The "how to fix the Cats" Discussion

We don't get paid the big bucks to make the big decisions. So what can we do? A little Monday Morning QB-ing never hurt anyone. Here is what I'm thinking thus far in the season. I welcome everyone else to chime in, either critiquing my analysis/solutions or providing your own.

After watching Sarr play so poorly today, and give us nothing the last 2 games, there has to be a change in the front-court. Toppin and Ware both took some minutes from Sarr, and one of them deserves to start going forward. At this point it is very apparent that Sarr is not the answer this year. He's being outworked and both Ware and Toppin desperately need more experience. Toppin showed an incredible amount of potential on the offensive end. He'll get better on defense with more PT. Ware is still very raw on offense but he tries really hard, hustles, and also just needs experience.

Jackson is still clearly a difference maker on the defensive end when he's not making dumb fouls. Jackson struggled mightily on the offensive end when we ran plays for him. His turnovers were a result of him trying awkwardly to make plays that are outside his comfort zone. We shouldn't be running plays for Jackson unless they're lobs. Jackson was great in the open floor in transition, or cleaning up other people's misses, or blocking shots or creating steals. He just has to cut the dumb reaching and we have to quit running plays for him on offense.

Mintz is our best option at the 2. He's our best shooter. He's not great at running a coherent offense but he is great at knocking down 3s or getting a bucket when necessary. I feel like Calipari and the rest of the staff did a poor job managing minutes for both Mintz and Askew. Mintz had nothing left at the end of the game and couldn't get open.

Askew was OK running the team. That's an improvement, and I think many of us see him improving. He was also exhausted at the end of this one and couldn't stay in front of his man. Among the many changes I would have made in this game would have been to steal a couple more minutes for Mintz and Askew so they weren't gassed at the end. Still needs to work on getting us into a set and directing the ball where it should go. He's at least partly to blame for Mintz not getting enough shots the last 5 minutes. Mintz was our best scorer and top threat and he only got like 1 look at the basket in the final 5 minutes, which was dumb and totally avoidable.

Clarke was hurt and looked hurt. He hasn't found his shooting touch yet this year and couldn't give us good penetration. He's not a bad defensive player and I think he gives good effort. Probably doesn't deserve as many minutes as he's getting.

Boston can't throw the ball in the ocean currently. He'll improve at some point in his career, but who knows when that will be. He showed some flashes today that he's willing to put in the dirty work, through defense and rebounding, to stay on the floor. But he doesn't do it enough and he's not consistent in his defensive effort. Boston has to quit jacking up shots. Find an open teammate or put pressure on the defense by cutting hard or setting screens. Show that you're bought in to the little things and the shooting will happen one day.

Allen. May be one of our better shooters, but it's hard to tell. The few minutes he's played he hasn't done well defensively. Allen needs to take a play from the Tyler Herro story and decide to completely & totally sell out with defensive effort. I'm taking Calipari at his word that if Allen looks like he's ready to play big boy defense that he'll actually get PT.

Who should be our starting 5? I'm going to say Toppin, Jackson, Allen, Askew, & Mintz. Toppin has shown he has actual post moves and can score inside without offensive fouls. Jackson is a game changer on the defensive end and can also be a glass cleaner on offense. Should be the 5th option in this offense. Allen will provide spacing as a wing shooter. Mintz will provide even more spacing and is a very credible 3 point threat. Askew is becoming a better ball-handler and is willing to work hard on defense. This 5 only works if Allen is willing to play harder on defense than we've seen. Certainly possible.

Boston & Clarke should be used to spell Mintz, Askew, & Allen. Both of them need to work harder on defense consistently. If Allen & Mintz are hitting 3s, all of a sudden either of these guys will have the interior space they need to go to work. Both Clarke & Boston will look a lot better with a little spacing in the floor (which is why their NBA stock remains high). Ware & Sarr should be used to spell Jackson & Toppin. I'd say Ware comes off the bench first because we need to develop him for the future. Sarr has not played hard enough or smart enough to get time over these other guys going forward. I have no clue how a guy this experienced has this little clue to avoid silly fouls or to work his way into a tough game, but at this point we might as well play for the future.

Do I think this is what will happen? No. But it's fun to dream.