Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Productivity Report: Analyzing UA’s lower nationally ranked stats


You can sometimes gauge a team’s overall capability by looking at its weaknesses instead of its strengths.

For Arizona, its weakest areas (in terms of where the Wildcats rank nationally) are 3-pointers per game (6.5 which ranks No. 257 as of Thursday’s games), steals per game (5.7 which ranks 220th) and blocks per game (3.1 which ranks 202nd). They are also 153rd in turnover margin (plus-0.4), 151st in scoring (74.9 points a game) and 147th in assists per game (13.9).

The turnover and assists margins could create an argument that perhaps Parker Jackson-Cartwright should get more minutes at point guard and Kadeem Allen at the off-guard position, but with Allonzo Trier’s presence now at off-guard, Miller does not always have that option.

During most of the Sean Miller era, Arizona has not ranked high in 3-pointers per game because his offense is structured more toward getting the ball to the post either via the pass or from penetration.

The low ranking in steals per game and blocks per game is ironic because Arizona’s defense overall is good. The Wildcats rank 57th allowing opponents to shoot only 41.2 percent from the field. They are 24th in 3-point shooting defense yielding only 30.9 percent of the attempts to fall.

Arizona’s defense is more predicated about being in the right spot and not allowing the offense to break it down, especially in a halfcourt setting. That might have to do with the lower totals in steals and blocked shots.

Also, consider that Arizona has only one very good on-the-ball defender in Kadeem Allen (who is questionable for tonight’s game at Washington after missing Thursday’s game at Washington State with a dislocated pinky). The same can’t be said of the rest, but they for the most part stay on their man.

Rawle Alkins, Kobi Simmons and Parker Jackson-Cartwright can be dangerous on defense but are not ball hawks like Allen.

Miller made a point to call out his defense on the ball in Arizona’s struggling win over Stanford last week.

In terms of blocked shots, just think: Seven-footer extraordinaire Deandre Ayton is on his way next season. For now, Arizona will have to make do with Dusan Ristic, who is known more for his offense than his defensive prowess around the hoop.

Allen has more blocked shots than Ristic (16 to 14) and Keanu Pinder leads the team with 17 despite averaging only 12.6 minutes per game.

Arizona’s inside presence can be exposed the most as the season progresses toward March. If the Wildcats get matched in the NCAA tournament against a physical, athletic frontline with a burly power forward who is a rebounding machine — such as Stanford’s 6’8″ and 245-pound forward Reid Travis (who had 26 points and 11 rebounds against Arizona) — it could be a serious concern.

You may ask: What about Ivan Rabb? Arizona won twice against him. Well, in both games, he was in early foul trouble and a knock on him that he must correct before entering the NBA is that he can lose his focus. That was brought up numerous times during the telecast by ESPN play-by-play guy Dave Pasch last week.

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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PREVIOUS GAME
ARIZONA 78, WASHINGTON STATE 59
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS
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ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS
*-Honolulu
**-Las Vegas
***-Los Angeles
****-Houston
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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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