Welp, Husky Basketball Is Fucking Screwed Next Season

Word came down simultaneously that Dejounte Murray and Marquese Chriss will be leaving the University of Washington, hiring agents, and going into the NBA Draft.  Both will be picked in the first round, and good luck to the both of them.

50.7 of our 84 points per game, or around 60% of our overall scoring output (when you add in Andrew Andrews, who has no more eligibility left) will need to be replaced for the 2016/2017 season.  Highly prized recruit, Markelle Fultz, will be here to pick up SOME of the slack.  But, unless he is a literal teenage werewolf who can single-handedly take over and dominate a basketball game, I don’t think this Husky team is going to win very many games.

Bottom line, this is a sports team.  Yeah, it’s nice when you can look at the NBA and see all the players who used to play for the University of Washington, but that doesn’t win this Husky team any basketball games!  We need guys who are going to help us WIN, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to be happening anytime soon.

Without our top three players, who do we have returning for next year?

Well, that’s still up in the air, now isn’t it?  I’m sure there could be any number of disgruntled guys who either were demoted or otherwise didn’t play as much as they’d hoped (Dickerson, Green, Dorsey), but if we just go with the assumption that guys will plan on sticking around, what are we looking at?

Right away, you figure Fultz will pair with Crisp to be our starting guards.  Crisp is like a young Andrew Andrews in that he loves shooting the ball from all over the court, but unknown at this time is whether or not he’s able to effectively drive and score in the paint.  Between that and getting more consistent with his outside shot, he’s got a lot to work on.  Then again, if Fultz is the real deal like people are saying he is, maybe Crisp becomes more of a de facto shooting guard (in which case, he needs to be A LOT more consistent with his outside shot).

Matisse Thybulle returns as probably our most promising prospect, at the small forward position.  He’s got significant starting experience, and is still probably a better defender than a scorer, so he’s got that to work on.  Until I see otherwise, he’s more of a nice role player on a good team (in other words, if he’s forced to shoulder more of the scoring burden, we’re in REAL trouble).

Then, in the front court, we’ve got Dickerson and Dime returning.  Dickerson’s development really levelled off about halfway through the year, which was really disappointing when we started losing all those games towards the end of the season.  I would anticipate, if he stays, that a lot of the offense will flow through him in a sort of high/low game, where he can use his good moves in the post to hopefully either get us a lot of points in the paint, or generate open threes for other guys.  Dime is who he is:  he’ll score on the occasional alley-oop or put-back lay-in, and he’ll block a lot of shots, and that’s about it.

That’s your starting five.  Fultz, Crisp, Thybulle, Dickerson, and Dime.  Based on what we’ve seen out of the returning players, that doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence.  Of course, this is college, so it’s fair to expect guys to improve from year 1 to year 2, but how much improvement can we really look forward to?

If we just assume Fultz is a better player than Murray was for us, MAYBE you could argue – if we give him the keys to the offense – he’ll replace what Andrews gave us.  That still leaves the almost 30 points of production we got from Murray and Chriss.  Will Dickerson step his game up?  Will Crisp?  Will Dime?  All of those guys averaged around 7 points per game last season, so how much more improvement can we really expect?

As usual, it’s going to have to come from the bench, which last season brought NOTHING to the table.

On top of Fultz coming in, we have a guy by the name of Sam Timmins coming in, who’s out of New Zealand and is 6’10.  So, there’s some big man depth anyway (whether or not he can play right away remains to be seen).  Behind him, we’ve got returning forward Devenir Duruisseau, who played sparingly as a Freshman last season, but could be a guy who makes a big leap in development if given a chance.

The front court is more or less set as far as warm bodies are concerned.  But, our depth at guard – and especially at shooting guard – is pretty thin.  Dominic Green is a guy who opened some eyes in the middle of last season, but ultimately didn’t have the ability to stick in the rotation.  We NEED guys who can hit the outside shot, or we’re destined for the cellar next year.  If I’m Dominic Green right now, I’m spending every waking moment next to a rack of basketballs, shooting nothing but outside jumpers all day every day.  If he can get his shot up to snuff, he can be a nice rotational player for us.

Which is more than I can say for Donaven Dorsey, who I have negative confidence in right now.  If he doesn’t transfer this offseason, I’ll eat my hat.  While I’m TOLD he has an outside shot, and indeed I’ve seen him make a few, he’s done nothing out on the court that would make anyone consider him a threat.  Ideally, he’d be like another Scott Suggs-type player for us, but I just don’t think he has it in him.

A lotta what-ifs going on with next year’s team.  In one sense, that could be construed as excitement, but mostly I just feel dread.  I mean, shit, if this year’s team couldn’t make the NCAA Tournament – with the Pac-12’s leading scorer, and two first round NBA draft picks on its roster, why would I be excited for next year’s team that’s simply going to be the Markelle Fultz Show?  The Washington Huskies have become nothing more than a showcase for superstars to get paid.  If Lorenzo Romar wasn’t such a delightful and impressive human being, I’d begin to wonder if he isn’t getting a cut of some of these initial professional contracts he’s enabling.

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