing to be ashamed of). Last season he was an efficient scorer who arguably didn’t force the issue often enough on offense. If bringing Poythress off the bench is Calipari’s way of telling his sophomore to shoot first and ask questions later (think 2011-12-vintage Russ Smith), I say well done, Coach.

             %Min  %Shots  2FG%   3FG%   OR%    DR%
Wiggins      73.8   32.5   63.2   40.0   7.1   17.7
Ellis        80.0   22.5   64.7    N/A   6.6   25.4
Selden       81.3   20.9   54.5   33.3   6.5    8.9

Bill Self has adopted a “when in Rome” approach to our new era of college hoops, with the result that his team’s number for FTA/FGA now stands at 0.78. That is robust even in 2013-14, and to the extent that 80 minutes of basketball can have an overarching “story,” there it is, take it. When you get to the line that often and shoot reasonably well there (69 percent) you will score 1.20 points per trip.

Then again this particular Rome giveth and taketh away. Foul trouble limited Andrew Wiggins to 25 minutes against Duke last night, and let’s hope we can get this whole Season-Long Tribute to Free Throws thing sorted out quickly because we only get these guys for a year as it is. Let’s not spend that year watching them sit.

When he’s actually been in the game, Wiggins has lived up to his hype, scoring effectively from the paint, flashing occasional perimeter range, and, not least, showing good effort on D (notching six steals in 107 personal possessions).

             %Min  %Shots  2FG%   3FG%   OR%    DR%
Parker       70.0   35.7   55.6   70.0   2.6   30.8
Hood         88.8   18.1   64.3   75.0   6.0   15.6
Sulaimon     66.3   25.6   58.3   57.1   2.7   16.3   
Cook         87.5   18.4   80.0   37.5    N/A   7.0

Apparently Chris Collins was the staff advocate for offensive rebounds, because in his absence Duke has pulled down just 14 percent of its misses over the course of two games. (On the plus side this suggests we may see a game in which Northwestern records multiple offensive rebounds, plural, for the first time since December 10, 2003.)

If you must anoint a Best Freshman on Offense of the Season So Far on November 13, your winner is Jabari Parker. He’s been as lethal and prominent as Randle, only without the turnovers. Mind you, Randle’s well-positioned for steady performance — he’s already shot 42 free throws (12 percent of all Kentucky points have come from Randle’s made free throws), which isn’t, as yet, Parker’s scene. Instead Parker demands attention from opposing defenses on both sides of the arc and, so far, his threes have been falling.

Assuming Parker maintains his status as a legitimate three-point threat who also happens to be a rampaging monster on the defensive glass, he’ll finish his college career next April with the largest discrepancy in offensive and defensive rebounding percentages of any player in the history of Division I. That would constitute a handy parable on the futility inherent in speaking of “rebounds” sans adjectives, perhaps even furnishing the final nail in that particular coffin. Go, Jabari, go.