This offseason has been somewhat hard on Utah Utes basketball fans. First, the Utes lost Amhad Fields. Then we all learned of a crowd favorite, Princeton Onwas leaving the program. The second move was the shocker for most fans. Basketball fans in Utah always love their hustle and defense guys. This will not be the last thing that will shock fans. Playing time this coming season will shock fans too. Jordan Loveridge and Brandon Taylor are both going to be losing some playing time.
The Case of Brandon Taylor
Brandon Taylor was a critical part of the Utah basketball team. He played 33 minutes per game and ran the point a ton. I would even say he is the player who should have had the ball in-game deciding plays, not Delon Wright. However, there is a trend in Taylor’s stats that tell me he should be thinking about how he is going to stay on the court for 36 minutes every night
2012-2013(per game stats in conference): 8.1 pts, 2.9 ast, 2.1 reb, 2.2 tov
2013-2014(per game stats in conference): 10.8 pts, 3.4 ast, 2.8 reb, 2.1 tov
You will notice there simply isn’t much of a change. The worst part about Brandon’s game is the turnovers. The 2:1 assist to turnover ratio is killer. But, what does this mean for Brandon Taylor’s playing time.
This means that there is a possibility Coach Larry Krystkowiak and his staff may feel they have seen what Brandon can do. So, why not give someone else some playing time. Coach Krystkowiak has proven he will let other players have the chance to earn playing time. But, who would take minutes from Taylor? Ogbe and Isaiah Wright.
I am not going to talk about Ogbe. We all watched him play and there is no reason why he couldn’t take time from Taylor. But, the real X factor is Isaiah Wright. This last season Wright averages 17.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.7 steals per game. That is an impressive line. By no means am I going to say those numbers will translate his freshman year. He does have two things going for him. First, size. Wright is 6 foot 2 inches tall vs. Brandon Taylor at 5 foot 10 inches tall. If he gets on the floor and proves himself, Taylor is going to see decreased minutes. The question is: how many minutes?
The Case of Jordan Loveridge
I have heard plenty of people talk about the disappearing act of Jordan Loveridge. JLove actual degressed in his play this season. A glaring problem is his three-point shooting. He went from shooting 38% from behind the arch to shooting 10% worse this season at 28%. All of that while shooting 3 more three-point shots per game. Now, I believe there is another factor to his shooting. (Read it hear: The Disappearing Act of Jordan Loveridge)
Either way, there are plenty of players coming in with the opportunity to play. These include Kyle Kuzma, Chris Reyes, and Brekkott Chapman. Reyes is clearly coming in as a transfer to play. The other two freshman are expecting to not just play but have impact this coming season. Expect to see JLoves minutes decrease into the 20 minute range. In reality, the lower minute count may be the best thing for his game.
In reality, the Runnin’ Utes basketball program is on the upturn. The fact that fans are paying attention during the offseason speaks highly of what is happening. Along with a growing program comes more young talent. Young talent that will replace the older talent on the floor. In the end, the lowering of minutes played for both Taylor and JLove was going to happen. Fans just need to adjust to being a growing program.
Agree or disagree? Feel free to comment or reach out to me on twitter @GrantTBS