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vs. Minnesota (off/def 1-poss parentheses):
Valentine 15 (+2) (4 straight games...getting to be impossible to ignore.)
Payne 11 (Seems to respond to both time on the bench and facial injuries. I'm going to start calling him Rocky.)
Appling 10 (Very smooth game considering how he was being held and hip-checked.)
Harris 10 (Rumor has it his left little finger is still 100%.)
Nix 9 (I think i hate Mbakwe.)
Byrd 3 (Back to early season form: still can't shoot, but better D.)
Gauna 3 (I'm officially never going to rag on a freshman big again. They always get better, including Alex.)
Costello 2 (Would have liked to have seen Izzo go offense/defense with Nix/Costello a little in the 2nd half.)
Dawson -8 (-2) (Also impossible to ignore.)
Season Significant Totals:
What's the explanation on Dawson? It's gotta be mainly defense (particularly tonight) and probably turnovers as well?
When he plays the 3 the offense stalls out. No threat to shoot, no dribble action and a poor post passer.
I would bet his numbers at the 3 are a negative and he is strong when a 4.
Valentine makes the offense go when he is being smart. I love his power dribble. He doesn't get past his man but he pushes him low in the paint and gets the defense out of position. Leads to a lot of good looks.
He's playing out of position. He can't play the 3. The offense stalls and he and Payne trip all over themselves on defense. During the one stretch that Dawson played the 4 today he got two nice steals. I posted a cool chart in a thread I started earlier today which has the +\- by lineup type. It essentially shows how ineffective we are when Dawson plays the 3. It's been the one consistent thing with this roster all year. I'll update the chart tomorrow and post to this thread because it is relevant to this topic.
If the explanation was that Dawson was great at the 4 and bad at the 3, then his numbers would be as good as Payne's numbers. It's not like when Dawson is at the 3 and Payne at the 4 that they don't get the same negative. The difference is that with Payne at the 4 with Valentine (or other) at the 3, we win. With Dawson at the 4 someone at the 3, we lose. That's why in the last 5 minutes of every B10 game that Dawson hasn't been on fire, Dawson is on the bench.*
Dawson really had it going for a few games, but in the last 3 he's right back to sleeping on D, wandering out for steals that don't exist, stalling the offense when he has the ball, and insisting on attempting contested 12-foot jumpers that he has never made, assumably to show the NBA scouts he can make them, which he can't.
Sorry to be harsh. As someone who loves competing even though i have no athletic talent, it's hard for me to appreciate talented players who don't look like they're going in top gear very often. I'm sure there's good and sympathetic reasons for it (injury, position, etc.). We've seen him turn it around short-term. Here's to hoping he turns it around long-term, and that in the meantime Izzo keeps on not being shy about sitting him at key moments.
*Clarification: I'm not saying Dawson isn't better at the 4 than he is at the 3. I'm saying the results clearly show that he's worse at the 4 than Payne is at the 4.
This post was edited by mark_v 17 months ago
Here's my chart updated through tonight's game. Tonight with 3 bigs in MSU was -5; with 3 guards in MSU was +16. A lot of it has to do with Valentine vs. Dawson at the 3 IMO. He provides us another level of versatility. Defenses can really take away our post game with the 3 bigs in because there isn't the same threat of shooting and dribble drive. On defense, Payne and Dawson stumble all over each other. Also, as crazy as it seems I would venture that we are a worse rebounding team with the three bigs in. I just get the sense that they don't understand spacing defensively and end up out of position and thus we don't rebound as well. Also, Valentine probably rebounds his position better than anybody else on the team.
IMO, this shows more that it comes down to match-ups with other teams, and Dawson's ability/desire to go all out. Against bigger teams, we are able to handle that with a bigger line-up, and against smaller teams, we can go small equally successful. This will bode well come tourney time since we will be able to go against anyone in the country, and always be able to match-up both offensively and defensively.
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