Wednesday, July 16, 2014

May the Best Man Win at Small Forward

I decided to edit my post about the dismissal of Brandon Morris, and keep it fairly short, meanwhile adding to my post about the line-up for the fall.

So, now that Morris will no longer be around to hold down the starting position at small forward, UGA's options going into the 2014/2015 season appear to be:

Yante Maten, 6' 8" freshman.
Kenny Paul Geno, 6' 6" sophomore.
Juwan Parker, 6' 4" sophomore.
Nemi Djurisic, 6' 8" senior.
Cameron Forte, 6' 7" junior.

Maten has talent and appears to be very versatile, having played some point guard in high school.  His issues are learning the offense and getting in shape.  I had Maten replacing Donte Williams at the power forward position, helping out Marcus Thornton, who is an under-sized post.

Kenny Paul Geno, a late recruiting pick-up last season after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope opted for the NBA, played some last year against Mississippi State and actually looked pretty good, scoring six points.  Otherwise, Geno averaged a point and a rebound per game over the course of the year.  Is he ready to start at the small forward position?  I don't think so, but he'll get his share of minutes.

Juwan Parker can play.  The problem is that he is our one option behind Kenny Gaines at the two-guard.  I say, keep bringing Parker off the bench.

Nemi has played a lot.  When he's hot, he's fun to watch. When he's not, not so much. I wouldn't regard him as an elite defender or ball-handler, which is what you want from a small forward.  I like Nemi providing a spark as sixth man.

Forte has good hands and is crafty around the basket.  He led Georgia in field goal percentage, almost shooting 60 percent from the floor (.591).  The only team members who came close to that percentage were Donte Williams and John Cannon, both of whom moved on.  Forte's biggest issue is that he can't shoot (Sounds harsh, but anyone who shoots 30 percent from the free throw line for a D-1 team, can't shoot, okay?).  Fox was quoted once as saying that Forte "has an ugly game, but good instincts."

Result?  Who's our best man for the job?

If Forte's game goes from ugly to decent-looking, he is the best option.  He doesn't need to be a three-point ace, but he simply must get to the point where he can convert from as far out as 15 feet, and at least shoot better than 60 percent from the line.  Forte, who looks more like 6' 5" than his listed 6' 7", is a decent rebounder, averaging  2 boards per game in 9 minutes.  He is not an explosive leaper, and probably won't ever be, but I would hope that he can increase his vertical a few inches over the summer.

If Forte doesn't improve, then Parker probably gets the start.  A lot of teams use three-guard sets, and Parker is probably the best match-up for those situations.  Fox hopefully is scouring the AAU circuit looking for a late-blooming two-guard, with size.  I'd rather save the ship than save the 'ship at this point.