The Huskies have been a big fat ball of unpleasantness over the last month. What was once a promising team, where the sky was the limit, is now falling off the cliff into irrelevance.
And what’s worse? Our three best players are all probably going to leave after this season. The saga continues …
We know Andrews is gone, but he’s one of the good ones, so there’s no point in discussing him today. Marquese Chriss, in stepping his game up during most of conference play, has really put himself on the map as one of the better prospects in this year’s NBA Draft. He’s raw, of course, but his talent offensively is undeniable. And he’s already got a so-so outside shot. Give him a year or two to work on his shooting and you’re talking about a real weapon at the next level. If he’s indeed going in the top half of the first round, as some are projecting, then he’s already gone.
Dejounte Murray would be the third. He’s an obvious standout at guard with the kind of stuff that will certainly play at the next level. He’s another who has to work on his outside shot, and he’ll get better with the turnovers as he gets more experience. The rest of his game is pretty much ready to go. He was looking at a late first round grade the last time I checked. With the Huskies looking to bring in a 5-star guard in this year’s class, Murray might want to get out before he’s overshadowed. If he can reasonably guarantee getting drafted in the first round, I don’t see why he’d stay either.
So, that’s great. My worst nightmare, playing out right before our eyes, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.
You’d think, with a Top 3 like these, the Huskies would be looking at something more than a 7- or 8-seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, but you’d be wrong. Because aside from these three guys, no one is really playing at all that high of a level. Indeed, various players are regressing from previous highs earlier this season, which bodes pretty poorly for all involved.
The one thing Romar has always been able to hang his hat on is the fact that he’s able to coach his players up and get them to incrementally improve as the season goes on and as the years go on. The fact that the opposite is happening is taking away one of the major talking points all us Romar defenders have clung to (the other being that he recruits pretty well at times, which doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon).
Noah Dickerson, David Crisp, and Malik Dime have all gotten worse as the season has gone on. And while Dominic Green had a mid-season blip of effectiveness, that’s gone by the wayside as well.
Dickerson is probably the most disconcerting of the bunch, as he lost his starting job to Dime. It makes sense in a way; as Chriss has improved, he’s commanded more opportunities. But, in another sense, the whole flow of the offense has changed, and obviously not for the better. In the first half of the season, the Huskies weren’t afraid to dump it into the post and let Dickerson work his magic. Now, he’s getting the ball, like, NEVER. Part of that is defenses packing it in, playing zones, daring us to take the outside shot (which we’re more than happy to settle for). But, part of it is Romar just letting the guards take over, which isn’t smart when even someone like Murray is still making less than 30% of his threes. I don’t mind a fast pace; it obviously makes for some entertaining basketball. But, to completely ignore your big man with the best low-post moves on the team just seems crazy to me.
David Crisp is another player I liked a lot in the first half. But, God damn has he been in a SLUMP! He was an important part of this offense, and a player I pegged as fearless with his outside shot, something I really loved about his game. Whereas in the first half he regularly took anywhere from 8-13 shots per game; he’s now taking 1-7 shots per game, and making a distressingly low percentage of THOSE! He started to come around a little bit in the Oregon series last week, but even then he only took 4 shots per.
This team needs more from its ancillary players, especially on offense (let’s face it, the defense is a lost cause at this point; we just need to hope other teams miss open looks). Matisse Thybulle runs hot and cold, Crisp, Green, and Dickerson have brought nothing to the table. And Dime is good for some put-backs and alley-oop dunks, but that’s about it.
Speaking of Dime, Jesus Christ, he is the fucking KING of killing a good defensive possession with a foul late in the shot clock. If the Huskies aren’t giving up easy buckets in transition (their full-court press is the worst thing I’ve ever seen; and I watched a solid 10 seconds of 2 Girls, 1 Cup), if they SOMEHOW manage to force their opponent to waste 25 seconds of a possession, never fear, just give the ball to the guy closest to Dime and let him dribble towards the basket, because Dime WILL get called for some dumbshit foul, because for some reason he hasn’t figured out he SHOULDN’T FUCKING DO THAT! I get the whole idea of inserting him into the starting lineup in place of Dickerson; it makes sense to have his defensive presence (and a player who is a non-factor on offense) when you’ve got so many offensive-minded players among the other four guys. But, for every dominating block, Dime fucks up just as often if not more. How he hasn’t figured out the officiating in this conference is beyond me (to be fair, the Pac-12 refs are the worst in the history of athletics, but that’s neither here nor there).
Finally, let’s throw more shade at guys like Green and Dorsey, who have brought zilch to the table this year. They can’t be counted on defensively whatsoever (on an already-terrible defensive team), and they rarely hit the outside shots they’re supposedly known for. Can Dan Kingma REALLY be that awful? I think it’s time to dust him off for another futile Pac-12 Tournament run.
Don’t be shocked if this team loses in the first round. When they do, just know to blame all the players below the Big 3. And just know that none of those Big 3 will be back next year, while all the rest will.