Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Productivity Report: Who will be assertive helping Markkanen consistently?

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Lauri Markkanen is by far the most productive of the Arizona Wildcats and our productivity numbers back that up.

His season productivity rating of .908 is more than 300 points better than the next player, junior post player Dusan Ristic at .605.

That No. 2 spot behind Markkanen has revolved among Kobi Simmons, Chance Comanche and Ristic.

Can Dusan Ristic elevate his game to help frontcourt mate Lauri Markkanen significantly this season? (Pac-12 Networks screen shot)

Can Dusan Ristic elevate his game to help frontcourt mate Lauri Markkanen significantly this season? (Pac-12 Networks screen shot)

Only three players — Markkanen, Ristic and Keanu Pinder (.567) — have productivity ratings above Arizona’s team average of .544. Rawle Alkins at .504 is the only other player above .500, a good barrier to show the strength of a player’s overall performances.

That means Sean Miller and his staff should be expecting much more out of Comanche (.448), Simmons (.446) and the starting backcourt — when healthy — of Parker Jackson-Cartwright (.475) and Kadeem Allen (team-low .367).

Arizona is only eight games into its season, so plenty of time exists for improvements among Miller’s top eight rotation.

Ristic is at a good mark with his .605 rating but he would be the first to tell you he can play better. He was outplayed by Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski in Saturday’s loss to the Bulldogs and that has him motivated.

It certainly appeared that Ristic needed a fire lit under him as he was basically bullied by Karnowski around the basket (how much does he miss going against former Arizona graduate assistant Joseph Blair in practice?). Karnowski scored 18 points on 9 of 13 shooting from the field, mostly against Ristic. ESPN commentator Jay Bilas made a big deal of Ristic allowing Karnowski to routinely post up near the basket without aggressively denying him space and the ball.

“The next time we face somebody like (Karnowski), we’ll be more prepared,” Ristic vowed in Monday’s press conference leading up to tonight’s game with Cal-Irvine at McKale Center (8 p.m., Tucson time).

Irvine no longer has 7’6″ center Mamadou Ndiaye, who was dunked over by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in the previous meeting between the teams two years ago.

But the Anteaters have 7’2″ Greek center Ioannis Dimakopoulos, a senior who is averaging 11.4 points and 3.8 rebounds a game. Whereas Karnowski overpowered Ristic around the basket, Dimakopoulos will be a challenge stretching Ristic defensively.

Dimakopoulos made three 3-pointers against East Tennessee State in a 72-66 loss last week. He is 8 of 17 from beyond the arc this season.

WHAT IS PRODUCTIVITY RATING?:
PP: Productivity Points (Points, assists, rebounds, steals, blocked shots, FGs made, FTs made added together and then subtracted by missed FGs, missed FTs, personal fouls and turnovers)
MIN: Minutes played overall
PR: Productivity rating per minute played (Productivity points divided by minutes played)

SEASON PRODUCTIVITY RATING
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PRODUCTIVITY REPORT
ARIZONA PAC-10/12
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:
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GONZAGA 69, ARIZONA 62
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS
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ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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