Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Productivity Report: Miller’s late-season lineup shakeup comes with positive results


Rawle Alkins came off the bench for the first time this season against USC on Thursday, giving way to Allonzo Trier at the wing spot, and he proceeded to lead Arizona in this site’s productivity rating.

If Sean Miller keeps the lineup as it is now, the bench consists of Alkins, Kobi Simmons and Dusan Ristic. They have a combined 74 starts this season, making the Wildcats one of the most seasoned teams with a rotation of seven players with plenty of experience this late in the season.

Let’s be realistic: Their preference to start (what college athlete does not want to do that?). But at the same time, all three come off as team-first type of players.

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Alkins played only 17 minutes against USC, a game in which Miller played only seven guys. Alkins got the most out of those minutes, with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the field with four rebounds and four assists.

Ristic became Chance Comanche’s backup, for the first time this season, against the Trojans and also had a solid game in only 18 minutes with 10 points and three rebounds.

After leading Arizona in productivity against California, Simmons has struggled in the last three games against Washington State, Washington and USC with a .031 rating (only two productivity points in 64 minutes). His season rating is .440.

Simmons has shown flashes of brilliance leading the Wildcats in productivity in the win over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion but has also disappeared on occasion. Which Simmons will show up tonight?

His reserve role is more suitable for him because he can pick up Arizona offensively but could be a liability on defense. He can’t start ahead of Arizona’s three-guard lineup of Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Kadeem Allen and Trier.

With his energy and physicality, Alkins can be the sparkplug pff the bench similar to what Rondae Hollis-Jefferson provided as a sixth man in his freshman season.

Jackson-Cartwright should be a starter at point guard, giving the Wildcats more of a calming influence from the start at the position in terms of assists to turnovers. He has 99 assists and only 35 turnovers. Allen has 83 assists and 52 turnovers.

Despite an off game against USC, Chance Comanche has been the most active frontcourt player on Arizona’s lineup in the second half of the Pac-12 season. Miller is doing the right thing by inserting him in the lineup ahead of Ristic to give the Wildcats more athleticism around the basket, especially when it comes to defense.

Give credit to Miller for making these moves, some of them predicated with recent minor injuries, this late in the season because by now he knows his players are more bought into team goals rather than individual objectives. March is right around the corner. There is plenty of incentive to fall in line.

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 90, USC 77
PRODUCTIVITY RATING

* — STARTERS
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ARIZONA SCHEDULE/PRODUCTIVITY RESULTS
*-Honolulu
**-Las Vegas
***-Los Angeles
****-Houston
[table “” not found /]

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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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