Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday Early Games

Florida - Pittsburgh
  • The strengths and weaknesses of the No. 1 team in the bracket were on display in this one. Florida is a disciplined team with athletes and experience at every position, but they are vulnerable if you can keep them in the half-court. Scottie Wilbekin is really their only consistent shot-creator - Casey Prather can't shoot, Michael Frazier can't drive and their big men can't post up. If you take care of the ball and have the athletes to keep them in front of you and score over the top, you have a chance. They blew open the Pittsburgh game by turning up the defensive intensity and getting out in transition. Florida is at its best on broken plays - offensive boards, run-outs.
  • The one Pittsburgh player who came to play was Lamar Patterson, their do-it-all senior SF. While he doesn't have ideal size or athleticism for the position at 6'5 225, Patterson has a chance to play at the next level because he's a smart and powerfully built player with a complete game. He can score, shoot, distribute, rebound and defend - he's in the second-round mix and may have to earn his way into a training camp in Las Vegas. Patterson is a better player than Jae "The Beast" Crowder, for whatever that's worth (not much).
  • Scottie Wilbekin isn't on a lot of draft boards, but the Florida senior PG (and SEC POY) has a chance to make himself some money over the next few weeks. He's been an integral part of some good Florida teams in his career, but he's never had the chance to dominate the ball like Russ Smith or Shabazz Napier. At 6'2 175, he has the size and athleticism of an NBA PG, although he isn't exceptional in either category. He checks all the boxes - he's a smart player who can shoot, get to the rim and run the offense. The problem is the competition for the job - he'll need to beat out guys like Smith, Napier and Keith Appling just to have a chance to be a 3rd PG on a roster at the next level. The one thing Wilbekin has going for him is age - he's only 20 years so he's been playing up for most of his life. He may need to prove himself in the D-League before he gets a chance.

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