Ask any Kentucky fan and they’ll tell you that last year’s biggest problem was a lack of shooting ability.
That won’t be the case this year, as Keldon Johnson is a capable shooter, and Tyler Herro and Jemarl Baker are knockdown jump shooters.
But there’s a concern with Kentucky’s best two shooters (Herro and Baker) not being as talented of basketball players as their teammates who would have to hit the bench for them to get on the floor.
Rob Dauster of NBC Sports said he likes this Kentucky team, but posed this question: “Will Kentucky have to sacrifice talent to get shooting on the floor?”
Here was part of his answer:
My concern with this group as of now is spacing. For my money, Coach Cal’s best five next season will include Ashton Hagans, Keldon Johnson, Travis, P.J. Washington and one of Immanuel Quickley, Quade Green and Tyler Herro. Travis attempted 62 threes in four seasons at Stanford, with 61 coming last year. He’s a career 29 percent three-point shooter. Washington’s issues with shooting is why Kentucky was knocked out of last year’s tournament in the Sweet 16 and why Washington is still on campus and not an NBA roster. Hagans is an athlete, a defender and a competitor known for his ability to get to the rim, not his shooting. The same can be said for Johnson.
Dauster concern is a legitimate one. Kentucky is going to be extremely athletic this year, and that’s great, but Kentucky’s best players aren’t Kentucky’s best shooters.
That being said, with Herro on the roster and Baker healthy, Kentucky is going to be far better shooting the ball than they were last year. When you account for the fact that they’ll make a marked improvement in overall talent, athleticism and shooting, there’s far less reason to be concerned about their shooting than there was last year.
And while we’re on the subject, there’s definitely not enough reason to be concerned to put Kentucky behind Gonzaga in the top 25 (Dauster has Gonzaga as his No. 2 team, and Kentucky No. 3).
You can read Dauster’s full story here, which includes one big question for each of his top 25 teams, and more insight on Kentucky’s roster.